The key to mainstreaming green homes is to make sure that consumers understand the value of green upgrades — how cost-effective energy efficiency can be in the long run. Consumers want homes that are environmentally friendly and home values should reflect the increased savings.
Better Homes and Gardens
Recent poll results of 2,342 people who plan to purchase or do a major home improvement in 2010 show (numbers have been rounded):
- 2% of consumers are planning to have high-efficiency heating and cooling in their next home
- 3% are planning to have high-efficiency appliances
- 3% will have geo-thermal heat
- 5% said energy-efficient heating and cooling will be more important to them
- 6% said Energy Star appliances will be more important
Appraisals need to better reflect the value added to energy efficient green upgrades. Legislation is pending which will require the consideration of any renewable energy sources, or energy-efficiency or energy-conserving improvements. Appraisers will tell you they have been considering green improvements for 15 years, typically, double paned windows, insulation and solar hot water heaters. The value normally attributed is the installation cost. But that is just the beginning of the direct savings to the new owner. The ongoing savings of operating a greener home is not being reflected in the appraisal and yet it can be significant when compared to a home that isn’t energy efficient.
To reflect true value buyers need to recognize the increase savings when comparing homes. Appraisers will tell you that when the energy cost savings can be documented, home buyers are more willing to pay a premium. They understand the lower monthly cost of ownership and better resale value.
Green Marketing Incentives
Most state energy and public utilities offer incentives, rebates and tax breaks for energy efficient upgrades. Realtors should suggest that sellers take advantage of these incentives. Consumers clearly want greener homes and agencies offering rebates can document the projected savings. This can be a powerful sales incentive in a market where value is king.