Did you know that homes with green features sold for about $33,894 more than the median sale price of homes in certain markets in 2015? A study put together by real estate brokerage REDFIN (https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/09/the-top-10-neighborhoods-for-green-homes-in-2016.html) says just that. By analyzing real estate listings, Redfin found that those homes with green features were not only leading the way in sustainable living, but contributing to entire “green” neighborhoods.
Buyers are comparing similar properties and are looking at the greater long-term value and savings of a more energy efficient home. But that does not just mean new construction. Older homes are excellent candidates to be retrofitted with energy efficiency in mind because older building practices provide a solid foundation for adding these green features during the remodeling process.
But which markets are leading the way? Here are the top ten markets for green homes in 2016:
Villanova (Philadelphia, PA) Green homes: 57%
Villages of Irvine (Irvine, CA) Green homes: 56%
Downtown (Santa Monica, CA) Green homes: 51%
Newton Centre (Newton, MA) Green homes: 49%
Tremont (Cleveland, OH) Green homes: 49%
Terramor Village/Ladera Ranch (Orange County, CA) Green homes: 48%
Belltown (Seattle, WA) Green homes: 45%
Kerrigan Ranch (Yorba Linda, CA) Green homes: 45%
Downtown (Dedham, MA) Green homes: 41%
Del Sur (San Diego) Green homes: 39%
So what exactly are “green features”? Traditionally most consumers think of green features as energy-efficient appliances, faucets and lights. While these are vital features available to homeowners, there are a multitude of other features available as well, all designed to raise awareness in their neighborhoods and with builders. In some cities homes need to be retrofitted with green features, but with newer planned communities, all homes often have these features from the start.
In brief, here are some of those features that make these homes and neighborhoods green:
LEED for New Homes certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – a certification for buildings that are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an added bonus, they save money.
ENERGY STAR New Homes – represents homes that perform substantially better than the building codes.
ENERGY STAR Indoor Air Plus – This is an ENERGY STAR New Home that includes additional features to optimize indoor air quality and safety from mold, allergens, pests, and other contaminents.
ENERGY STAR products- a service mark given to products that generally use 20–30% less energy than required by federal standards.
Construction/Remodeling with Sustainable materials- materials that can be produced in required volumes without depleting non-renewable resources and without disrupting the environment and key natural resource systems.
Insulation and Air Sealing – A Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractor can professionally seal and insulate your older home to bring it close to today’s new home standards. This saves money and makes your home more comfortable.
Foam insulation- A sprayable expanding insulation that produces a high thermal insulating value with virtually no air infiltration.
Solar Panel array- panels designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating that are usually attached to the roof of a home.
Tankless hot water heaters– instantly heats water as it flows through the device, and does not retain any excess water on hand.
Low-flow showerheads- showerheads that use 2 GPM or less and usually use water more efficiently by aerating the water stream.
Energy Star lighting- Energy Star qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Grey water systems- recycles home water usage to use toward irrigation below the surface.
Operable energy efficient windows- double or triple glass window panes separated by a vacuum or gas filled space to reduce heat transfer, that can also be opened to allow natural breezes throughout the home.
Water-saving toilets– toilets that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less while still providing equal or superior performance.
Rainwater collection systems – Systems designed to collect rainwater around the home that can be used for potable water (drinking, cooking, bathing) or non-potable uses.
Low VOC paints- Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions (Volatile organic compounds-VOC) into the air for years after application. Most manufacturers now offer low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes.
Reclaimed hardwood flooring- usually reclaimed and carefully remilled old weathered barn wood.
Smart home technology – a combination of products and software that monitor the light and heat use of a home