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It has taken some time, but the buying public seems to be changing the way it looks at any product that provides green technology. It was generally an afterthought in the home market because shoppers were more interested in getting the lowest prices than worrying if homes were energy efficient.
Maybe because there are plenty of homes on the market or just because the American people want to contribute to planet saving technologies, home buyers are beginning to take notice of indoor air quality, energy ratings, and the durability of construction. More people are aware of green building features, and they want them in their homes.
In Portland, Oregon, an analysis of buying habits indicated that green-certified homes sold for as much as 30% more than other comparably sized ones. This data was accumulated from spring of 2010 until April 2011. Certification of the homes came from LEED for Homes, Earth Advantage, Energy Star, and a combination of Energy Star and Earth Advantage.
New green-certified homes ranged from 8% to 23% higher in price when compared to non-certified homes in six Oregon counties. The same assessment has taken place for four years, with the numbers consistently increasing.
While every state does not conduct an assessment of buying trends as they relate to green building, other areas of the country see similar results. While it is not a feature that has become synonymous with every sales campaign, it is definitely beginning to influence the way new homes are built and older homes are remodeled.
One homebuilder who has a presence in four western states has obtained a price advantage over his competition by constructing geothermal-powered and solar efficient homes. At the same time, these are being offered at prices affordable to first-time home buyers. Townhomes and single-family dwellings cost approximately $14,000 more than competitors' non energy efficient models.
What this shows is that a home audit and upgrade of systems to meet green criteria can provide a three-fold advantage for homeowners. The energy savings that can be expected from the upgrade is the most obvious, but tax incentives also have some importance in the decision. Should the home be sold, it is more marketable than others, which are not energy efficient, and it should sell for more.
More than just a current fad, energy efficiency will only become increasingly important as the years go by. An energy audit may become a standard by which homes are built and sold.