Not so long ago helping the environment meant recycling plastic and newspapers, but today it has evolved into “green” thinking and extends to our Okemo Mountain real estate, homes and living environments.
According to a recent NAR survey, nine out of 10 Realtors® said their clients are interested in energy efficient features of green homes and the potential cost savings of such features. An overwhelming 90 percent agreed there will be even more interest in green building practices a year from now.
Results of a Harris Interactive poll by Move, Inc. show potential home buyers consider “green” building features more important than luxury amenities. Almost half of the adults surveyed (49 percent) said features such as solar panels or energy-saving appliances were “important,” compared to just 31 percent who rated luxury amenities important.
Ninety-three percent of all home buyers are not willing to pay more for green or energy efficient features when building a home, according to a recent independent study commissioned by The New York Times Customer Insight Group.
However, a recent survey from Green Builder Media reports U.S. home buyers are willing to pay a premium for more environmentally friendly, green-built homes.
More than half of home builders surveyed (250 residential builders across the U.S.) said that buyers are willing to pay a premium of between 11-25 percent for green-built homes. The same builders report that the average green home buyer is between the ages of 35-50 with a college degree and fair understanding of green products.
Despite the conflicting statistics, the U.S. Green Building Council believes thinking “green” is an industry and Okemo Mountain real estate trend, rather than a passing fad; not only does it save on energy costs, it is better for our overall health and the environment as a whole.
Learn more about Okemo Mountain real estate by visiting my website, ISellVermontRealEstate.com or giving me a call at 800-659-1819 #103.
This growing trend gives you the opportunity to make your listing stand out from the rest by calling attention to all of its energy-efficient amenities, from properly-sealed windows to Energy Star appliances.
- Appliances and lighting. From the laundry machine to the dining room chandelier, energy-efficient products are proven to save money and consume less energy. To confirm that various products outperform average standards, look for the blue-and-white Energy Star label. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues this designation only to products that are among the most efficient on the market. The Energy Star Web site provides a comprehensive list of all Energy Star Qualified Products.
- Insulation. Air leaking through exterior surfaces—such as walls, windows, the roof, and the floor—can waste 25 percent to 40 percent of the energy used to heat or cool a home, according to Energy Star. Local building codes and the U.S. Department of Energy specify acceptable insulation, measured in R-values. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. If your listing has insulation that surpasses local standards, that’s an advantage you can tout to potential buyers. Be sure to mention insulation installed in attics and crawlspaces. Also, don’t forget to point out wraps, sealants, foams, and tape installed to reduce air moving through the gaps around framing, piping, electrical wiring, and outlets.
- Windows. Depending on the climate and total glass area, windows account for 25 percent to 50 percent of a home’s heating and cooling needs. But technological advances in window materials mean much better energy efficiency. U-Factors rate insulating ability for windows; the lower the U-Factor, the better the insulation of the window. Typical U-Factor values range from 0.25 to 1.25. If your listing has insulated window frames or frames made of low-conductance materials (wood, vinyl, or fiberglass), you should call out these features to potential buyers.
- Heating and cooling systems. Efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment consumes less fuel, emits less pollution, and generally requires less maintenance. A furnace’s heating efficiency is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, or AFUE. The U.S. Department of Energy requires all furnaces sold in the United States to have a minimum AFUE rating of 78 percent, which means that the furnace converts 78 percent of the fuel to heat. Only ratings of higher than 90 percent earn the Energy Star label. Similarly, air conditioners should have at least a 10 seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. Energy Star requires a SEER rating of 12 or higher.
If the home has zoned systems that allow different areas to be heated and cooled separately, let potential buyers know that these features deliver additional operating savings. Point out programmable thermostats with timers and variable-air controls, as well as ceiling fans. Let buyers know if a fireplace has glass doors and a heat-air exchange mechanism, which returns warmed air to the room instead of letting it escape. And don’t forget to promote radiant flooring, which heats from the ground up and eliminates the draft and dust problems associated with forced air heating systems.
- Landscaping. Well-done landscaping can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs, protect the home from winter wind and summer sun, and help control noise and air pollution. Also, some species of trees, bushes, and grasses require less water than others, or are naturally more resistant to pests so they require fewer pesticides. Learn what kind of plants and trees are growing around the house and promote all of their benefits to buyers. For more details on what to look for, visit Landscaping for Energy Efficiency, an online guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- The entire house. Some new homes are rated for overall efficiency by the Energy Star program. A new home certified through the Energy Star program performs at least 30 percent more efficiently than houses built to the 1993 Model Energy Code (or 15 percent more efficient than your state energy code if that is more stringent). The Energy Star designation is verified by an accredited home energy rater and displayed on the inside of the circuit breaker.
Even if your listing isn’t a home that buyers would traditionally think of as being green, it is sure to have at least some eco-friendly features that will give it a marketing edge. Let potential buyers know how the home will help their energy bills and the environment, and you may be surprised at how fast you can clinch the sale.
Energy Star Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced Energy Star in 1992 to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The label is now on appliances, lighting, home electronics, and other products. It also covers new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.Glossary of Energy-Related Terms
The acronyms alone can be confusing! If you can’t recall what AFUE measures or what SEER stands for, come to this glossary for clarification. You’ll also find definitions for hundreds of energy-related words.
Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home
This site, from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, offers energy-saving tips for all areas of the home, plus a variety of booklets you can download and print in English or Spanish.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
This portal site by the U.S. Department of Energy provides links to other Web sites and online information on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
It seems like everywhere we turn these days, products and services we use every day are “going green.” With so many ways available now to help the environment, it may be overwhelming to figure out how exactly you as a homeowner can make changes. This article from RealEstateJournal.com details five ways homeowners can add “green” upgrades to their home, saving money and increasing their homes’ values at the same time. Below is the list of suggestions, check out the article for full descriptions of each item:ISellVermontRealEstate.com, or call me at 802-353-1983. You may also begin searching the MLS here!
– Washers that save energy and water
– Toilets that conserve water
– No-VOC paints
– Smart thermostat applications
– Low-flow faucets and showerheads
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“Going green” has been one of the biggest trends of 2007, with more and more homeowners seeking to make environmentally-friendly choices on everything from cleaning products to flooring. So shy shouldn’t our concern for the environment carry over to our holiday decorations this year? If your home is in need of some holiday cheer, here are some “green” ideas to brighten things up:ISellVermontRealEstate.com or call me at 802-353-1983. To receive a complimentary home value analysis, please click here.
· Use LED lights – using LED lights to decorate the inside and outside of your home will bring you many benefits. The lights last a whopping 50,000 hours – that means you could actually pass these lights down to your grandchildren some day! Adding to their cost effectiveness is the fact that you will be using 90% less energy with LED bulbs – resulting in an electricity bill that the Griswald family would envy! LED lights are also safer – they don’t produce as much heat and considerably reduce the risk of fire, always a concern during the holiday season.
· Use solar-powered decorations – the “new kid on the block” when it comes to holiday décor, these lights not only save you money on energy – they don’t use any energy at all! Place the solar panels where they can collect light during the day, and the lights will automatically light up when it gets dark and shine for about 8 hours.
· Use mother nature’s decorations – forget going out to shop for decorations. Some of the best décor can be found right in your own backyard! Use a real Christmas tree rather than a manufactured, non-biodegradable one. Even better, buy a young tree with roots and re-plant it after the holiday season! A basket of pinecones make a beautiful and rustic centerpiece, and fresh pine straw can be made into a lovely and fragrant wreath to display.
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As we become more aware of how fragile our environment is, we are becoming more concerned with improving the efficiency of our homes. One way to do this is to conduct a Home Energy Audit to determine how and where we can save.
If you are considering building a new Vermont home, you might want to consider working with a builder who uses Energy Star products. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment.
Give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103, if you want more information concerning building a Vermont home. I am glad to put my experience and expertise to work for you.