Going Green in Austin>Question Details

Sharon Selig…, Real Estate Pro in 78669

Are the benefits of a green built home clear to you, as a buyer or selling agent?

Asked by Sharon Seligman, 78669 Wed Oct 22, 2008

An energy rated home can offer significant savings in operating expenses and can offer a far healthier air quality. Both of these features add up to $$ savings. If the specifics are unclear, this can just seem like a claim or a sales pitch. Your agent should be able to quanitify the specific benefits of a green built home. If you are representing your buyer, ask the seller's agent for details. There is real value in these properties and it is our responsibility to help our buyers recognize a fact from a claim.

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Sharon Seligman’s answer
I must disagree with Bruce. In fact, the methods of identifying and rating the "green" status of a home are quite sophisitcated and continually improving. A LEEDS rating, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. There are levels of LEEDS ratings, depending upon the amount of features that are intergrated, from 3 STAR - 5 STAR, Silver, Bronze and Gold (O Energy rating).

There are professionals who perform energy ratings and can identify how your home could be improved. You are provided a HERS rating.

The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home.

Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient.

Eco Broker is a new designation whereby a real estate agent is provided 3 in-depth journals which touch on all areas of energy efficient and environmentally efficient homes. After passing a test, the agent is better qualified to assist clients in identifying the true features from claims. There are some builders who do the minimum, such as a radiant barrier, and call the house green. While a radiant barrier is certainly a very important green feature, the house would not qualify with that single feature.

I attended a conference in Denver and participated in 3 days of panels and presentations. There, we had the opportunity to learn a great deal about lending practices, product features, and many other factors that affect the energy efficiency of a home.

While there probably are builders who do nothing to improve the efficiency of the homes they build, their buyers will have homes that will be much harder to resell. This is not a trend. This is a shift in the way home building is viewed. Always, there are those on the leading edge all the way to those who join when they have to face the change.

Those of us who have embraced this change are in a great position to assist our clients. Just as your profit is made when you buy, not when you sell, the same thing can be said for energy efficient. Seven years from now, it will be an expectation. Those who recognize that now are in a much better position to experience value increases in the future.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 23, 2008
Our team's theme is Go Green and Live Rich. Most things "green" are really income producers. A home wth a better envelope, mean less energy bills, less allergens and thus less medical bills. If you want to look for "hard money" examples, try looking at the new "Green Income Stream". http://www.perryhenderson.com/green-income-stream.php. Basically, when you buy a home with us, you can get up to $200 a month as a homeowner by using just 1 simple green feature (zero energy)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 22, 2008
I feel the Green trend is far more substantial than a passing fad. More and more Buyers are demanding green features in their new homes. There are countless new home builders embracing this change in what buyers want in a new home. There are green homes in every price range for $150K-up to million dollar homes. I am also seeing more sellers of resale homes taking steps to make their existing homes more green. I feel this is all a giant step in the right direction and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Green features definately add value to a home, both in actual dollar savings in energy consumption and in the long term health of the planet. Thanks for listening to my .02!
Betina Foreman, Realtor Austin Texas
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 22, 2008
Unfortunately there is no clear definition of a "green built home" yet. Energy Star for example is a marketing idea, not necessarily a green idea.
Standards for green homes might include direction, instant hot water, lighting, solar panels, min AC SEER rating, min insulation rating, construction materials such as bamboo, insulation types such as foam vs blow, radiant barriers, etc. How about yards....should they be xeriscape?
I see very few homes built in what I consider really green fashion and in many ways they are not green at all.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 22, 2008
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
MVP'08
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