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Going Green in Austin : Real Estate Advice

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  • Local Info182
  • Home Buying768
  • Home Selling118
  • Market Conditions60

Activity 5
Wed Sep 3, 2014
Nathan Doxsey answered:
There is a good list of products and suppliers in the Austin area located at and you can find out about rainwater harvesting rebates available through the City of Austin's water conservation site:

Dick Peterson is a great resource. I worked with him at Austin Energy's Green Building Program and he has always been our go-to person for rainwater harvesting.

Best luck,

Nathan Doxsey
Owner / Broker, LEED AP, EcoBroker, GREEN
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Fri May 24, 2013
Betina Foreman answered:
The cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Leander and Spicewood all have watering restrictions. How severe they are depends on the level of drought. We have been in extreme drought conditions for five years and the Farmers Almenac shows that we probably have another 5-10 years coming. I would suggest creating a landscape thats drought tollerant and does not need a lot of water.Installing a rainwater collection system is another way to beat it. Consider the fact that Lake Teavis has been at 40 percent full the last several years. This is due to the drought and seriously increased usage. The communities by the lake are pulling water and the Highland Lakes have a finite amount of water. A well is no guaranty of water because you may have to dig deeper as the water level goes down. ... more
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Sun May 6, 2012
Betina Foreman answered:
There is a home in 78746 with solar panels that's for sale right now. This home is on Westwood, and it was built this year and has 4 beds, 4 baths, 2 car garage and is listed for $995k. Give me a call if your interested in seeing this home or any others.
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Fri May 20, 2011
If you want a metal roof, put on a metal roof. You can then enjoy it. Unfortunately, you will be unlikely to recover the cost when you go to sell.
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Thu Oct 23, 2008
Sharon Seligman answered:
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.
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