Sustainable Real Estate Development

The idea of “going green” has infiltrated many aspects of our society today, from simple recycling efforts to buying products manufactured in an environmentally conscious way. Now, the trend is moving into our homes — literally.

Eco-homes and products, solar panels and green home certifications are becoming commonplace in new home development. High-efficiency heating and cooling, green label flooring, water-saving systems and landscapes are quickly rising on the list of home improvements that can add value to a home.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, roughly 400,000 homes had rooftop solar panels in 2013 and that number is expected to more than double by 2020, topping 900,000 by that time.

Many organizations offer green home certifications that can also add value to a home. Some certifications focus on energy efficiency while others examine where building materials came from and the amount of waste generated during construction.

The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, along with the Institute for Market Transformation, conducted a study that analyzed whether environmentally conscious features and improvements raised the market value of the homes. Appraisers compared homes with energy-conserving features with similar types of homes without the “green improvements.” They found that buyers were willing to pay between 3 percent and 7 percent premiums on the sustainable homes.

On the west coast, the University of California Berkeley and UCLA conducted a study of 1.6 million home sales between 2007 to 2012. These organizations found that green certifications such as ‚ÄČEnergy Star increased home sale prices by an average of 9 percent.

About 66,000 San Antonio home sales were analyzed for energy efficiency, which included ‚ÄČimprovements such as high-efficiency HVAC systems and dual-pane windows. This study found that these energy efficient homes sold for nearly 6 percent more compared to other homes in the area without such features.

In fact, Real Estate Professionals like Than Merrill, who buy and sell fixer upper homes for a living has seen this trend firsthand, especially with younger home buyers. “Sustainable upgrades can maximize earnings potential.” says Merrill. “The interest Millennials have shown in sustainable homes should be all the evidence a person needs to adopt these practices. Seeing as how Millennials represent the largest share of recent buyers, it only makes sense to adapt your investing strategy to meet their needs.”

Although “green improvements” like high-efficiency appliances and heating and cooling systems have been around for some time, new environmentally sustainable options such as “green building materials” and certifications will become more popular. It is likely that these and additional environmentally sustainable options will increase the value of homes across the country.

Oct
14

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