Ask Eartha: Increasing a home’s green appeal in more ways than one |

Ask Eartha: Increasing a home’s green appeal in more ways than one

Dear Eartha,

I’d like to make my home green and efficient, but what is the evidence that anybody else will care? My Realtor or the next person that owns it, for example.

Sam, Silverthorne

There have been some recent studies that show that third-party energy certifications and renewable energy systems do, in fact, substantially raise the selling price of homes. Even better news is that our local Realtor association is doing a better job of reflecting this information in the home buying and selling process.

Adding green features will add value to your home. A recent study of 1.6 million homes in California found that green certification raised the price of a home by 9 percent, or more than $34,800 over non-certified homes. Common features of a third-party certified Energy Star home are insulation, air sealing and efficient HVAC systems, which may be accomplished for less than the increase in the home’s value. Three other studies in Washington and Oregon show similar results and that green homes may actually sell faster, not just for more.

This is also true when adding renewable energy features like solar to your home. Until recently few studies were able to show that homes with PV systems sold for more. However, a recent Berkeley Lab study found that homes with PV systems sold for $17,000 more, or an average of $5.5 a Watt. This is relatively similar to the cost of installation locally.

Other good news. Our Summit Association of Realtors has recently added green features to their searchable database for Summit County homes, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is part of a statewide effort to accurately reflect the value of green features in the home buying market. We know that green features are important to people and that they are willing to pay more to have a tight, energy efficient, low-utility-bill home. So now when you want to sell your Energy Star home or search for one on the market, it is easy for your Realtor to help. An additional green addendum allows you to highlight a number of diverse green features in your home. Does your home have great passive solar or energy efficient lighting fixtures? Does it have all no-VOC paint or insulated concrete forms. A Colorado Energy Office study shows that 90 percent of home owners will be able to identify some feature in their home that they can highlight in this green addendum.

Summit County realtors are now being offered additional training and education on green building, third-party certifications and green features. Realtors should leave this class with a better knowledge of green and energy efficient features and ability to reflect these features in home sales. This training is being offered during two four-hour time slots, April 17 at the Summit Association of Realtors classroom. Realtors should call HC3 to register (970) 668-5703.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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