Recently, CAAR offered local realtors the chance to become certified as Earth Advantage Brokers (Sustainability Training for Accredited Real Estate Professionals) from the Earth Advantage Institute. The 2-day class covered a wealth of information, including home features and building products that provide greater energy, water and resource efficiency and healthier living environments. We reviewed the national and regional green home certifications and were able to visit local homes using green building techniques, which are at the forefront of the the growing demand in Central Virginia for green homes.
One of the more informative topics we discussed is the idea of the “Life cost of a home.” Historically, buyers have focused on the purchase price, paying very little attention to the ongoing or “life cost” of owning a particular property. Recently however, savvy buyers nationwide have begun to ask very important questions regarding the monthly costs of owning a given home. It should be no surprise that a home with highly efficient mechanics and a design to minimize energy consumption will save the owner a substantial amount of money every single month it is occupied.
This is particularly true in the new construction arena. Making a few sensible modifications in the planning stages can pay hefty dividends in the months and years ahead. Examples include triple pane windows, dense pack insulation in the walls and attic, tankless water heater and properly placed over-hangs to name just a few. Of course, an older home can be remodeled with efficiency in mind. One of the easiest actions would be replacing older appliances as they begin to fail, with Energy Star rated appliances, as well as replacing conventional bulbs with LEDs. Another easy step would be sealing up any obvious, and not so obvious, gaps in windows, doors or attic hatches.
Besides the ongoing cost savings of living in a highly efficient well designed home, there are other benefits as well. Many families tell me the single biggest factor is the comfort level that is achieved. Air quality and consistent temperature throughout the house, no-matter the season.
Today, it’s possible to build a new home that can be virtually energy and cost neutral on an operational basis. These “passive homes” are designed with efficiency at the forefront of every architectural feature. These homes usually include solar panels to offset energy from the grid, double studded exterior walls, triple pane windows and water management systems. For more information on building efficiency into new and existing homes, visit any of these informative web sites or contact your local Realtor today: