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NEWS RELEASE – Green Homes Re-Sell for $9 per Square Foot More

April 29th, 2013

In honor of Earth Day last week, we release a little-known but important study on the resale of energy-efficient homes and resale values.  We publish this to bring it to broader awareness.

 

ENERGY STAR homes capture 25 percent of new-home sales nationally, and 43 percent in Colorado (2011).

DENVER – A recent study[1] of existing home sales shows that energy-efficient homes commanded a significant price increase of almost $9 per square foot over comparable, code-built homes.  In a home of 2,500 square feet, that could translate into a price bump of $21,500.

The study authors reviewed home sales of ENERGY STAR homes in Fort Collins, Colo., and comparable conventional homes, holding the following variables constant …

 

  • Sample set – 150 ENERGY STAR homes and 150 conventional, code-built comparables
  • Location – Located within a 2 – 3-mile radius of each other
  • Construction type and quality – Single-family detached of good or better construction
  • Age of home and sale dates – Sales recorded between 1999 – 2005

 

The study showed that the resale of energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR-certified homes realized a price premium of $8.66 per square foot.

Energy and utility charges have a direct bearing on home ownership costs, and until recently, there has been little data correlating buyer recognition of reduced energy costs with higher resale prices.   This paper is one of a handful to demonstrate a significant marketplace premium on the RESALE of “green,” energy-efficient home sales.

It also suggests that buyers value invisible features affecting energy use –  insulation levels, air leakage, appliance and mechanical efficiencies.  “Valuing Green Home Designs” also shows that buyers recognize the ENERGY STAR brand, third-party verification of those homes, and above-code checklists that can reduce energy use as much as 50 percent.

To download a copy of the paper, click here.

 

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We’re green-home experts, and we know what goes into ENERGY STAR and other certified homes.  When it’s time to buy or sell, we can help you find better homes and capitalize on higher prices for green homes you sell.  Contact us today.

 

 


[1] Bryan Bloom, MaryEllen C. Nobe, and Michael D. Nobe.  “Valuing Green Home Designs:  A Study of ENERGY STAR Homes,” Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2011, pp. 109 – 26.

NEWS RELEASE – GreenSpot Partners with Arizona Re-Developer in Metro Denver/Boulder

January 8th, 2013

GreenSpot Named Preferred Realtor by G Street

Denver-Area Brokerage Partners with Arizona-Based Green Re-Developer

DENVER, Jan. 8, 2013:  GreenSpot Real Estate entered into agreement with Phoenix-based G Street on Jan. 1st, becoming the “green-rehab” company’s go-to brokerage in metro Denver/Boulder.  The interstate partnership brings together GreenSpot’s market expertise selling green, energy-efficient properties and G Street’s proven formula for investor-owned and REO properties.

The G Street program for property renovation piggybacks on the National Association of Home Builders’ “National Green Building Standard,” which is now searchable in 93 percent of Colorado’s multiple listing services (MLSs).  The NAHB certification – also known as the ICC 700 – requires demonstrated energy and water savings between pre- and post-construction.  The G Street brand also provides interior design and landscape plans – a green plug-and-play solution for property rehabbers.

Philip Beere, founder of G Street, has sold approximately 30 of his homes largely in the Arizona market, with 18 more slated to close in first quarter 2013.  And Beere says he’s captured between a 10 and 40 percent price premium over comparable, conventional homes with his model.

The timing is right for Beere’s Colorado expansion because the real estate community snapped a green lens on homes here in 2012.  Metrolist, Denver’s MLS, put in place a “green-field addendum” so buyers can find information about properties’ green and energy-efficient features.  And the Colorado Energy Office has several studies in the works to peg green features and homes with higher sales prices in Colorado.

“Working with G Street is a great fit for us,” says GreenSpot co-founder Tracye Herrington.  “Mr. Beere has a super product, and we know how to sell the value of what goes into these homes.”

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Code Green – Building Code Upgrades in 2012 Sideline Old Homes

November 17th, 2012

Marla and John Ray relocated to Denver from Washington, D.C. in 2008, partly because of the weather.  But there are days they’d never know they left the stifling Potomac lowlands because their townhouse in central Denver is so hot.

Marla, who owns Denver’s Moving Boxes, works from a third-floor bonus room in her house, a space which fries several months a year. “We’ll have the heat on in one room, and the air-conditioner on in another,” she says of the four-story townhome in the Whittier neighborhood. Unsurprisingly, her electric bills are hundreds of dollars, especially in summer when her air-conditioner runs full-tilt-boogie and triggers “peak” pricing – Xcel Energy’s slap on the hand to homeowners who use excessive power to stay cool.

Their problem isn’t old or shoddy construction, though. The house is a custom 3,100-square-foot duplex built in 2009. Instead, their issue is that the house meets the bare minimum required in building codes, and the energy codes that feed into them are insufficient. Thankfully, those energy codes – the 2009 “IECC”version – are becoming roughly 15 percent tougher next year in Denver, as well as in a number of Colorado counties and places across the country.

“Energy codes matter because people have a basic expectation when they buy a property,” says Shaunna Mozingo, Energy Code Consultant and Plans Analyst for Colorado Code Consulting. “When it snows, the roof will hold the load. When the wind blows, it won’t blow the house down. The plumbing works,” she says.

But Mozingo says these buyer expectations also extend to energy use. “Buyers also expect to be comfortable, and they expect the home to be efficient. They expect that their first energy bill isn’t going to put them out of their next mortgage payment.”

 

IMAGES : (1) The Rays’ house in inner-city Denver.  (2) Energy auditor Jerry Garner teaching owner Marla Ray how to program a thermostat. (3) Infrared (IR) photo of third-floor walls and ceiling. Disparities between the framing and cavities in the Rays’ house show insufficient insulation, and new energy codes would help the Rays live more comfortably and affordably in their home.

As with computer processors, there’s a “Moore’s Law” in energy efficiency – the bar gets raised routinely in energy-efficient features and systems in homes. In the same way that old Commodore computers with 280-bit processors are now quaint relics, homes built five, 15 or even 50 years ago must step up with energy efficiency or risk devaluation when it’s time to sell.

For example, the new codes will make 80-percent furnaces museum relics. ‘Ever wait for the shower water to heat? Hot water pipe insulation will now be required. So will mechanical ventilation to keep inside air fresh and safe. And one of the more exotic and visible changes going forward is mandatory blower-door testing – energy auditors put large fans and adjustable canvas frames into doorways to measure building airtightness.

These raised codes would have helped the Rays if they built new in 2013. Increased ceiling insulation would better shield Marla’s office with 22 percent more insulation (R-38 to R-49 insulation values), more energy-efficient lighting and better windows would be required, and the heating and cooling ductwork would leak less. Not only are the Rays done with big Xcel bills, but their air-conditioner contractor made out like a bandit, installing two big units that can’t even keep up. As it stands now, the Rays are on the hook for any after-market changes so they can be comfortable.

Not only does energy efficiency affect utility bills, it also impacts property valuation. In May 2012, the Appraisal Institute officially recognized green buildings (and specifically energy savings) with higher appraisal values in commercial real estate. And this is happening in residential, too, as data from around the country is starting to show that green homes and features sell faster and for more money.

Even though raised energy codes benefit anyone buying or building a new home, Mozingo says there’s pushback and resistance to change, with some jurisdictions choosing not to play at all. “There are over 340 jurisdictions [building departments] in Colorado, and about 70 of them don’t have a code. And a number of codes were written in 1960,” she says.

Also, Colorado’s “home-rule” whereby local governing bodies rather than the state dictate policy, causes confusion for general contractors and builders working from county to county. “Home rule is a great thing, but it’s not a great thing if you’re a designer or a contractor. Or if you’re trying to be energy-compliant because no one’s doing the same thing.”

Even with raised energy codes, there are some outlier communities – a handful in Colorado – that regard the stricter 2012 codes as a nice start. Boulder, Colo., has a carbon tax, a green building code and acceptance of Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emission levels driving city and county policy.

“We have national codes, and in addition, many municipalities will adopt additional codes. The national building codes are pretty quiet on ‘green’ issues. Yet the City of Boulder said we’ll take a stronger position,” says architect Ron Flax of Rodwin Architecture in Boulder. Flax and his colleagues specialize in green-home building, hardly a novelty in progressive Boulder.

“They created the Green Points building codes – one of, if not the first, green building codes in the country. It’s not just insulation and air-sealing, but also green materials, material sourcing, waste and water.”

Mozingo says 50 percent of Colorado counties aren’t even up to the 2009 energy codes, and when it comes to buying a home or building, caveat emptor. “If owners would do more research, then everyone in the state would bring the code up to date because owners would throw a fit that there isn’t even a minimum,’” she says.

“I really want to stress to building owners and buyers to do their homework to see what went into their house and commercial building. They know – instead of expecting, they know. Then they can make that choice whether they want to buy that [home or] building.”

-Melissa Baldridge, GreenSpot

________________________________________

Code Green – Building Code Upgrades in 2012 Sideline Old Homes

November 17th, 2012

The Ray's townhome in inner-city Denver

Marla and John Ray relocated to Denver from Washington, D.C. in 2008, partly because of the weather.  But there are days they’d never know they left the stifling Potomac lowlands because their townhouse in central Denver is so hot.

Marla, who owns Denver’s Moving Boxes, works from a third-floor bonus room in her house, a space which fries several months a year.  “We’ll have the heat on in one room, and the air-conditioner on in another,” she says of the four-story townhome in the Whittier neighborhood.  Unsurprisingly, her electric bills are hundreds of dollars, especially in summer when her air-conditioner runs full-tilt-boogie and triggers “peak” pricing – Xcel Energy’s slap on the hand to homeowners who use excessive power to stay cool.

Their problem isn’t old or shoddy construction, though.  The house is a custom 3,100-square-foot duplex built in 2009.  Instead, their issue is that the house meets the bare minimum required in building codes, and the energy codes that feed into them are insufficient.  Thankfully, those energy codes – the 2009 “IECC”[1] version – are becoming roughly 15 percent tougher next year in Denver, as well as in a number of Colorado counties and places across the country.

GreenSpot energy auditor Jerry Garner shows Marla Ray how to program her thermostat.

“Energy codes matter because people have a basic expectation when they buy a property,” says Shaunna Mozingo, Energy Code Consultant and Plans Analyst for Colorado Code Consulting.  “When it snows, the roof will hold the load.  When the wind blows, it won’t blow the house down.  The plumbing works,” she says.

But Mozingo says these buyer expectations also extend to energy use.  “Buyers also expect to be comfortable, and they expect the home to be efficient.  They expect that their first energy bill isn’t going to put them out of their next mortgage payment.”

As with computer processors, there’s a “Moore’s Law” in energy efficiency – the bar gets raised routinely in energy-efficient features and systems in homes.  In the same way that old Commodore computers with 280-bit processors are now quaint relics, homes built five, 15 or even 50 years ago must step up with energy efficiency or risk devaluation when it’s time to sell.

For example, the new codes will make 80-percent furnaces museum relics.  ‘Ever wait for the shower water to heat?  Hot water pipe insulation will now be required.  So will mechanical ventilation to keep inside air fresh and safe.  And one of the more exotic and visible changes going forward is mandatory blower-door testing – energy auditors put large fans into doorways with adjustable canvas frames to measure building airtightness.

These raised codes would have helped the Rays if they built new in 2013.  Increased ceiling insulation would better shield Marla’s office with 22 percent more insulation (R-38 to R-49 insulation values), more energy-efficient lighting and better windows would be required, and the heating and cooling ductwork would leak less.  Not only are the Rays tired of big Xcel bills, but their air-conditioner contractor made out like a bandit, installing two big units that can’t even keep up.   As it stands, the Rays are on the hook for these after-market changes so they can be comfortable.

Infrared (IR) photo of third-floor walls and ceiling. Disparities between the framing and cavities in the Rays' house show insufficient insulation, and new building codes would help them.

Not only does energy efficiency affect utility bills, it also impacts property valuation.  In May 2012, the Appraisal Institute officially recognized green buildings (and specifically energy savings) with higher appraisal values in commercial real estate [2].  And this is happening in residential, too, as data from around the country is starting to show that green homes and features sell faster and for more money.[3]

Even though raised energy codes benefit anyone buying or building a new home, Mozingo says there’s pushback and resistance to change, with some jurisdictions choosing not to play at all.  “There are over 340 jurisdictions [building departments] in Colorado, and about 70 of them don’t have a code.  And a number of codes were written in 1960,” she says.

Also, Colorado’s “home-rule” whereby local governing bodies rather than the state dictate policy , causes confusion for general contractors and builders working from county to county.  “Home rule is a great thing, but it’s not a great thing if you’re a designer or a contractor.  Or if you’re trying to be energy-compliant because no one’s doing the same thing.”

Even with raised energy codes, there are some outlier communities – a handful in Colorado – that regard the stricter 2012 codes as a nice start.  Boulder, Colo., has a carbon tax, a “green” building code and acceptance of Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emission levels driving city and county policy.

“We have national codes, and in addition, many municipalities will adopt additional codes.  The national building codes are pretty quiet on ‘green’ issues.  Yet the City of Boulder said we’ll take a stronger position,” says architect Ron Flax of Rodwin Architecture in Boulder.  Flax and his colleagues specialize in green-home building, hardly a novelty in progressive Boulder. 

“They created the Green Points building codes – one of, if not the first, green building codes in the country.  It’s not just insulation and air-sealing, but also green materials, material sourcing, waste and water.”

Mozingo says 50 percent of Colorado counties aren’t even up to the 2009 energy codes, and when it comes to buying a home or building, caveat emptor.  “If owners would do more research, then everyone in the state would bring the code up to date because owners would throw a fit that there isn’t even a minimum,’” she says.

“I really want to stress to building owners and buyers to their homework to see what went into their house and commercial building.  They know – instead of expecting, they know.  Then they can make that choice whether they want to buy that [home or] building.”

-Melissa Baldridge


[1] International Energy Conservation Code, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Energy_Conservation_Code.

[2] Institute for Market Transformation and the Appraisal Institute,  ”Recognition of Energy Costs and Energy Performance in Real Property Valuation,” May 2012, http://bit.ly/TNQxXV.

[3] Ann Griffin, “Certifying Home Performance:  Assessing the Market Performance of Third Party Certification on Residential Properties,” Earth Advantage Institute, May 2009, http://bit.ly/TJZbnW

NEWS RELEASE – GreenSpot Unveils “Green” Window Stickers for Existing-Home Listings

October 31st, 2012

PILOT NETS ONE OF METRO AREA’S HIGHEST PRICES FOR BUNGALOWS

Denver, Nov. 1, 2012: GreenSpot Real Estate recently launched its “GreenSpot” eco-makeover program for existing-home listings, including a “window sticker” showing the property’s energy-, water-efficient and “green” features. The 1925 home, a 2,025-square-foot bungalow in Denver’s West City Park neighborhood, sold for $390,000, a 4 – 8 percent increase over what competing brokers thought the property would bring.

Working with the homeowner, GreenSpot tuned the home for greater efficiency, including swapping light bulbs, cleaning and tuning the furnace and air-conditioner, blanketing the hot water tank, adding faucet aerators, and switching basement windows with ENERGY STAR replacements. The company then advertised the upgrades and estimated savings in a “window sticker” similar to a new-car window sticker – 20 percent energy savings and 30 percent water for the house.

“As building codes for new construction continue to advance, we want to help our older-home listings compete,” says GreenSpot Real Estate co-owner Tracye Herrington. “The makeover works on any home with similar results.”

A recent Zip Realty survey shows that 55 percent of homebuyers cited green features as important, and of those 89 percent named energy efficiency as number one. So in March, Metrolist, the state’s largest multiple listing service, added fields to metro Denver’s MLS allowing the capture, advertising and tracking of energy-efficient and green features in properties.

“I’d like to buy one of our homes,” says GreenSpot co-owner Melissa Baldridge. “The makeover and window sticker is one way we demonstrate we care about the owner’s experience long after they buy.”

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