Putting a value on green homes

By Christina Blackston

Though the benefits of green and energy saving improvements might already be evident to the homeowner, The Appraisal Institute has now introduced a standardized method for appraisers to analyze and report that data.

The “Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum” form provides space to note a rain barrel, cistern, or reclaimed water system that has been added to the home. ENERGY STARĀ® appliances that help reduce electricity usage — like dishwashers or refrigerators — are given a place as well, though low flow shower heads and toilets are absent. The addendum fails to emphasize the benefit of water saving devices that are backed by the WaterSense label. The partnership program, coordinated the by the U.S. EPA, seeks to make it easier for consumers to choose products that are at least twenty percent more water efficient than traditional models, without having to compromise effectiveness. Leaving the WaterSense label off of the form leaves water savings on home appliances out of the equation.

Creating a standard method for reporting green features is a good step, though, as the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability notes, it is an optional part of the real estate appraisal process, and relies on green minded professionals for its implementation. While installing energy efficient features can seem to require significant up front investment, the cost-saving benefits are seen over time, especially as placing a suitable value on green improvements becomes a more standard practice.

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