Going Green in Real Estate
Going Green in Real Estate

Going Green in Real Estate

This month Mega Realty takes a look at trends in the green movement for sustainable housing and how it benefits the homeowner.

With increased home buyer demand for green homes, more and more builders are choosing to build to suit the times. If you’re in the market to buy a new home or interested in doing some updates to your existing home, it can pay off to look into sustainable options. Tax breaks, homeowner’s insurance discounts, and added resale value are few of the potential financial benefits homeowners can take advantage of from investing in green real estate. Below, we’ll take a closer look at a few green home features and certification criteria.

LEED Certification

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used rating system for green buildings in the world. Through independent verification, a building or neighborhood project can earn their LEED certification at one of four different levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. LEED homes are built to be healthy, providing exceptional indoor air quality, ample natural light, and use of safer building materials gathered from sustainable sources. They’re also built to reduce energy and water consumption, thereby reducing utility costs. Certified homes use 20 to 30 percent less energy than non-green homes. LEED homes also qualify for special tax breaks and possible discounts on homeowner’s insurance.

A certified home may have features such as:

  • -Takes into consideration the location of the home on the property to be optimal in regards to sunlight, shade, and wind direction
  • -Proper sizing and specs for heating, cooling, hot water, etc.
  • -Insulated hot water pipes
  • -Use of natural light and heat sources
  • -Building materials that are sustainably sourced, durable, non-toxic, and require minimum maintenance
  • -High efficiency doors and windows
  • -Solar, geothermal, and/or wind energy
  • -Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • -Gray water system

Click here to see an example of a LEED Platinum home.

To learn more about LEED certification visit the U.S. Green Building Council.

Energy Star Qualified Home

For a home to qualify for an Energy Star rating, it must meet strict efficiency criteria set by the EPA and is verified by a third-party. Certified homes are 20% more efficient than a home built to code on average. Homes achieving this level of performance include a complete package of the following features:

  • -High-performance windows, comprehensive air sealing throughout the home, and properly installed insulation
  • -High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
  • -Best building practices and materials to protect roof, walls, and foundation from water damage
  • -Certified lighting, appliances, and fans

For more information about Energy Star Qualified homes, visit www.EnergyStar.gov.

HERS Score

The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index seeks to measure your home’s actual efficiency level. A low HERS score can mean a higher resale value for your home. The average resale home scores a 130 on the index, while a standard new construction home earns a 100.

Below is a list of variables used to determine a home’s HERS score from HersIndex.com:

  • -All exterior walls (both above and below grade)
  • -Floors over unconditioned spaces (like garages or cellars)
  • -Ceilings and roofs
  • -Attics, foundations and crawlspaces
  • -Windows and doors, vents and ductwork
  • -HVAC system, water heating system, and your thermostat
  • -Air leakage of the home
  • -Leakage in the heating and cooling distribution system

You can click here to search a property’s HERS score at HersIndex.com.

If you’re in the market for an energy efficient or green certified home, or if you’re wanting to sell your home and looking at ways to improve your efficiency score, contact Mega Realty today! 979-297-6000

About The Author

Shiloh Carlson is a Realtor serving the Greater Houston area (specializing in Brazoria County). She is a member in good standing of the National, Texas, and Houston Associations of Realtors. A native Texan who, after living throughout the U.S., including Alaska, is happy to be back living in her home state. She’s a proud mother of 3, self-taught web-developer, and steadfast entrepreneur. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, she provides exceptional attention for all her clients.