They’re Flocking to Buy These Energy Efficient Homes – Really?

Buyers are flocking? …is that sort-a like a stampede?

I read a recent blog article promoting energy codes and how appraisers are recognizing energy efficient homes. The author stated: “consumers are flocking to buy these homes over conventional homes”.


The concept of energy savings is very closely related and is affected by an increase in Delta T (as it relates to energy rating and audits, a measurement of the difference in temp; outdoor temp compared to indoor temp). The greater the Delta T measurement, the more important it is that the building perform efficiently. Ya want-a keep the cold air out in the winter, so build it smart. The colder, the smarter. Simple concept.

Folks in very cold and very hot climate zones tend to pay attention to (and home appraisers are thereby affected by) how a building performs in it’s task to provide a certain level of comfort. I mention that an appraiser is affected by a buyer’s purchasing habits because the appraiser uses historical sales data or as the appraisers call it: “Appraisal via the Sales Approach”. Yesterday, if the buyer isn’t paying for it, then appraisers aren’t motivated to set value above the average sales data. Appraiser like those long term proven trends and statistics that show a change in buyer’s purchasing habits.

If the buyer’s savings in energy isn’t “large enough”, they won’t go for green upgrades. When they don’t pay more, the appraisal won’t reflect the value. The concept is not only consumer driven, it’s challenged by personal definitions of comfort. Not everyone defines comfort the same way.

A blanket statement of “consumers are flocking to buy these homes over conventional homes” will greatly depend on where the home is located (climate zone) and the cost of energy for that local.

For folks in the deep south, energy cost is somewhere in the $0.12 -14 per KWH range. Compare that to states like CA or/and those on the west cost (which is where one of the author’s studies is focused), it’ll be a hard sell.

Green is just not happening here in MS. Builder’s aren’t motivated to “Go Green”, green home value(s) is/are not prevalent and the buyers are not flocking.

I applaud the health aspects of Green Building. Improved IAQ is a plus. For me personally, I build and promote energy efficient construction. As a 203K Consultant its my job to take note of the energy efficiency aspects of the rehab. But, when comparing apples to apples, the rehab will be “greener” in some areas than others.

Yes, codes are being adopted to promote more energy efficient construction, but, again, if the municipality/state/political “climate” is not pro-energy efficiency, whether the reason is climate zone, cost of energy or uniformed state leaders, the green builder will be a loner and the added cost of construction, as it relates to value, will be a challenge.

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