Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Buyers Willing to Pay for Green

From Realtors Magazine Online. May 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - Home buyers will gladly pay a premium for granite countertops and walk-in closets. But will they dig deeper for better insulation, energy-saving appliances, and efficient heating and cooling systems?

Increasingly, the answer is yes, said the panelists at Tuesday's Land Use, Property Rights, and Environment Forum at the 2008 REALTORS├é® Midyear Legislative Meetings here in the nation's capital.

"We're on the crest of a wave that's continuing to grow," said David Rodgers, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency in the U.S. Department of Energy. 'The mission is to do more with less, not less with less. This is not about sacrificing or putting on a sweater. It's about making investments that do more."

Houses use more than 20 percent of the nation's energy, according to government statistics, and U.S. households waste more than $300 billion every year because of inefficient energy use.

Knowledge Is Your Responsibility:

Panelist Kateri Callahan, president of the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy, said real estate professionals have an inherent responsibility to their clients to be educated on housing features that can increase energy efficiency.

In addition to combating the harmful effects of climate change, she said, modifications to increase efficiency offer significant savings to home owners over time.

"Promoting energy efficiency worldwide will achieve a healthier economy,"she said. "It's the cheapest, cleanest, quickest way to tackle our energy supply challenges and enhance energy security."

Is a Federal Code the Answer?

Callahan's group advocates for a federal energy code that would require home builders to maintain minimum standards for building materials and processes. "In many states we still allow people to buy inefficient, leaky houses that waste energy,"she said.

But not everyone shares that position. Panelist Greg Miedema, president of Dakota Builders in Tucson, Ariz., said he opposes a federal mandate, a position shared by the National Association of Home Builders. But he concedes there is a need for standards. "We want voluntary standards. We believe mandates stifle creativity and build resentment."

There was one other point on which all the panelists agreed: Real estate professionals can boost client loyalty -and their own bottom lines - by encouraging eco-friendly home improvements for buyers and sellers.

By Wendy Cole for REALTOR magazine online

Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.
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where you can search for Aventura Condos, Florida Condos,

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