How do you get a green home in Charlottesville?

Just ask. Unless more consumers ask, and more developers listen, little will be done. There is real, sustainable momentum right now towards the green movement.

I ran into a Realtor this morning at my favorite coffee shop, and asked whether a development that she was representing was going to be EarthCraft or not. She said she would find out. Several developments and builders in the Charlottesville area are catching on to the simple fact that buyers care about how their houses are built (shocking, I know). Interestingly, some of the market leaders in our area are the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle.

From CvilleTomorrow:

“…  LEED-certified buildings practices can reduce energy bills by up to thirty percent by reducing water use and preventing heat loss. In his presentation, Hartke addressed the costs of such benefits.

“We know that green buildings increase property value, they also decrease liability, but they also have a huge impact on health and well-being.” He even says green buildings can increase productivity and reduce absenteeism by providing healthier places to work and learn. But, he told the commission the dollar value of such improvements are hard to quantify. “

I am not sure how many times I have written or said this, but whether developers buy into the concept of building green for the health reasons or sustainability reasons, they need to start building green for at least the following reasons:

1) Buyers want it.
2) As buyers stay in their homes longer, they will be able to recoup the additional costs (however incremental they may be) as they stay in their homes longer.
3) There is profit to be had in building green.
Courtesy of an Eco-Broker presentation I use:

Home value increases by about $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills.

94% of 300 Americans surveyed cited their most sought-after green upgrade as energy savings.

Roughly nine in ten people (91%) said energy-efficient features in a new home are extremely or very important.

Heck, even CNBC is covering green; their demographics tend to speak to market leaders. Might this be a clear sign that builders would do well to take heed?

Earth Day is Sunday. Get your free CFL at Home Depot (it’s a lightbulb that saves you money).

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1 Comment

  1. Stormy April 20, 2007 at 15:59

    Jim,

    One of the more interesting facets in town for green building is the embrace it is receiving from Habitat for Humanity. I’m guessing that the logic of keeping down costs (heating, water, etc.) for families on fixed incomes makes green building a win-win for Habitat.