Expert Advice on Green Buildings

Green Homes: Study Shows LEED and ENERGY STAR Homes Sell for 9% More


On July 19, 2012, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) released a study, "The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market". The study found that homes with green certification, including LEED, GreenPoint, and ENERGY STAR, sell for 9% more than conventional residential properties.

The researchers studied data from the 1.6 million homes sold in California over the last 5 years, and found that an average home priced at $400,000 would increase by $34,800 if it were labeled with LEED, ENERGY STAR or GreenPoint.

The report indicates that green labeled homes have a higher value because they are easier to cool (hotter areas had more green home sales) and consumers have a greater green awareness. Interestingly, the researchers found that residents in areas with high Toyota Prius registrations were willing to pay more for green homes - which the report coined "the Prius Effect".

Green Jobs: Builders and Professional Certification

This study shows that professionals in the green building industry could tap into extra value in the market by building or retrofitting homes to green standards, such as LEED, ENERGY STAR and GreenPoint.

Additionally, other studies have shown that the green homes market will experience significant growth this decade. For example, McGraw-Hill estimates that the sector will grow by up to 38% by 2016, while Pike Research predicts that there will be an additional 120 billion square feet of green homes in the world by 2020.

These market signals indicate that building professionals may benefit from green building credentials or certification.

For example, green building professionals can earn two types of LEED professional credentials that demonstrate knowledge of green building and the LEED rating systems: the LEED Green Associate and the LEED AP with Specialty. The LEED AP credential has a Homes specialty, which would be directly applicable to building new green homes.

Energy auditors may also be in high demand, especially since the ENERGY STAR program for New Homes requires that eligible houses are inspected by a Home Energy Rater (HERS Rater) or an equivalent energy auditor.

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) certifies HERS Raters to inspect homes, prepare home energy ratings and recommend home energy efficiency improvements.

Similarly, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) provides a variety of green building certifications, including certifications for professionals who provide energy efficiency retrofits. The Building Analyst certification specifically demonstrates a professional's ability to perform whole-home energy assessments.

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