Energy efficient upgrades see future in home building

by Laura Bednar

While the green movement in homes is still in its early stages, energy efficient upgrades are additions that homeowners will value in the future, according to homebuilder and realtor with EXP Realty Laura Lynn Reising.

Today’s housing market has left buyers competing with dozens of other bidders for the limited number of homes available. Due to this situation, Reising said a home being energy efficient is not the primary consideration for buyers.

However, she said there are two prevalent green components in new home building: Energy Star rated appliances and Low E-glass windows. These windows minimize the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light coming into a home and reflect heat while remaining transparent.

Other green additions include roofing shingles designed to cool roofs and improve efficiency, and programmable thermostats.

“People are spending so much time at home, [we’ll] see more comfort and technology features,” Reising said.

While there is a push for technology, Reising said electric car chargers in garages have not yet reached popularity. Chargers, she said, range from $1,500-$3,000, with costs only increasing as the amount of amps and charging cables become larger. These features are more commonly seen in houses in the $1 million price range.

Reising did note that solar energy would become more prevalent as more municipalities offer a tax credit for homeowners with the technology. Building a new home on a specific lot can have its green advantages as the land can determine water consumption and energy efficiency. Even the position of the home in relation to the sun can be a factor.

“It takes every aspect of the home into consideration,” said Reising.

One of her recent projects has used sustainable lumber made of reclaimed and natural woods within the interior of the home. “There is a move to go back to natural living,” she said.

While energy efficiency isn’t currently at the forefront of a homebuyer’s mind, there are fixes people can implement in anticipation for the future.

The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council’s website outlines energy upgrades that can increase property values. Insulation in an attic, basement or crawl space can keep a home cool in summer and warm in winter. Windows, like Low-E windows, can also prevent air from escaping the home.

A 2019 survey from the National Association of Home Builders found that if a home shows reduced energy costs of $1,000 annually, a homebuyer is willing to pay an additional $8,000.

Looking a few years down the road, Reising said homebuyers and sellers emerging from the pandemic will pay for energy efficient upgrades and incorporate them into houses.

“Energy and conservation have been instilled in younger generations,” she said. ∞