I was excited to see this article in Realtor magazine today. I have been energy-efficient and eco-minded since I was in college in the late 90s. While living in Japan, I saw the love of natural materials in homes and life. For example, the use of tatami-mats as a floor cover, the use of natural dyes such as indigo in clothing and material, eating food in season, and the wide use of public transportation. There is an also an appreciation of nature through the native Shinto religion that I hadn’t experienced before.
When I moved to Ireland (we lived there for 10 years), I saw that being environmentally friendly was wholeheartedly embraced by the population. There are few natural resources and so it costs a lot of money to import fuel such as coal, petrol, and gas. While I would never thought to dry the wash on a clothesline in the US, everyone in Ireland hangs their wash out to dry in Ireland. I still do here in Colorado and love the fresh air scent that being line-dried gives. The Irish rarely turn the heating on night, and set the heating to come on from October-April only at certain times of the day (usually for an hour in the morning and then an hour or two in the early evening). Here in Colorado, our thermostat is never set above 65F. If we are cold, we put a sweater on 🙂 I also learned how to recycle and compost in Ireland.
In our home in Colorado, we use Energy Star appliances and LED lightbulbs and this has brought down our electricity bills. Our sprinklers are set on a drip system and we have planted drought-tolerant ornamental plants (xeriscaping). We tore out the carpet and installed oak floors, and stained them with a zero VOC hardwax oil from Belgium called Rubio Monocoat. Our walls have been painted with zero VOC paints. We replaced our furnace with the highest efficiency style (we took out the electric baseboards). I love that I can be environmentally friendly, have healthy indoor air-quality, and save money on bills at the same time.
Here is more from the article which says that Fort Collins has the highest percentage of green listings. I have my GREEN designation from the National Association of Realtors and am ready to help buyer and sellers with their green home search or sale!
Affordable Price Tags in Top ‘Green’ Markets
Eco-friendly homes are growing in demand, but buyers don’t always have to expect to pay a premium. Realtor.com® researched the 200 biggest metros in the U.S. to find the market availability of green homes with eco-friendly features, such as solar panels, smart thermostats, bamboo floors, and more. Researchers also sought to determine how much more or less these homes cost prospective buyers.
“Although Southern and Western states still lead the way in green technology adoption, eco-friendly features have grown in popularity across many regions of the United States,” says Javier Vivas, realtor.com®’s director of economic research. “Many buyers have come to expect standard features, and homes integrating specialty green features are becoming more mainstream. However, in today’s inventory-starved market, location still reigns supreme and the price of land can easily override the allure of special eco-friendly features.”
Buyers don’t always have to pay more for eco-friendly features. In Salina, Calif., green listings are 14 percent below the median home price. Also, buyers in Prescott, Ariz., and Fresno, Calif., who want integrated solar panels in their new home will pay the same or less than the median home price in each market.
However, homes with programmable thermostats do tend to cost more, adding up to 20 percent in Montgomery, Ala.; 17 percent in Tulsa, Okla.; 15 percent in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, metro area; and 12 percent in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Energy Star–rated homes likely will cost more too. Most buyers will likely pay 21 to 26 percent more than the median home per square foot.