Duane Duggan, Realtor and Author RE/MAX of Boulder

Is sustainable housing just a real estate buzz word or is it actually happening in the real estate industry? Sustainable housing is a multi-faceted and evolving term encompassing eco-friendly construction and design with low environmental impact and higher energy efficiency. It also entails lasting economic, health, and social benefits to households and the community. Many home builders are now very conscious of constructing dwellings that incorporate sustainable features.

In 2015, the National Association of Realtors® conducted a study of features that constitute a green, healthier home and community. They are as follows:

• Solar panels for electricity to power the house and charge your electric car
• Solar panels for hot water and space heat
• High walk score, transit, and biking score to lower commuting costs and day-to-day travel (reducing carbon emissions)
• Energy efficient utilities, appliances, and lighting
• Smart/connected home
• Green community with bike lanes and paths, open space
• Landscaping for water conservation, rooftop gardens
• Efficient domestic water usage by using low flow shower heads and smaller capacity toilets
• Interior air quality/radon mitigation

Now in 2019, the National Association of Realtors surveyed its Realtor® members to assess how far the industry has progressed in housing sustainability. Results indicate that we are making strides in the sustainability housing world.

Helping buyers choose homes with sustainable features is an important part of the home buying process. The survey found that 41 percent of Multiple Listing Services across the county now have data fields to identify features such as energy, green certifications, and more. Having these data fields enables home buyers to search for homes with desired sustainability features.

The desire of the home buying public to pay for sustainable features is critical to building a sustainable housing stock. 59 percent of those surveyed said clients were at least somewhat interested in sustainability. This shows that home buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the features that constitute a sustainable home.

Solar panels are a hot item. 83 percent of the respondents said properties with solar panels were available in their market. 36 percent said that solar panels increased the perceived value of the property.

Home buyers are also becoming more aware of what it means to have a “high performing” home. Sixteen percent of respondents said that a “high performance” home (defined as a systematic building science approach to home improvements that increase indoor comfort, health, operational efficiency, and durability) is becoming more important to them.

Housing sustainability will be a buzz word in the real estate industry for years to come. The above National Association of Realtors research and survey show that awareness is improving. Realtor can help you find both new homes and existing homes with sustainable features. If you are selling a home, your Realtor can help you decide if adding sustainable features to your home will help you sell your home more quickly and for a higher sales price.

To learn more, visit Colorado Green Building Guild: https://cgbg.org.

By Duane Duggan. Duane has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail [email protected], call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.