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Capturing Efficiency in Residential Real Estate Transactions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new whitepaper ( that highlights how residential programs can help make home resale prices account for the value of high-performance energy efficiency features to appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, homebuyers, and sellers.

Multiple studies in recent years have indicated that energy efficiency is an important consideration for homebuyers. In fact, energy-efficient homes sell for a premium in some regions of the United States. Only when investments in energy efficiency are more accurately reflected in home resale prices, however, will homeowners be confident that efficiency investments will be recouped at resale.

Prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the white paper provides examples of programs across the United States that have successfully engaged the real estate community and overcome barriers to valuing energy efficiency in the home resale process.

Energy efficiency programs already capture data needed to make efficiency more visible and valued in real estate transactions. Program administrators can make sure this information is transmitted to the people who need it in formats they can use and understand. A number of programs highlighted in the paper have already begun closing the energy-information gap through efforts, including the following:

  • Issuing a home energy rating or score to program participants provides a standardized approach to documenting a homes performance that can easily be indicated in a multiple listing service (MLS), which provides home sale listings to be used for and between professionals who then inform their clients and customers.
  • Issuing certificates that leverage existing national standards provides trusted, third-party-verified information that real estate agents prefer.
  • Requiring participating contractors to attach stickers documenting a homes efficiency information to the homes electrical circuit-breaker box ensures it can be found by the listing agent when the home is put on the market.
  • Working with the local Board of Realtors to establish green fields in the local or regional MLS provides a repository necessary for transmitting homesefficiency information to the market.
  • Adopting standards for documenting efficiency data for energy upgrade or performance certificates and integrates with established real estate tools.

DOEs Better Buildings Home Energy Information Accelerator ( launched earlier this year brings together real estate and efficiency partners to build on these efforts, address challenges raised in the paper, and facilitate improved access to and use of energy information in real estate transactions.

More Real Estate Resources

Dig deeper into the valuing of energy and building efficiency in residential real estate by exploring these Peer Exchange Call summaries and Residential Network member stories:

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