The green building movement is in full swing, but how much are people willing to pay for it? A recent article in The Oregonian covers the trouble developers have knowing what a green feature is worth to a consumer, and what is being done to fix that.
Some green features are readily apparent to anyone. A person will notice windows, doors or solar panels. But many features of green building are built deep into the fabric of the house. Ultra-efficient ventilation systems, green insulation and heat exchangers are not readily observable to the untrained eye, and oftentimes not to the trained eye either.
Developers are finding that some of their most green and energy efficient features are being overlooked by brokers and appraisers. As a result, there is very little clear data available on what eco-conscious consumers are willing to pay for green materials, technology and processes.
A non-profit out of Portland, Earth Advantage, is attempting to rectify the situation by educating real-estate professionals on how to spot green features and figure them into the price of the homes. The hope is that brokers and appraisers will take this information to consumers so that data will come in to see how much green building is worth. Once those price points come in there will be room to push the practices out of their niche into the building community’s mainstream.
“A lot of this depends on the people who are out there on the front lines,” said Cathcart. “If you walk into a house and don’t know what questions to ask, things are going to be missed.”