Energy Efficiency is Increasingly Popular With Home Buyers
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a trade association based in Washington. It boasts more than 140,000 members across diverse industries such as construction, remodeling, property management, finance, home building, design, building product manufacturing and more. According to information provided by the NAHB, home buyers are increasingly focused on energy efficiency. In fact, it is one of the most desirable features of a home, and builders are starting to respond by implementing solutions that support energy efficiency.
NAHB Survey Backs Their Claim
According to a survey of more than 4,000 people who identified as either potential home buyers or as having recently purchased a home, energy efficient houses are a trend that has stayed true over the years. For example, in the 2015 survey, 90 percent of respondents stated that it is desirable or essential for a home to include energy-efficient appliances such as those with the ENERGY STAR® seal. When asked about ENERGY STAR® windows and the installation of insulation that was greater than stipulated by local codes, 87 and 81 percent, respectively, also gave these features a rating of essential or desirable. These percentages are similar to those noted in surveys completed by NAHB in 2012 and 2007.
What Other Features are Energy-Conscious Home Buyers Looking For?
In addition to the three features noted above, potential and recent home buyers also noted that several other options were appealing to them. When asked in the NAHB survey about the appeal of an entire house that has a high ENERGY STAR® rating, 88 percent indicated that they find this feature desirable. Similarly, respondents also gave high marks to other green features such as triple-pane insulating windows, tankless water heaters, an electrical system that uses solar power to heat water, low-e insulating glass windows and water-efficient features.
Energy Use Over the Years
Data gleaned from the Residential Energy Consumption Surveys (RECS), a project of the Energy Information Administration, which is a part of the Department of Energy, shows that homes have become progressively more energy efficient through the decades. When compared to houses built just 30 years ago in the 1980s––which have an annual energy usage that averages about 43.5 thousand British Thermal Units (BTUs)––homes built in the 2000s average only 37.1 thousand BTUs.
This equates to significant cost savings over the lifetime of a home. Homeowners who live in a home built in the 1980s spend about $1.06 on average per square foot of their home over the course of a year. For residents who purchase a home built in the 2000s, that average cost drops to only 88 cents.
Energy Efficient Homes Are More Appealing
A key finding noted in the NAHB study mentioned earlier found that as Millennials turn to purchasing their first home, they're willing to pay a bit more for energy efficient features. The NAHB study found that 84 percent of Millennials would pay two or three percent more for a home that is energy efficient if their utility bills reflect a return on their investment. Fortunately, even existing homes are being remodeled with an eye toward energy efficiency to meet the demands of this sector of the home buying public.
Gary Ashton is the CEO/owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage.
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