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Energy Efficient Neighborhoods: The New Trend in Real Estate

The future of the real estate industry is unfurling before our eyes. People are witnessing some of the most dynamic and innovative changes it’s seen in recent years, as home developers embrace building more “green” and energy efficient communities. With multiple organizations and programs dedicated to literally “building a better tomorrow,” the world of realty- which extends far past your friendly realtor- is listening to the public and changing the way homes are constructed.

And they’re not stopping at just a few houses here and there. You may know of a few existing homes in your neighborhood with eco-friendly upgrades. But developers, state governments and businesses want to see these upgrades in every home in the United States.  The undertaking for such a project is incredibly overwhelming, but one which is necessary. Energy efficient neighborhoods isn’t a new concept, though it’s now becoming more favorable and accepted as the new normal in real estate.

The push for “retrofitting” and upgrading homes really began only a few years ago, thanks to the efforts made by Vice President Joe Biden. In 2009, The Recovery Act program spurred multiple projects under it to allocate some $80 billion dollars to projects related to the environment and clean energy efforts.

A majority of that money helped to shape The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program initiative in 2010 and has since been positively affecting communities in many states. The goal of the program was to fund enough money to make homes more energy efficient and ultimately save people millions of dollars every year.

The program focused on providing better access to information, financing, and opened doors to solve the shortage of skilled workers and green entrepreneurs who could build and manage stricter building codes. Not only does the BBN Program allow for developers to start these projects, but it also explored how energy efficient neighborhoods are extremely important to lowering energy consumption in your home.

Energy efficient homes may be more costly initially, but people are willing to pay the difference. A study showed that on average, a home with a “green build” is selling almost $34,000 more than a home without the same upgrades or built-in energy appliances. Homebuyers still want to pay the price instead of purchasing homes without any upgrades at all, and the real estate industry has taken note of this shift too.

There are a number of reasons our government has begun looking to the future of energy efficiency, primarily due to how homes were once built. Old water heaters, non-insulated walls and ceilings, drafty chimneys and unsealed windows were just among the few problems homeowners faced in the past; all of which racked up expensive fees. Many find that they pay quite a bit of money on electric bills when they don’t need to, and are now learning how to avoid unnecessary spending.  

Empowering homeowners with the right information, and paving paths to have entire neighborhoods which are eco-friendly has boundless benefits. Low-income neighborhoods can also benefit from energy smart homes because it allows for everyone to save valuable money and live in more comfortable conditions, regardless of income.

As more homebuyers catch wind of the benefits of energy efficient homes, demand to meet those requirements will continue to rise and challenge developers. The U.S. has been slow to change it’s old ways, but people are beginning to pay closer attention to how important these types of homes are. While it will take some time for all cities to follow suit, the need and want for energy efficient neighborhoods will continue to be the latest “must have” for eager homebuyers.