A Realtor’s search of current listings can yield everything from new construction boasting a green certification to an older home with added insulation, double-paned windows, a tankless hot water heater or other energy-efficient features.
Not too long ago, this type of search was far more difficult. In fact, back in 2007, when the Portland-based Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) first added a green-certification field on its listing forms, it started something new.
Over time, RMLS added an additional field for energy-efficiency features. Now, it’s increasingly common to find some nod to energy savings or an environmentally friendly upgrade in new and pre-existing homes for sale in the metro area. The publicly accessible site, www.rmls.com, does not include the green-feature search, but Realtors have access to the industry site and can easily search for the desired green features on a client’s behalf.
“Everyone has a different wish list when it comes to what they’re looking for in a home,” said Kirby Gibson, a broker with Salient Properties. “But a green certification can be a major selling point, especially once people have a better understanding of what that means.”
To earn an Earth Advantage certification, a new home must be inspected by experts at least twice. Homes earn points for energy and water efficiency; indoor air quality; material conservation (such as the use of locally manufactured products); and practices used during the land development and construction process to reduce waste and prevent potential erosion. Depending on the number of points earned, a project may qualify for a Silver, Gold or Platinum level of certification.
For the home on North Princeton, Gibson can list almost two dozen green features that set the structure apart. The most unique is a ductless, mini-split heat pump that allows for zonal heating and cooling. Sleek, high-tech air-handling units are mounted high on a wall in the main-floor great room, upstairs master bedroom and upstairs hallway. They come with remote controls that make it easy to turn the system on and off, so that no energy goes to waste inside the different areas of the house.
Although green-certified homes still represent a relatively small percentage of all new home construction, the practice is expected to grow locally as well as nationwide as homebuilders continue to look for a competitive edge in the marketplace. As of early April, Portland had 307 active listings for green-certified homes, according to RMLS. Within the last 12 months, 714 green-certified homes were sold in the metro area.
Pre-existing homes with one or more energy-efficient features represent a different shade of green. Yet they can still offer reduced energy costs and support for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
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