It’s not uncommon today for homebuyers to have pre-conceived ideas about energy efficiency yet be completely misinformed. With all the news, and all the terminologies, it’s easy to get confused, and miss the point of what’s important and what’s not. The fact is, it’s easy to assess a house with respect to real estate price, physical size, and geographic location (let alone the fancy amenities). Beyond that, industry statistics show that for most people (80% plus), energy efficiency would be a determining factor in deciding on which property to purchase.
The bigger question is – do homeowners actually understand what all that energy efficiency stuff means. Do they know much about the Energy Star standards? Do they understand what a high-performance home is all about? Do they comprehend the cost/benefit of lower energy costs? And finally, would they actually pay more for a home that was more energy efficient than something comparable, but less energy efficient? Happily, most homebuyers (particularly this generation) have some basic knowledge about everything mentioned above.
Not surprisingly, there is a gap between what statisticians call “attitude and action”. Nonetheless, a homebuyer’s preference for energy efficiency means that the market is ripe for high performing homes. What’s important is that homebuyers realize both the short term and long-term benefits of purchasing a home that is considered energy efficient. Likewise, it’s important for home sellers to ensure that their property meets a standard of acceptability for prospective buyers. More and more, real estate transactions will rely on energy efficiencies.
Insulation for walls, attics and basements
With effective insulation throughout the home, it takes less energy to heat and/or cool the house. Today’s homebuyers are prioritizing this, and therefore looking for better-insulated homes. For home sellers, a highly performing home will do better on the market. It may even be of benefit to make certain insulation upgrades prior to selling. In future, this will be a legal requirement.
Energy rebates and tax incentives available
Because of the emphasis on home energy efficiency, there are many rebates and incentives for making energy upgrades and undertaking energy retrofits. Here, incentives are designed to focus on high performance insulation that will boost R-Value and consequently reduce seasonal energy consumption. Naturally, a higher performing home will be a far more attractive property.
Energy audits/expert advice on efficiencies
More and more, energy audits will be an integral part of the real estate landscape. For the home seller, a certified energy audit will confirm a home’s energy performance, and for the homebuyer the audit will confirm whether the home does or doesn’t meet energy efficiency requisites. As well, areas of improvement will be highlighted, allowing for energy retrofits to be undertaken.
Homebuyers, even first timers, are placing far more emphasis on the importance of home energy efficiency when making purchasing decisions. And while other pre-requisites are high on the list, like neighbourhood and local amenities, home energy efficiency presents long term benefits and dollar savings that are significant for every homeowner.