The Colorado Energy Office has been working with state communities to add a new set of green search fields in standard MLS databases, which realtors and buyers use to gather information on homes for sale. There will be four main categories in the new search fields grouped by the different home energy efficiency standards, which will include "LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified homes, Energy Star homes, National Green Building Standard homes and homes with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index." This is one step in a good direction not only to make green homes more easily searchable, but also to actually add value to homes whose owners have invested in energy efficiency. Mortgage prices for two homes of varying efficiencies (i.e. their cost to heat, power, and cool) may be the same, but now there will be more information about utility costs as well the standard mortgage rates and taxes. Potential buyers will also be able to see what kind of energy efficiency loan programs they'd be eligible for.
The hope is that efforts like these will spur a broader culture in the real estate markets of recognizing the impact of environmental design on homeowning economics, as investments in making a home more energy efficient have had a hard time translating their way into better home values. "There's a pretty high culture of sustainability in Summit County," said Lynne Greene of HC3, a local energy auditor. "People really care about these things, but they also want to receive a return on their investment."
· Green category added to local real estate listings [Summit Daily News]