Add another metric to calculating the remodeling return on investment: the green factor.
In what may become the home’s equivalent of a car’s mpg, momentum is building for a clear method of scoring a home’s environmental impact. When a home is placed on the market, the thinking goes, prospective buyers will be able to evaluate this score along with variables such as school district and square footage. Ideally, say proponents, the score will even become a standard feature on the multiple listing service (MLS).
“The market wants to know ‘How green is that home?’” says remodeler Michael Anschel of Otogawa-Anschel. He’s working with Minnesota GreenStar, a nonprofit, to develop a “green home rating system” that can be used nationally. In California, fueled by a decades-old ethos of energy efficiency, the state “will be moving quickly toward creating one number that everyone can relate to,” rather than the current confusing and often contradictory medley of certifications and standards, says Devon Hartman, of HartmanBaldwin Design/Build.
A system to watch is the EnergySmart Home Scale (shown), developed through a U.S. Department of Energy initiative called Builders Challenge that launched last February.
Certified third-party auditors use the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index to rate homes on a scale of 150 (poor performance) to 0 (net-zero-energy home). Work is afoot on a parallel “Homeowners Challenge” that would apply to remodeled homes.