Building a home in Birmingham? Or already own a home? Go green and ensure its future value

Christina Lowry James
Published on June 28, 2017

Building a home in Birmingham? Or already own a home? Go green and ensure its future value

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In all the excitement of choosing your lot, your appliance package, and all the other extras that go into building and buying a new home, but something important may fall through the cracks: your new home’s future resale value. Sure, it seems a bit early to be thinking of selling when you haven’t even moved into the home, but you should be thinking about just that.

Birmingham has become more conscious of going green in recent years and the benefits and someday you will sell this home. If you think about that now, as you’re customizing it to your specifications, you may just be able to protect its market value.

Let’s take a look at ways to incorporate “green” features into your new-construction home – features that buyers clamor after. But if you already own a home, these are some ideas you can use to help the resale of your home.

What the future has in store

It is not as hard as you might think to know what buyers of the future are going to be looking for as they shop for homes in the Birmingham metro area. New home builders come out with an annual list of in-demand features and, year after year, some of the same items appear on that list. Green homes are the wave of the future. 

Before you even begin to build your home, your green choices start to add up. The location of the home within the new home community can actually boost the future value of the home. You’ll want to choose a lot that will allow your home to be oriented so that it takes full advantage of the sun and avoid more of the shade from Birmingham’s trees. 

“Design the home so that frequently used rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, are on the southern side,” suggests Nick Gromicko and Ben Gromicko, of the International Association of Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). This allows the home’s occupants to enjoy the warmth of the sun in the winter. This orientation also helps you take advantage of natural light in the most commonly used rooms of you home. Even if you are not planning on installing solar panels, considering the location of your home for optimum sunlight on the roof, may be a selling point for the next owner who may choose solar energy as the technology becomes more affordable. Birmingham’s Vulcan Solar points out that currently there are federal tax credit incentives for installing solar panels, and there may be even more incentive in the future.

Keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in

Insulation is not just for the colder climates, Birmingham homeowners need to remember that stopping leaks and drafts in your new home helps keep the heat out in the summer. Air sneaks into the home in a variety of ways — in the attic, from the duct register, around recessed light fixtures, and around the plumbing vent stack. According to the Birmingham company, One Source Air, an attics can get up to 150 degrees in the summer and in Birmingham, that will mean a warmer house and harder working air conditioner.

All of this leakiness wastes energy, thus increasing costs to the homeowner. Sealing the home with the right quality and amount of insulation can stop this.

Old-style insulation was made of fiberglass, which has been linked to respiratory problems. A safer form of insulation, made from green materials, includes cellulose.

Typically manufactured from recycled newspaper, cellulose has the same benefits of fiberglass without the health problems. It’s also tougher than fiberglass, according to Michael Freeze of Popular Mechanics. Best of all? It’s inexpensive.

ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC systems can save homeowners more than $115 dollars a year on their energy bills. This is an expensive undertaking, however, in an older home with less-than-efficient insulation. The leaks will need to be sealed before installing a new system.

The beauty of buying a new home, however, is that you can insist on an energy-efficient system as the home is being built – and insist that it is installed according to EPA standards or it may end up costing you instead of saving you money.

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR-rated appliances made the top of the “Most Wanted” list compiled by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). A whopping 94 percent of home buyers chose this category as essential when shopping for new homes.

ENERGY STAR is a program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that promotes the adoption of energy-efficient products, services, and practices. To earn the ENERGY STAR certificate a product must be tested by a third party in an EPA-recognized lab.

Stock your home with energy-efficient appliances to ensure that it’s the belle of the neighborhood real estate market when you decide to sell it in the future. Not only will you increase the home’s value, but you’ll save money in the meantime.

“ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers and refrigerators are about 20 percent more energy efficient than standard models, and ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less—older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water per cycle” claims the United States Department of Energy.

Remember the NAHB’s “Most Wanted” list. ENERGY STAR certified windows proved to be essential to 89 percent of new home buyers. These windows lower energy bills by an average 12 percent, nationwide, according to the EPA.

In dollars and cents, this translates to a savings of between $125 and $379, on average, for a typical home, according to EnergyStar.gov.

In the Birmingham area, there are 2 certified ENERGY STAR Builder Partners who built a total of 32 ENERGY STAR certified homes in 2016. But if your house was not built to these standards or you are getting ready to sell, you can still get an audit on your house to test the rating of the appliances and build of the home. There are several in the Birmingham area, like Eco Three, created by two Birmingham men who wanted to bring down their utility bills.

© Christina James and BirminghamHomeAgents.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christina James and BirminghamHomeAgents.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Building a home in Birmingham? Or already own a home? Go green and ensure its future value
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