Marla Esser Cloos (aka The Green Home Coach) is the founder of Everyday Green Home, a weekly podcast where she and occasional co-host Tony Pratte, of The Sound Room, talk all things residential green. Marla is a NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, LEED AP, and Wellness Within Your Walls certified professional, who works with individual consumers, homeowners, builders, remodelers, and realtors. She is a frequent writer and speaker on the topic of sustainability. Her online shop, Everyday Green Home, offers a curated set of products for a safer, healthier, and greener life.
What you’ll learn
The Inflation Reduction Act was passed to help combat climate change, encourage electrification, and move people toward new technologies in their homes and businesses. So, what can we do to improve our existing homes, and how can we be assisted in paying for them? Guests Brett Vredevoogd from Eco Equity Real Estate and Pamela Brookstein from Elevate Energy join host Marla Esser Cloos on the podcast to talk about the Inflation Reduction Act and how certifications can help improve the homes we buy and sell.
The value of energy efficiency in low- and moderate-income housing
Brookstein believes that the Inflation Reduction Act will rectify many of the wrongs that have happened in the past. It will provide assistance for all homeowners to improve the experience they have in their homes and reap the benefits of energy efficiency, including cleaner indoor air and lower utility costs. Vredevoogd works primarily with existing homes, focusing on getting as much data as possible on the MLS database of real estate listings about the energy-efficient aspects of homes. He also educates players in the real estate industry about the value of energy efficiency.
They work together to understand how people perceive energy audits and certifications and their effect on market value. Vredevoogd has had favorable responses from sellers and buyers after they see the hidden assets of a house, features that make houses healthier and more energy efficient.
Recent efforts focus on educating appraisers broadly on the added value of green homes. Elevate has produced reports and Brookstein teaches classes on solar and high-performing homes for real estate agents. An entire module focuses on setting agents and sellers up for a good appraisal. She’s learned that presenting all the data to the appraiser up front makes more sense than contesting or appealing an appraisal later.
Pearl Certification comes with prepared letters and a Green Appraisal Addendum, geared to residential appraisals. But it has a practical, consumer-facing tone that explains efficiency assets to professionals and home buyers in comparison to comparable housing stock in a given area. Vredevoogd explained how home buyers appreciate the third-party certification as a single fact backed by a detailed, third-party report and marketing materials. Brookstein has conducted focus groups that prove the importance that buyers, agents, and appraisers attach to third-party energy-efficiency certifications and customers’ appreciation for the full range of benefits when they’re explained. Cloos pointed out Home Performance Counts, a collaborative effort of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of REALTORS, as another valuable resource for professionals and homebuyers to explain efficiency and wellness benefits.
Over the next 10 years, the Inflation reduction Act will provide tax rebates (available now!) and other programs to improve the existing housing stock. Brookstein believes that this money will help to change people’s lives and their experiences in their homes. The Rewiring America website lays out the available tax rebates and incentives. Consumers will see a strong emphasis on solar, upgrades, and electrification. Money has also been allocated for energy assessments and training energy assessors. These are in addition to state and utility funds and programs currently available.
Notably, the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce or eliminate costs for low- and moderate-income homeowners. Vredevoogd and Brookstein have found that buyers appreciate the benefits of certified energy-efficient homes:
- They are well-built.
- They are well-maintained.
- They are resilient.
- They have many high-performing assets.
- They get a good return on investment when sold.
According to Vredevoogd, it’s often valuable to be able to explain the certification in-person, along with the financial and comfort benefits. There are tools that realtors can and should use.
If you want to learn more about why green matters to you, your family, and the planet, subscribe to the Everyday Green Home podcast. Marla and her guests share tips and trends in sustainable building.
Find additional insights in Marla's book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home on Amazon.
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