Making the Value Visible: A Blueprint for Transforming the High-Performing Homes Market
Home buyer demand for high-performing homes – homes that are comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient and/or generate and store energy – has grown steadily for decades. Over two million homes have been built to high-performing standards over the past ten years, and millions more have high-performing features, such as insulation and air sealing, efficient heating and cooling systems, and solar panels. Survey after survey shows that buyers want these homes because they value the benefits of a high-performing home: comfort, healthy indoor air, low energy bills, and their own power.
However, buyers have a hard time finding the homes they want. When high-performing homes are sold, they are rarely marketed as such. Buyers have few ways to search for high-performing homes in the multiple listing service or on online portals like Zillow, Redfin, or Realtor.com, and the methods that do exist are typically cumbersome and non-intuitive. When they walk through a high-performing home, they may never learn about its “invisible” technical features, such as its air sealing, highly efficient cooling system, or “performance testing.”
If buyers had a clear understanding of the benefits and features of high-performing homes, available evidence suggests that they would pay more for them. This would launch a cycle of market transformation (visualized below) in which homeowners upgrade their homes not only because these improvements make their homes more livable and less expensive to operate, but also because they can reasonably expect to capture the value of these improvements when they sell the home, similar to expectations of resale value for other types of home improvements. This paper provides high-performing home professionals – managers of clean energy programs – with a blueprint for setting this cycle of market transformation in motion.
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