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Reader Question: How Much Is Built Green Worth

By May 2, 2012

A reader wrote in asking about my thoughts on how much Built Green is worth:

I’m looking at new construction in Seattle, and at least one builder I have found is not targeting any level of built-green status… Normally, I see builders like Build Urban, Dwell, Steele, gProjects, etc. who advertise the usual perks of 4-star or 5-star Built Green status [extra insulation, HRV units, radiant heating, triple-pane windows, etc.] My question is – How much emphasis do you think a buyer should place on this when looking at new construction, and how does it affect price?

As an example, one new construction home I toured is using hydronic heating instead of radiant and has efficient double-paned Atrium windows, and presumably however much insulation is required by code, but no radiant heating, no triple pane windows, etc. How much more is Built Green status worth (in terms of long-term savings and also in terms of how much more it would cost to buy)? Is it foolish to buy new construction that doesn’t have a 4-star or 5-star built green status?

I pointed them to some previous blog posts I wrote for Redfin based on some research by Sterling Hamilton, 14% premium for green marketing and Built Green Homes on the Rise and Hold Value Better. Unfortunately that research is now at least three years old.

Anyone have some thoughts?