NEWS RELEASE - Denver Real Estate Company Unveils "Green" Window Stickers for Existing-Home Listings & Pilot Nets Top Dollar

Denver, Nov. 1, 2012:   GreenSpot Real Estate recently launched its “GreenSpot” eco-makeover program for existing-home listings, including a “window sticker” showing the property’s energy-, water-efficient and “green” features.  The 1925 home, a 2,025-square-foot bungalow in Denver’s West City Park neighborhood, sold for $390,000, a 4 – 8 percent increase over what competing brokers thought the property would bring.

Working with the homeowner, GreenSpot tuned the home for greater efficiency, including swapping light bulbs, cleaning and tuning the furnace and air-conditioner, blanketing the hot water tank, adding faucet aerators, and switching basement windows with ENERGY STAR replacements.  The company then advertised the upgrades and estimated savings in a “window sticker” similar to a new-car window sticker – 20 percent energy savings and 30 percent water for the house.

“As building codes for new construction continue to advance, we want to help our older-home listings compete,” says GreenSpot Real Estate co-owner Tracye Herrington.  “The makeover works on any home with similar results.”

A recent Zip Realty survey shows that 55 percent of homebuyers cited green features as important, and of those 89 percent named energy efficiency as number one.  So in March, Metrolist, the state’s largest multiple listing service, added fields to metro Denver’s MLS allowing the capture, advertising and tracking of energy-efficient and green features in properties.    

 “I’d like to buy one of our homes,” says GreenSpot co-owner Melissa Baldridge.  “The makeover and window sticker is one way we demonstrate we care about the owner’s experience long after they buy.”

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Tags: Baldridge, Estate, GreenSpot, Melissa, Real, building, efficiency, energy, estate, green, More…home, real

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Comment by Tom DelConte on November 3, 2012 at 11:48am

Dear Mel,

We have an expression here in the Northeast, where my family has been living for 10 generations(we only go out west to mine gold & vacations): I don't know what to tell you. This cannot be a running dialogue, because, in the year 2012, you cannot go out and come up with your own home energy efficiency branding. I mean legally, you can, because you sit in the 'field of real estate,' and you can use the legal term "mere puffery," until the local and state authorities, or a civil case shuts you down, but, as a practical matter, obviously, you can't. It's a path fraught with future complications. Agreed, sitting around the kitchen table it sounded like a great idea. The EPA, the DOE, the government labs, all of the rating organizations, eventually they're not going to be happy with you, let's face it. It'd be better to withdraw the idea now. Puffery, from Wikipedia Mere Puffery .

Right now, I write this sitting in an Exelon PECO certified EEE house, which obviously, if I only use an average 800kwh per month for a larger than average home. I constantly work on improving the home to the newer standards, while maintaining the old equipment for sustainability reasons. But you're right! My home is now "used," & it would cost big time to re-certify, & mean nothing to a market that only pays attn. to location, price, size, condition. Great luck with your New Brand, which I expect, is the true motivation.

Comment by Melissa Baldridge on November 2, 2012 at 8:56pm

Tom, thanks for the link.  It's a good one.  We are HERS raters, ENERGY STAR certifiers, LEED-accredited and NAHB National Green Building Standard Verifiers.  We know the value of these certifications and the work involved.  In order to achieve them, the homeowner has to step up, too - oftentimes significantly - and a lot of folks aren't ready or able to do that, especially if they're selling.

Our businesses are here to effect change in the nation's homes and buildings, working at the level of the real estate transaction and that valued relationship (Realtor to buyer/seller).  Let me tell you what goes through some Realtors' minds (and there are some WONDERFUL exceptions to this, btw) ...


1) "Oh great!  Another inspection.  Is this going to derail my deal?"

2) "Who's going to pay for this?"

3) "My clients are wealthy (assuming they are).  They don't care about green."

4) "How does this help get a deal done?"

5)  "Who does this benefit, anyway?" 

6) "Green doesn't pay."

7) "Another piece of paper for my deal."

8) Et cetera

We help people move into solutions THAT WORK FOR THEM, and we help Realtors see the value in better building.  And a lot of times, homeowners aren't going to pony up and spend money on a certification (and the work that merits that). OK - then what? 

Data is starting to come in from around the country, showing value in the marketplace for green certs and features in homes.  Our overarching mission is net-zero (energy), and yeah, we have a way to go (that's a life's work).  

I'd invite you to look into "step-change" management - it's hard to get people to go from zero to 60 (or NZ) overnight.  They have to do it in steps.  Tragedies like the flooding on the Atlantic coast are in-our-face reminders that, yes, Mother Nature's got something to say about our carbon emissions, and the silver lining in the misery there is that Sandy may help speed adoption for greater building efficiency. 

In the interim, we feel we have come up with a way to bridge a gap for people who aren't ready (yet) to spend the money on those bigger, more expensive steps.  And if we can (at minimum) do an overhaul like above on one of our listings, it's in better shape than it would've been otherwise.  Plus, energy-efficiency and its market value are on the radar of both buyer and seller, and hopefully the Realtors involved. 

Comment by Tom DelConte on November 2, 2012 at 2:44pm

Hello Melissa,

What am I missing? Certification is the solution to pollution, not dilution {inventing a new real estate "green label" just because you can!}.  Here are the existing programs: http://www.bhgrealestate.com/Live/Live-Green/Green-Build/Getting-Yo... . There must be one that fits your transaction, the home has to be inspected anyway. Are you telling us there is no profit in 'used building real estate' certification?

Comment by Melissa Baldridge on November 2, 2012 at 9:05am

Hi Tom, you're right - this is not a certified property.  While I love and do certifications ('am LEED AP, NAHB green-building verifier, E-STAR, HERS rater), that's often a tough sell, especially around a real estate transaction.

 

We're not certifying a property here.  What we're doing is bridging the gap between new-construction homes that ARE certified (a small segment of the real estate market) and the rest of the nation's building stock.  We're taking care of all inspection checkpoints, as any good Realtor does.  AND we're tuning the building to capture further savings. 

 

While there are some awesome Realtors out there who lay it down for green-building (a number like Laura Stukel and Jan Green dial into this site), most real estate companies don't have the expertise, the INSURANCE (errors & omissions professional liability), or frankly the inclination to do this work.  We do because our sister companies are an energy-efficiency company and a (green) contractor referral business.  Yes, I'd love to see more certifications, too.  The market reality is that, for now, that probably won't happen.  Our intention is to make every home and building we touch better - this is how we do it.

Comment by Tom DelConte on November 2, 2012 at 7:55am

This is not Energy Star, LEED for Homes, or GreenPoint Rated! Why have a home energy pro site that promotes certification & standardization, yet here we are!

Comment by Melissa Baldridge on November 1, 2012 at 10:06am

Thanks, Diane.  We got our home-inspection checklist items all done - nothing special or unique there.  'Something every good Realtor does.  THEN we teed the house up with energy- and water-efficiency upgrades.  When we were done, I was like, "I want that house!" 

Our process fills the gap for existing-home building stock.  New construction has HERS ratings, but it's a small slice of the market.

 

Comment by Diane Chojnowski on October 31, 2012 at 10:48pm

Thanks for sharing Melissa! I'd like to buy one of your homes too...Great idea!

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