CURRENTS: Demonstrating the value of energy efficiency – the latest resources

We’ve heard from a number of local governments that the growing market-based interest in the value of energy efficiency is a huge help to building departments and energy code compliance, effective community program rollout, the spreading of sustainability best practices – and the list goes on. Several new reports and resources are showing more and more compelling data on the benefits of energy efficiency and green certifications in the market:

  • A recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders reveals that homebuyers are willing to pay more for energy-efficient homes – and also shows builders and contractors responding by prioritizing energy-efficient building and installation options.
  • A study published in the Journal of Structured Finance finds that PACE-financed homes are reselling for higher values than comparable non-PACE homes. The study’s data comes from California housing stock.
  • A report called the Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling magazine finds that energy efficiency upgrades like attic insulation are returning greater ROIs than other home upgrades (the PACE financing-focused study above also finds greater returns on energy upgrades).

It’s hard to look at these studies and not think of the energy savings that can be revealed by simply making energy consumers aware of what they are using – and empowering consumers to make informed decisions on energy use. While on the City of San Francisco’s recent study of the City’s existing commercial building energy performance ordinance found that simply disclosing the energy used to energy users resulted in savings of more than 7%. Efforts rolling out in San Diego and the Bay Area are training assessors to provide residents with home scores through the U.S. DOE’s Home Energy Score program in an effort to motivate resident-driven energy-saving upgrades. (And the City of Berkeley is tying use of the Score to implementation of its new energy ordinance.)

Given the power of connecting the value of energy efficiency and sustainability to the market, this is an area I’m going to be keeping a close eye on as Coordinator. For more resources on this, I encourage checking out green building– and benchmarking-tagged materials on EECoordinator.info.

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