Sunday, November 27, 2005



One of my clients was in the market for an historic home. She was concerned about how her dream home would stack up against a newer building in terms of energy efficiency. I told her about how residential property owners could evaluate historic properties and obtain an ENERGY STAR Rating which could even add value to an historic home.

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

According to research, in 2004 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to
1) power 24 million homes
2) avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 20 million cars
3) all while saving 10 billion dollars.

“Sounds like everyone wins!” my client exclaimed.

And she has a point. Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. But what about my client’s historic residence?

Local certified contractors could help her plan and undertake projects to reduce energy bills while improving home comfort. In fact, the 4 TERRA TEAM regularly refers clients to qualified contractors who can inspect a home and recommend customized and cost-effective energy and comfort improvements such as Home Energy Partners who examine all home systems to assure that the residence is functioning properly. http://www.homeenergypartners.com/homeowner_home.php?loginType=homeowner

Home energy ratings involve an on-site inspection of a home by energy efficiency professional. The home energy rater inspects the home and measures its energy characteristics, such as insulation levels, window efficiency, wall-to-window ratios, the heating and cooling system efficiency, the solar orientation of the home, and the water heating system. The rater gathers data and uses software to calculate the results and then convert those results into “points”—the higher the points, the more favorable the rating.

As a starting point, whether you are interested in stewardship of historic properties or not, check out this handy home energy analysis “yardstick” to see how your home fares.

But back to my client—as part of her investigation, she made it a point to discover if a home she might be interested in had a HOME ENERGY STAR rating. Knowing that the home energy rating evaluates and measures the home’s energy characteristics, she could then easily compare the energy costs for the homes being considered. As we narrowed down the homes my client found interesting, a bright “painted lady”, a Victorian on a shady Asheville street became a contender. However, we discovered that this home had only 57 points. That meant that this home was "below average" in its home energy rating. Even though there had been quite a lot of remodeling done on this property, my buyer opted for another Victorian home that had received a rating of 85, or "efficient".

There are so many things to consider when investing in real estate or when marketing your home. The 4 TERRA TEAM at ECO-STEWARD REALTY is happy to advise and make recommendations.A home is a big investment. We are here to help make it a positive one for you.


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