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How Environmentally Conscious Homeseekers Are Going Green

Going green is all the rage; be it to reduce your carbon footprint, increase the efficiency of your home, or just be a better global citizen, Americans across the country have joined the green movement in several aspects of their lives, and their homes are no exception. 

In fact, green, energy saving features actually gives sellers an edge in the real estate market as more house hunters realize the financial and environmental benefits of green additions to houses. 

Further, some mortgage lenders offer rebates, credit, and discounts while the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offers energy-efficient financing programs through energy-efficient mortgages (EEM) which can help buyers qualify for a more expensive green home than they otherwise would have been able to. 

There are also programs to help homeowners improve the energy efficency of their home through the Weatherization Assistance Program which offers money to applicants that will cover the cost of certain improvements. This program targets those who make up to 200% of the federal poverty level and those on Social Security. 

Other lender-level programs exist such as Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy Mortgage (which is available to those purchasing a new home, or refinancing their current home), Freddie Mac’s GreenCHOICE Mortgage (which aims to reduce utility costs through energy efficient improvements for all borrowers), or other similar financing options. 

According to a new study from Assurance, Oregon was found to be the best state for green homes overall as the number of green home listings in Oregon exceeds the national average by 109%. Fifty-two percent of homes use electric heating over gas and 48% of the state’s energy consumption is renewable. 

Atlanta, Georgia has the most green home listings on Redfin––543 homes (per 100,000 units). Redfin classifies “green homes” as homes with LEED certification, Energy Star certification, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, or other green features.  

Nevada is the state with the most homes powered by solar energy (136,340 homes per 500,000 residents), and California has the most state incentive programs for renewables and efficiency (161). These programs include incentives like tax credits, grants, and rebates. 

But it is not just big lenders and the federal government that offer energy saving or weatherization programs—states, counties, and even cities can offer these programs to some extent. 

“Washington is leading the country when it comes to switching to renewable energy. Nearly 50% of Washington’s energy consumption comes from renewable sources,” Assurant said. “There are also 85 state incentive programs to encourage more residents to switch over to cleaner sources of energy. Not only will moving to Washington place you in good company, but the state will also reward you for doing your part in eliminating wasteful energy consumption.” 

“For homebuyers who are looking for a vacation home that is both luxurious and eco-friendly, sunny Florida has just what you need,” Assurant continued. “Florida has the most homes with electric heating in the country by a large margin at nearly 91%. Vacationers can enjoy fresh air inside and out, as electric heating does not create any emissions, leaving indoor and surrounding outside air free from harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide.” 

Click here to view the report in its entirety. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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