Spotlighting Energy Efficiency in Client Homes

February 3, 2022
8:00 am

Energy efficiency is one of the top qualities homebuyers look for. It’s important to help your listing clients highlight these features in their homes. Here’s how to make a listing’s energy efficiency shine. 

Assess the home’s energy profile

Start with an energy assessment of the home to establish its current efficiency and determine needed improvements. Your client can hire a professional service or do a self-assessment. The U.S. Department of Energy has a how-to guide on its website. With the assessment, inventory the listing’s strengths and decide how to address deficiencies. Create a plan to showcase the energy-efficiency features in the listing material and at showings.

Improve the home’s energy efficiency 

Climate control is the largest factor in making a home energy efficient. It takes a multifaceted approach to keep the inside air comfortable. An energy-efficient house requires sufficient insulation, good seals around outside doors and windows, double-paned windows that diminish heat transference, an efficient heating and air system (HVAC) that is regularly maintained, and landscaping that shades the house. 

Simple and affordable improvements:

  • Make sure the owner changes HVAC system filters regularly, and have an HVAC professional check the system. 
  • Check the thickness of insulation in the attic and basement and add more if needed. 
  • Replace any worn-out caulk along the outside edges of windows and replace weather stripping on the sashes and around the frame of exterior doors. 
  • If the home doesn’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat.
  • If the home’s windows are more than 20 years old, suggest that your client add low-E film to the glass to improve energy efficiency.

Some improvements, such as replacing windows, upgrading the HVAC system or planting trees to shade the house, are expensive, and the homeowner is unlikely to recover the cost in the sales price of the home. Leave those to a buyer. 

Lighting changes can contribute a surprising amount of energy savings. 

Simple and affordable improvements: 

  • Switching to LED bulbs can lower lighting energy usage to as little as one-tenth that of incandescent bulbs.
  • Change wall light switches to motion-activated ones to prevent lights from being left on in unoccupied rooms. 

Appliances are big energy users. The buyer should weigh whether it is worth the investment to replace appliances that will convey with the house, such as the refrigerator, dishwasher or water heater. 

Market the listing’s energy features
  • Showcasing a home’s energy efficiency begins with your online marketing. Bullet-point the energy-efficiency profile of each system of the home: its insulation and weather stripping, the lighting, the appliances staying with the home,  and the trees or bushes that shade the home.
  •  Have flyers in the home’s presentation packet with a creative, colorful presentation showing the energy efficiency of its systems. Leave these in a prominent place for buyers to take.
  • In that same packet, have the homeowner compile a list of utility bills for each month of the year: gas, electric and even water usage.
  •  Print cleverly designed tags or stickers to place on the thermostat and appliances to highlight their energy profile.