A year ago, Dave and Sandy Spencer were paying $500 a month in utility bills for a 2,700-square-foot, four-bed, three-bath home in Haile Plantation.
After semi-retiring and downsizing to an 1,800-square-foot, three-bed, two-bath home in Newberry’s Belmont subdivision, they are getting paid by Clay Electric for creating more energy than they use through the solar panels on their zero-energy home.
The Spencers are among a growing number of local homeowners buying energy-efficient homes or adding green features such as solar panels, Energy Star appliances and low-energy windows to existing homes.
Real estate professionals say their experience anecdotally is that green- and budget-conscious buyers are willing to pay more for a house with energy-efficient features. But determining what those features are worth to a home’s value has proven difficult for appraisers armed with limited data on the sales of green homes.
Recent developments will give more ammunition to the push to add energy-efficient amenities to the value of homes, advocates say.
Last year, the Appraisal Institute issued an addendum to add green features to the forms used by appraisers.
And in late March, the Gainesville Multiple Listings Service added green features to the data used by Realtors, appraisers and lenders about home listings and sales.