lake norman real estate

Remodeling or Buying a Lake Norman Home? Granite is Great, But Think Energy Efficiency!

Lake Norman Green Homes

Like it or not, most homeowners and home buyers, whether in Lake Norman or elsewhere in the U.S. think of a house as an investment, not just a home.  In the short term, I counsel prospective sellers to make their properties move-in ready since most buyers these days are not willing to do much in the way of remodeling or even painting of their new home.

There is no doubt, however, that the future of housing construction, once it is back in full force, will focus on energy efficiency, sustainable resources and other “green” components of a home.  Other cities in the country, from Portland Oregon to Austin Texas to Asheville NC, are way ahead of Lake Norman in their focus and incorporation of energy efficiency and construction of “high performance” homes.  It only stands to reason that the Lake Norman real estate market and Lake Norman home builders will be greatly impacted in the future by these growing global housing trends.

So why not get yourself one step ahead of the game as we wait for the economy to improve?  Here are some great thoughts and statistics from a recent article on the Green Building Advisor website:

  • Investing in energy efficiency upgrades in your home should be included in your investment portfolio and future planning
  • The average annual increase in energy prices (of all kinds) has been 6.33%
  • The Consumer Price Index has only risen at an annual rate of 1.54% (Used to determine annual Social Security increases)
  • Energy prices increase faster than Social Security payouts
  • Drastically reducing energy demand can be an important hedge

Ted Clifton, the author of this article, focuses on what are called “net zero” homes which, while rare  right now, are certainly the future of housing.

So what if you are not in a position to build or improve your home to the level of Net Zero or better?  Why not, over time, start incorporating energy efficiency into your Lake Norman home or while looking to buy a home in the Lake Norman area, look for homes that already have some energy efficiency measures, do energy testing along with your home inspections, and look at future opportunities readily available to upgrade the home.

Here are some ideas:

  • Trade your granite countertops for a better “envelope” and solar panels
  • Consider sealing your crawlspace and attic
  • Install good quality, Low-E windows
  • When you replace your HVAC system, look for higher SEER systems and have your ducting evaluated for efficiency and flaws
  • Have a Blower Door test and Thermal testing to find leaks in your existing home that can be sealed to prevent wasted heat and AC
  • Have a Home Energy Rater (HERS) determine your current HERS score to see how you rate compared to today’s standard home.  (HERS ratings can be put on any MLS listing in the Charlotte MLS and is a national standard that out-of-state buyers may be using to evaluate their Lake Norman homes).
  • Install solar or tankless water heaters

Energy efficiency upgrades are almost a no-loose proposition.  Not only will you enjoy lower energy bills but you are also making your home more competitive with the future housing market when it comes time to sell.  Don’t forget there are some great tax incentives for many of these products as well!

(Just as an aside, next week I will be attending a number of classes about “green housing” and meeting with numerous vendors  at the 21st Century Building Expo and Conference held in Charlotte by the North Carolina Home Builders Association as part of my responsibilities of being a “Certified Green Professional”  which is an accreditation earned through the National Association of Home Builders.  So, more to follow!).

Other Articles of Interest

EPA Launches Indoor AirPLUS to increase focus on indoor air Quality

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  Think Green Recycle

Lake Norman Real Estate:  How to Harvest the Rain!

Lake Norman and Charlotte Remain At The Top of Places to Live in US

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

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