Real Estate Realities
Going Green Helps Improve Home's Value
By David Rosenfeld
Feb 9, 2013 - 1:19:24 PM

LOS ANGELES—It sounds funny, but it’s not easy going green, with apologies to Kermit the Frog.  Using environmentally-friendly technologies and practices can be expensive and sometimes difficult to adapt to your home.


Since many of these technologies are still relatively new, they can be costly. But with some research and hard work, you can make use of them and improve the overall value of your home and reduce your utility cost. But it’s not simply a matter of increasing property values, it’s about improving our lives and that of those around us by supporting environmental issues and awareness of the value of going green.

By supporting clean technologies we are doing our part in adding more jobs and steering us away from fossil fuels that damage our environment and pollute our air and water.

But do your research before you commit yourself to adding solar panels, investing in an low-water irrigation system, or adding skylights or installing other equipment. Solar panels are quite expensive, for the most part, so do the math and consult with an expert to determine just how much it will cost versus the benefit  it will provide in terms of saving energy and adding value to your home.

According to industry sources, the average cost of a home solar power system ranges between $15,000 and $40,000, but the good news is that the price is dropping, thanks to recent national policies removing barriers to deploying the technologies more widely.

A recent check of some companies, solar power systems can be bought and installed for just under $10,000, so do your homework to see if it’s right for you and your family.

The upside, besides the improved value of your property, is that once you begin using this clean energy, by law, you’ll be able to sell power that you don’t use to your local utility, not to mention allow you to receive valuable rebates from your local government that would net you thousands of dollars.

You can also look into installing skylights to improve the use of natural light, thus reducing your electricity costs. Moreover, getting rid of older appliances for newer, energy-efficient machines will also reduce your energy use, but may also provide some benefit from local government in the form energy credits or rebate.

These days, many homebuyers have become more aware of energy-efficient homes and see them as more attractive than those that are not. Whether its greater social consciousness on the part of many of us, homebuyers see going green as the way to go these days.

As it is, a home solar power system will likely pay for itself in as little as six years, depending on its size and cost. Ultimately, it will be up to you whether you want to bear the cost of going green, but it’s definitely something to consider as new technologies continue to grow and become more affordable.

David Rosenfeld is a Real Estate broker and president of Advantage Real Estate, a Real Estate and investment firm in Santa Monica, and a Rotary Club member. He has more than 20 years experience in commercial and residential property investments and financial counseling. He can be reached at 310 450-4488 and at

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