Buyers still yet to realize cost benefits of energy-efficient homes

Realtors across the nation are struggling to help prospective homebuyers realize the advantages of purchasing energy-efficient homes, despite years of familiarity with green technology.

Paul Stone, a real estate expert in Connecticut, said that most green homes in his market cost about $800 per year to cool and heat. This represents a significant value, considering that Stone typically sees energy-efficient homes sell for about $400,000. Of course, energy-efficient aspects of green homes can reduce long-term maintenance costs, which offsets the higher upfront payment.

Still, some green homes in the Griswold, Connecticut, area are selling for much cheaper. One, which was named the "House of the Year" by the Builders Association of Eastern Connecticut, recently sold for $220,000. Its features include super-insulated walls, water-saving toilets and bamboo flooring.

"We wanted to prove that sustainable homes aren't limited to the high end," Andrew Gil, whose Mystic River Building Company constructed the home, told The New York Times. "For entry-level housing, it is more than doable."

Considering that the median price for homes sold in Griswold from August 2011 through October was $99,000, according to, some real estate agents may struggle to convince homebuyers that the extra short-term cost of a home with green technology is worth it.

An experienced home inspection service can also help prospective sellers who want to make energy improvements to their home before putting them on the market. With the real estate market still performing so poorly for sellers, current homeowners planning to move should do whatever they can to boost the value of their home. A Washington, D.C. home inspector can suggest cost-effective energy improvements that will help potential buyers realize long-term cost benefits stimulated by lower energy bills.