Foreclosed homes provide an opportunity for energy efficiency

As home foreclosures left thousands of houses empty nationwide following the recent collapse of the housing market, "eco-flippers" have taken advantage of the close-out prices on homes and turned a profit utilizing energy-efficient technologies.

In the states hardest hit by the recent economic downturn over the past decade, short sales have made it easy for home remodelers to make small but impactful investment on homes that provide big returns.

The appeal of smaller energy bills in these times of economic upheaval makes (the appeal… makes) energy-efficient homes much more attractive to prospective buyers, Peter Brown, the director at non-profit energy efficiency advocacy group Earth Advantage Institute, told Bloomberg in a recent article.

Brent Farrell, a Houston-based remodeler, has made large returns flipping houses in that market. Farrell told the source he has flipped 15 homes in the area since 2009 and that he intends to make $7 million in profits this year alone.

According to remodelers, refitting new homes with new insulation, energy-efficient appliances and overhauling temperature control systems is easier and more affordable than tearing down old homes and starting new construction in their place.

"We're putting capital to work two times as fast as a new construction home-builders because we don't have to go through new construction permitting," Aaron Fairchild, the founder of Seattle{-}based remodeler Green Canopy Homes, told Bloomberg.

Christine Fisk, a Phoenix homeowner who purchased a recently flipped eco-friendly house in Phoenix, Arizona, told the source she hadn't intended to buy a refurbished, energy-efficient home, but is very satisfied, citing a $40 electric bill, which was significantly lower than what she had anticipated.

An energy audit can help current homeowners looking to save money on their energy bills spot inefficiencies in their houses. Taking this approach can make homeownership more affordable, and could go to preventing further foreclosures. (bit lofty here, I would be hesitant to use this claim, revise)