Valley builders lure buyers with green homes

Part of the Valley as seen from the air
Image via Wikipedia

Homebuilders in the central San Joaquin Valley are trying something counterintuitive in this tough real estate market: adding expensive features to their homes.

The idea is to lure buyers with energy-efficient features that can save hundreds of dollars each month on utility bills.

While some homebuilders pick up the extra costs, a “green” home can cost up to 20% more than a conventional new home. But buyers can save money over the long run, and an increasing number are willing to make the investment, building experts said.

Energy-saving features include tankless water heaters, which don’t waste energy by keeping hot water in a storage tank; tighter duct insulation and 2-by-6-inch framing, which provides thicker walls for better insulation than the typical 2-by-4 frame.

Add a solar-panel system, and the home’s energy-efficiency increases substantially, lowering the electric bill. By themselves, none of these green features are new, but builders are packaging them together to maximize energy savings.