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.