Photo: Kevin Cortopassi/Flickr
Despite coming with an average price tag that’s 62 percent more expensive, homes that feature energy-efficient technology are quickly gaining in popularity among Millennials and with homebuyers in cities with large carbon “footprints.”
In fact, according to new data from the online search portal Zillow, more homes in cities with high carbon footprints are likely to feature energy saving technologies than in cities with lower carbon footprints.
The West Coast, and California in particular, had the highest percentage of listings on Zillow that contained keywords like “wind power” or “solar panel.” But while California may boast the largest percentage of energy-efficient listings, many of its cities also have significant levels of carbon emissions. Overall, just under four percent of all listings on Zillow feature energy-efficient keywords.
Zillow then compared the number of energy-efficient listings in the cities studied to each cities carbon dioxide emissions. A city’s carbon “footprint” is the average number of metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted by households annually. The average US household leaves a carbon footprint of 48.1 metric tons.
The search portal also looked at the price gap between the median price for an energy efficient home and a non-energy efficient home and found it was $114,000 at the national level.
San Jose, CA ranked as the top US city with 24.1 percent of its listings featuring energy-efficient terms. However, with a carbon footprint of 53.4 metric tons, San Jose managed to rank as the city with the fifth highest carbon footprint of the 100 studied. The $848,5000 median price of an energy-efficient home was higher than the $750,000 median price for homes that were not energy-efficient.
Sacramento, CA, Fresno, CA, Chula Vista, CA and Riverside, CA rounded out the list of the top five cities with the most energy-efficient keywords in its listings — at 14.2 percent, 14.2 percent, 12.6 percent and 12.3 percent.
The cities with the lowest carbon footprint were in the eastern US. Buffalo, NY recorded an average carbon footprint of 33.5 metric tons, the lowest of the cities studied by Zillow. Unsurprisingly, just over 2 percent of its listings featured energy-efficient terms.
The price gap between energy-efficient and non-energy-efficient homes was on par with the national figure — energy-efficient homes had a median price of $164,000 compared to the median price of $64,900 for non-energy-efficient homes.
New York City recorded an average carbon footprint of 35.7 metric tons. Though New York City’s footprint was under the national average and only slightly below the 39.6 metric tons recorded in Sacramento, only 2.7 percent of its listings featured energy-efficient keywords.
Energy-efficient homes will also cost homebuyers nearly double in New York City, with a median price of $1.3 million for an energy-efficient home compared to $750,000.
Zillow researchers were not surprised that more energy-efficient listings were found in California than anywhere else in the country. “Climate change is top-of-mind in California, and whether homeowners are reacting to environmental ethics or high energy costs, they are most likely to market energy-efficient technology when selling their homes,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.
Gudell added that between density and drought, Californians have a lot of reasons to find ways to make their homes more efficient — both for the sake of the environment and their financial bottom lines.
Click here to view the entire report.