Green Homes Not Available or Just Not Understood?

Where are all the energy-efficient homes in Southwest Florida?

BY October 14, 2016

In 2015, Jacopo Tollot of Naples-based Tollot & C, LLC built a home with ultimate levels of energy efficiency. The 780 Orchid Drive estate has earned a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for its energy-saving features, including super-insulated walls and windows and a solar panel that powers hot water.

There are few homes in Collier County built to the same standards, says Joe Epifanio, a real estate agent with Engel & Völkers who is listing the property for $2.78 million. While solar-powered homes can thrive on the Sunshine State’s yearlong rays, it has been difficult for energy-efficient, or green, homes to make a big splash in the area, and in the U.S. overall.

Part of the reason is the lack of information in real estate databases, says Tony Richardson, broker and owner of Green Earth Realty and Consulting in Bonita Springs. The multiple listing services for Lee, Hendry and Collier counties do not have green data fields that allow home buyers to search exclusively for energy-efficient homes, sellers to promote their special features, or appraisers to make accurate comparisons of them.

The price tag that comes along with true energy-efficient properties can also be a reason for their minimal demand. A scientifically built home, as Richardson calls it, may retail for 10 to 12 percent more than a traditionally built estate, but Richardson says it pays for itself with the amount of power it saves. 

For instance, the Orchid Drive home saves about $1,390 annually in electricity and $2,137 annually in on-site power, according to the Residential Energy Services Network Inc. Home Energy Rating Guide (HERS).

In the next few years, Richardson says builders will have to adhere to codes that will ensure homes meet mandatory energy-saving requirements, which could make energy-efficient homes more prevalent and affordable for homebuyers.


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