A Greener Resale Market?

High performance upgrades could become mandatory for Bay Area seeking to remodel or sell their homes.

San Francisco Bay Area homeowners making home improvements with an eye toward resale may soon be investing in more than paint and new tile, to the tune of thousands of additional dollars. Updated energy efficiency laws proposed by city officials in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland could require home buyers or sellers to reduce their carbon footprints at the time a house is sold or remodeled by upgrading appliances, windows, and HVAC systems to meet more stringent performance standards. The revised Residential Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECOs) would apply to both single family and multifamily homes, and could begin to take effect as early as next year, the San Francisco Business Times reports.

High Performance Fever Cools

Annual survey suggests homebuyers are dropping off the energy efficiency bandwagon.

Homebuyers who were hot to purchase high performance homes in 2006 are looking a bit less enthusiastic these days in light of the housing slump, credit tightening, and a decline in consumer confidence. Only 69 percent of consumers today say that energy efficiency is a deciding factor in choosing one home over another, down from 86 percent making that declaration last year. That's according to the latest Energy Pulse, an annual nationwide telephone survey conducted by the Knoxville, Tenn.-based marketing firm The Shelton Group. For the full report, visit www.energypulse.org

Building on Neutral Territory

Web-based tool allows building designers to assess a project's carbon footprint before breaking ground.

Builders, developers, and architects intent on creating buildings that tread lightly on the earth have a new tool at their disposal. The latest version of Green Building Studio's web-based application (V3.0) helps facilitate an array of green feasibility studies for on-the-boards work, including the potential for photovoltaic and wind energy generation, rain capture, natural ventilation, and energy savings through daylighting and solar orientation. Now in beta testing, the upgraded service also includes a carbon calculator that assesses a building's potential for carbon neutral status using local grid emission data. For details, visit www.greenbuildingstudio.com

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA.