A new study from The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) found that new homes built to a LEED standard for energy-efficiency are worth more in resale value than homes without green features.

“The Value of LEED Homes in the Texas Real Estate Market: A Statistical Analysis of Resale Premiums for Green Certification,” study, released today, looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes including LEED-certified homes built in the Austin-Round Rock metro between 2008 (when the program was created) and 2016 and found that these homes are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes.

That's an 8% premium in resale value for the average new Austin home, which sells for $311,000. Homes built to a wider range of green standards such as Energy Star saw a 6% increase in value.

"We never knew for a fact that LEED homes were going to sell for higher resale values, but we assumed. Apartment complexes and industrial projects sell for higher rates of return if they're part of a LEED program, so building residential homes to LEED standards just seemed like the right idea," says Scott Frankel, co-president and principal at Frankel Building Group. The custom home building firm in Houston builds all of their homes to qualify for LEED certifications.

LEED-certified homes use about 20-30% less energy than a home built to standard code, on average, saving homeowners money overtime on utility bills. Some homes report up to 60% energy savings, which lowers energy costs.

“As developers and buyers continue to see the value in LEED, we expect the number of LEED-certified homes to increase in the Texas market,” said Taryn Holowka, senior vice president, USGBC in a news release. “Homes that are built to meet green standards deliver more value to the seller and also ensure that buyers will have a high-value sale down the road and reap the benefit of lower utility bills while living in the home.”

However, though LEED homes have benefits for the overall environment and homeowners' wallets, Frankel says that buyers can have a hard time seeing the appeal at first.

"When you're a builder, you follow the demand, but there isn't a lot of buyer demand up front for green homes," he says. "The biggest resistance we’ve gotten over the years is that people don't think LEED matters. What ends up happening is that people come in and act like they don’t care about it, but by the very end it's something they are excited about."

USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact report found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5%. Currently, there are more than 6,890 homes certified or pursuing LEED-certification in Texas.

As the program grows, more builders are sure to get on board with green building. Frankel encourages builders who have no yet adopted the standard to jump full force into the sector.

"Builders tend to rely on things they already know, so they should challenge themselves and immerse themselves in green building. Buyers will not only be excited that you're doing it, but will start coming to you saying it's something they want to do with their home," he says. "Buyers should be demanding green features for their home, and demanding it of their builder. This should be the most simple expectation [buyers] should have of a build."