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Green Building News

Do Home Buyers Care About Green Features?

Developer Emilia Sibley has dropped the price of this Earth Advantage home in Portland, Oregon, from $389,899 to $369,000.
Image Credit: Emilia Sibley

For Buyers, Finish Materials Still Trump Energy Performance

PORTLAND, OR — Portland, Oregon, has a reputation as a hotbed for green construction. But according to a Portland developer, few home buyers care about green features.

A recent article in The Oregonian tells the story of developers Emilia Sibley and Thomas Hand, who built a 1,900-square-foot Earth Advantage home last year at 6505 Northeast 8th Avenue in Portland. The 4-bedroom home has many green features, including spray-foam insulation and dual-flush toilets. After the house languished on the market for months, Sibley and Hand lowered their asking price by about $21,000.

Although it’s no surprise that home buyers aren’t flocking to developers’ lots during the current housing slump, many green builders hoped that energy-efficiency features might help attract buyers. According to Sibley, however, the tactic isn’t working in Portland.

“In such a green-minded city, Sibley thought, they wouldn’t have any trouble selling a house loaded with sustainable features,” The Oregonian reported. “Sibley’s Earth Advantage certified house boasts Energy Star windows and appliances, advanced insulation and air sealing, a hot water heat-exchange system, and low-flow water fixtures among other things. Estimated heating bills are about $50 a month. … Sibley, who works as a project coordinator for Portland Energy Conservation Inc., said she was surprised to learn that most potential buyers were far more interested in the home’s layout and finishes than its energy-efficient features. ‘I explain all the green stuff, but I think we need another five years for people to really get it,’ she said. ‘It’s disappointing for sure.’ ”


  1. homedesign | | #1

    It must be the Green Features
    Newbie builder builds house during a bad market....puts house on market...public does not love the price the finishes and or the layout of the house...builder reduces price of house by $21,000...home sells...
    Conclusions...Home buyers do not care about Green Features???
    Green homes do not have good layouts or nice finishes???

  2. suthengent | | #2

    radon tested house?
    Five bucks says that even if the house had radon piping installed the home was never tested after it was completed! Having passive radon piping installed in a new home doesn't guarantee a home won't have have problems with elevated levels of radon, it will just be cheaper to fix! EVERY new homebuyer should insist on the installation of radon piping (its relatively cheap during constuction) AND they should have their house tested after its completed.

    Furthermore, on new houses with crawl spaces, the membrane put down over the radon piping there needs to be SEALED "air tight" to the walls and columns. Otherwise, if a radon fan is ever added to combat high levels it will simply be sucking air OUT of the crawl space and most of the time never lowering the levels.

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