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.’ ”