Study: Home buyers don’t pay more for energy efficient homes


Energy efficiency labeling for homes has little effect on purchase price

Labeling doesn’t appear to convince home buyers to pay more for energy efficient homes.

Most buyers aren’t thinking about energy performance certification when they’re house shopping. That’s the conclusion of a team of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) after they conducted a thorough assessment of how the labels affected home pricing.

“Energy labeling has zero effect on the price. The scheme doesn’t seem to be achieving its intended purpose,” says Professor Olaf Olaussen at the NTNU Business School.

The Norwegian energy labeling system for homes and dwellings was implemented in 2010. One of the arguments for the system was that a good energy performance rating would be an advantage for the seller as well.

Energy performance is rated from A to G. It’s intended as a tip for buyers so that they know just how much energy a home requires. With energy-efficient housing, you can save a lot of money over the years and thus, you may be willing to pay more for the property. The EU uses the same system.

But most buyers don’t give a hoot.

Other studies showed a benefit

“We found that some European studies, especially a Dutch one, showed that the energy labeling made a big difference to the price, but it seemed strange,” says Olaussen.

These studies had weaknesses. They only showed the impact after energy labeling was introduced, not before, and usually only relied on data from a single year.

Olaussen and his colleagues Are Oust and Jan Tore Solstad believed that a price premium might be due to something other than a high energy performance rating. They set out to test this.

In Norway, energy labeling was not implemented gradually. It was launched in full in July 2010. Norwegian data on the prices of most home sales are easy to access. This makes it relatively easy – albeit time consuming – to compare price developments both before and after energy labelling was introduced.

The Norwegian researchers did find an apparent effect of the energy labeling system when they used the same method as the Dutch study. But this effect disappeared when they used a more thorough procedure.

Same advantage before and after

Instead, the researchers took the home sales figures from 2000 to July 2010 and from July 2010 to 2014, which gave a picture of how prices for houses developed over the long term. They also compared houses with similar characteristics, such as homes in the same area and of the same type.

“We found that the homes that had a price premium after energy labeling was introduced had that advantage before it, too,” says Olaussen.

The advantage had to come from something else. Perhaps, homes with better energy performance were generally of higher quality. Or maybe something else was a factor.

What may be more important than whether your home has an energy rating of A or G is whether it is in a child-friendly area, or near shops, or has ocean views or other things that buyers are willing to pay a premium for.

Quick bidding rounds may play a role

“I don’t think most people care about the energy rating when they buy a home. Other factors play a role, especially in a market like ours [in Norway], with fast bidding rounds. Then you’re not thinking about whether ‘this property has an A-rating and I can afford a little more’,” says Olaussen.

Simply stated, Norway’s home sales system works like this: potential buyers go to a house showing, and sign a list with their names and mobile phone numbers if they are interested in participating in the bidding for the house. Once the bidding process begins, it can be fast and furious, especially if there are many bidders eager to buy a single property.

This kind of bidding on housing isn’t common in very many other countries. You find it mostly in Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and to some extent in Scotland and Ireland.

In other countries, you usually work from a fixed price, with a little bit of wiggle room. You often have much more time when buying. Maybe energy labelling would have greater significance in that scenario. But new studies from Europe aren’t indicating that. They match the results from NTNU.

Researchers at the NTNU Business School are now studying whether variations in the price of electricity affect how the energy rating impacts house sales.

Measures that may work

But if the energy label doesn’t matter for sales, how are you going to get people to make their homes more energy efficient?

“You can require energy labeling for home sales. You can give other financial benefits for upgrading homes. You can actively use available support schemes and create different incentives,” says Olaussen.

Norwegians can apply for financial support from a government funded entity called Enova if they want to make their home more energy efficient.

And you can still upgrade your home for other reasons, such as a desire to be more environmentally friendly or to save electricity. But you definitely don’t want to invest your money here if you simply want to sell your home for a higher price.


Reference: Olaussen, Jon Olaf; Oust, Are; Solstad, Jan Tore. (2017) Energy performance certificates- Informing the informed or the indifferent? Energy Policy. Vol. 111.


  • We study house prices before and after introduction of energy performance certification.
  • Houses with better energy certification are sold for higher price.
  • However, these houses were sold for higher price even before the certification existed.
  • We find no price premium associated with energy performance certificates.
  • Recommend to reevaluate the energy performance certification system for buildings.
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October 31, 2017 8:02 am

The son of a friend just bought an energy efficient house. He got it for a song because its various systems were so complicated that most buyers were frightened off.

F. Leghorn
Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2017 8:10 am

I want one of those. Especially if it really is cheaper to heat and cool. Which particular fantasy land do I need to move to? (Please don’t say “MyLittlePonyLand because I hate the color pink)

Ben of Houston
Reply to  F. Leghorn
October 31, 2017 9:05 am

Squiggy, it’s called Equestria. You don’t want to go there. It’s a bit of a nightmare land once you get past the singing equines and rainbow magic.

I would suggest Oz instead. Perennially warm weather there.

Reply to  F. Leghorn
October 31, 2017 12:11 pm

“I want one of those. Especially if it really is cheaper to heat and cool.”

Here in the Great Lake area, properly site a home with overhangs to control sun load for summer, and a boiler with radiant heat for the winter. Throw on some PV around and you’re good to go.

Reply to  F. Leghorn
October 31, 2017 3:55 pm

PV, in the Great Lakes area??
Low sun angle in the summer, covered by snow in the winter.
Your payback period is going to exceed the life expectancy of the house it’s built on.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  F. Leghorn
October 31, 2017 6:13 pm

“Ben of Houston October 31, 2017 at 9:05 am

I would suggest Oz instead. Perennially warm weather there.”

Not for the last few days it hasn’t been. It’s been more like winter, very cold and windy. I even had to wear a jacket.

Reply to  F. Leghorn
November 1, 2017 10:17 am

Mark: “PV, in the Great Lakes area??…Low sun angle in the summer, covered by snow in the winter…Your payback period is going to exceed the life expectancy of the house it’s built on.”

Mark, I used PVWatts to sweep the angle for maximum output. I used SMA Solar’s Sunnny Design Web for system design and sensitivity study. We settled on 30 degrees (7/12 pitch) and built a ground mount from pressure treated lumber. Rafter spacing was set to the panel spacing, and tied span wise by purlins. The posts and foundation are the same as pole building or deck construction. Short lengths of aluminum C channel was used for panel mounting brackets. Stainless screws and butyl membrane isolate mounts from the PT lumber.

All told it was right around $9,100 before my fellow taxpayers kicked in their 30%. That price is including permits, quality inverter, premium mono panels, and upsized wire for the atypical +350 foot DC run from the array to the inverter. (Not included was tool rental for drilling the post holes.) After the rebate and using our rate of $0.15KW/hr, that equates to ~42,500 KW/hrs of production. At our average usage of 700KW/hrs per month, that’s 61 months (~5 years) until break even. The snow clears (and wipes clean) the panels on the first sunny day after a snow. We’ve been operational for 11 months now and have 2,200KW/hrs banked which should more than offset another weak January.

Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2017 8:21 am

I’m considering building an energy efficient house back home in Scotland when I retire in 4 years or so.

But it is hugely complicated. If you want to retain heat, the house has to be pretty well air tight. So you must have mechanical ventilation, which in return requires heat exchangers so you don’t just vent all your heat out and draw in cold fresh air.

Then, do you invest in a ground/air source heat pump which can cost upwards of £20K so bills are kept to a minimum; then do you power that from solar and/or wind along with grid connection. The solar panels will be another £10K and the turbine…….well I shudder to think.

The land will cost £100K and the building itself, probably around £300K for a turnkey, modest, fully fitted 4 bedroomed house. All in all, probably getting on for £500K.

I can buy any number of walk in, 4 bedroomed houses for £200K – £250K which will appreciate in value at the market rate whilst the energy efficient house may in fact drop substantially in value the moment it’s finished because it is, after all, a 4 bedroomed house.

I think I’ll be save myself a quarter of a million quid and buy some jumpers.

Roger Knights
Reply to  HotScot
October 31, 2017 11:43 am

“Jumpers” in the UK = sweaters.

Roger Knights
Reply to  HotScot
October 31, 2017 11:45 am

“Jumper” in the US = “a collarless sleeveless dress typically worn over a blouse.”

Reply to  HotScot
October 31, 2017 3:56 pm

Or something to start your car when the battery is dead.

Gerry, England
Reply to  HotScot
October 31, 2017 4:43 pm

The electricity costs for a heat pump can be huge and will only get worse in the coming years. Take this story, a smart ground source heat pump salesman was going round selling on the basis that oil charges were only ever going to go up (same as the government energy morons do) and sold a pump to a neighbour. Mr unconvinced stuck to his guns and said not today thanks. Who is the happy bunny? Well since that time heating oil cost has halved. Same can’t be said for neighbours electricity bill which had over doubled to £2000.

Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2017 1:05 am


Dear God, that’s outrageous.

Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2017 1:09 am


mind you, I am aware that GSHP’s are not recommended for existing builds. Because of the lower water temperatures they produce they are not suitable for radiators, only really underfloor heating, and in a building approaching Passiv Haus specifications. That’s very probably the reason your neighbours bills are so high, the blooming thing is probably never off.

Reply to  HotScot
November 1, 2017 11:57 am

Jumpers on the Canadian prairies = white-tailed deer

Reply to  R2Dtoo
November 1, 2017 12:20 pm

A jumper is also someone threatening to commit suicide from a high place, or someone who has just done so.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  HotScot
November 2, 2017 11:36 am

Air Source Heat Pumps can make sense if electric rates aren’t too high. The real downside to them is that they don’t work when the outside temperature goes much below freezing. I use one in a duel fuel system. When the temperature permits, the heat pump is used, and when it’s too cold for that, the propane burner kicks in. If I had access to natural gas, I would have gone that route instead. As it is, the heat pump has already paid for itself in savings over just three winters. And it makes a good air conditioning compressor in the Summer. The SEER rating is over 20.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
November 2, 2017 12:31 pm


Interesting personal experience, I had looked into ASHP’s but rejected them because they aren’t good in the winter, just when you need them. Much obliged.

Whilst researching the subject of GSHP’s I came across this from the British Geological Survey: “About half of the solar radiation received by the Earth is absorbed at the surface. As a result, the ground temperature shows seasonal fluctuations to depths of about 15M where the temperature is approximately equal to the mean annual air temperature (8 – 11° C in the UK). ”

So for them to be efficient one has to go pretty deep and 15M trenches for the pipework is, frankly, unrealistic for a single house, unless it’s a vertical installation in a borehole which I believe is very expensive.

I’m toying with the idea of a Rocket Mass Heater which burns wood and it’s so efficient the exhaust isn’t much more than CO2 and H2O.

There are variations which don’t involve an old Oil drum in your living room and can heat water for full house heating and hot water.

Reply to  HotScot
November 5, 2017 3:05 am

5k for decent solar, forget the heat pump, current buidling regs are for 10cm insulation and slow scale air leakage. Yes ,if you go down the passivehaus route you will spend a fortune, but using common sense you can make a pretty low energy house for only 20-30k on top of normal build cost.

I do agree you probably will not see gains in value, but if it is to be your house till the end of your days and the end is at least a decade or 2 away it makes prefect sense to go beyond building regs with insulation/glazing air tightness, heat recovery pumps are only a few hundred quid, ducting is cheap etc etc you personally will save the money, solar now pays for itself in less than 5 years, even in Scotland

Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2017 8:54 am

There are certainly other factors which most people would value way ahead of energy efficiency but, all else equal (that’s a big IF) you would think people would be impressed by a high rating.

But here in UK there are a couple of reasons why the grading system doesn’t work. The first is that the inspectors who you have to pay to grade your house are not the experts you would think, and some are just about clueless, They have a formula for marking a house which is very inflexible and misleading. Stories soon began to emerge of completely crazy ratings, and people began to mistrust the system, with very good reason. A second reason is that features such as Solar panels are not as effective as promised and often carry contractual obligations going on decades which are a burden to the incoming householder. And as HotScot says, some of the insulation features (which DO work) have downsides regarding ventilation, condensation and sound abatement which are not to everyone’s taste.

Another way to look at it is that houses are so expensive here that anyone with enough money to buy one probably also has enough money to pay the heating bills!

October 31, 2017 8:05 am

Really? Looking at our utility bills it would be a major factor in budgeting.

Bruce Cobb
October 31, 2017 8:11 am

Wait. What? Don’t these home buyers want to help save the planet? What is wrong with these people? Shame on them! Clearly, they require further climate communication.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 31, 2017 10:06 am

Dam planet killers we should have them charged with crimes against humanity ./sarc

October 31, 2017 8:11 am

It certainly has never been on my house-buying “must have” lists, which are things like location, not in a flood risk area, no major road nearby, large garden, privacy etc.

October 31, 2017 8:16 am

So they run a study…in Norway, etc…..when there’s a huge housing shortage and inflation
…and think that means something

Reply to  Latitude
October 31, 2017 10:15 am

It is what it is … one market and Australian market is much the same. If you want to counter the argument find a flat sluggish market where people are flocking to buy energy efficient homes.

The study also leaves out investor versus owner occupier and in many markets investors make up a large percentage of sales and they may not care about energy efficient homes. Usually for that group it’s a simple cost versus returns equation.

October 31, 2017 8:19 am

You can add insulation in the attic, install new light bulbs, change out single pane windows, upgrade the water heater, upgrade the heater…cant change the view, the orientation on the lot, location, traffic, noise, how close the neighbors are, proximity to shops, change school districts.

October 31, 2017 8:31 am

The results of this study could be due to the peculiarities of the Norwegian real estate sales practices. I am sort of familiar with California, where it takes at least a month to get through the paperwork of inspections, title insurance, and mortgage approvals. Having a fair idea of what it would cost to run a house (electric v. natural gas v. propane heating, and air conditioning costs) would enter into how much a certain property is worth.

Brian McCain
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 31, 2017 8:51 am

One of the other things to consider at least in the US is how the appraisal comes in. Energy efficiency is never taken into account for that. The reflective roof insulation and high efficiency HVAC systems I had in my house in Texas cut my energy costs by like 30% over my neighbors but certainly didn’t help sell my house. I held it for 6 years, had tried to sell it on multiple occasions over a 4 year span and ended up selling it for 3% over what I bought it for (and $30k less than what it was listed for when we bought it). Least I didn’t have to bring a $20k check to closing like one of my friends.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Brian McCain
October 31, 2017 9:16 am

It sounds like you were trying to sell your house during the recent housing market crash. No one anywhere was able to do any better until about 2015-2016.

Also, the appraisal doesn’t happen until after you have an offer. Since you got an offer for greater than your purchase price, someone was impressed with your house’s features. I know realtors always tout homes with energy saving systems in my area.


Reply to  Brian McCain
October 31, 2017 9:39 am

3% over 6 years is a loss on the sale. Inflation was at or near 3% in each of those years.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Brian McCain
October 31, 2017 10:01 am

MarkW, to sell a home without a loss in value was above average for that time period.


Harry S
Reply to  Brian McCain
October 31, 2017 3:31 pm

The suggested price of a home in Texas is still calculated based on square footage and comparative value of recently sold homes in the vicinity. Energy efficiency has little to do with it in part because it is so difficult to value: some works and much of it doesn’t and still other systems will be an expense on move in.
There are lots of laughs in our house about energy efficiency. New home builders advertise their homes as energy efficient, but they are 3400 sq ft designed for two to four people, with multiple water heaters, dishwashers, giant refrigerators and freezer units, wine fridge, whole house HVAC, enough lighting to play a night game of football, electronic security, TV’s in three or four rooms with interconnected sound systems, walk in dual head showers with associated spa tub, bathrooms the size of the entire house I grew up in with vanity lighting that imparts a light facial tan in the time it takes to apply makeup, LED highlight lighting around kickboards, yard lighting that fries mosquitoes less than 10 meters from the house, and sprinkler systems that are the envy of golf course groundskeepers. It’s a joke.

Stephen Singer
October 31, 2017 8:32 am

The house introducing this story looks like Anthoy’s house pic from several years ago.

October 31, 2017 8:32 am

Exactly how are the “energy efficiencies” presented? That would seem to be of prime importance. A scale from A to G means little. A geothermal system amy or may not perform well, and repairs can be a problem my research has shown.

October 31, 2017 8:35 am

I’m sure AlGore bought a G for “Gore”. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people telling me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis.

October 31, 2017 8:35 am

The next thing is, they’ll say the market ‘isn’t working’ and slap a sales tax on less energy efficient homes. So even those of us who don’t want to jump will be walked to the cliff edge…

Reply to  richardw
October 31, 2017 9:41 am

Energy is already heavily taxed. Sometimes it is transparent often it not.

Reply to  richardw
October 31, 2017 10:27 am

That was muted in thinktanks in Australia but it adversely hits the poor who as a general ruled are in cheaper built less energy efficient house. ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service) did a study into it in 2013

You can see the 5 policy recommendations at the bottom all which had cost and political fallout.
It was subsequently buried to never be seen again.

Roger Knights
Reply to  LdB
October 31, 2017 11:50 am

“That was muted mooted in thinktanks in Australia”

[Well, they didn’t let them say much either. 8<) .mod]

Cloud 9
Reply to  LdB
November 1, 2017 9:01 am

Interesting link to another bit of wishful thinking from a government department. Thanks LdB. In my limited experience, the authors are way off base. They obviously haven’t spoken to those in the industry who do the installations and who might hold different interpretations than their government masters.
Energy efficiency in building and home products is a constantly changing conundrum open to interpretation and influence from silver-tongued sales reps and influence peddlers. It’s an industry that requires extensive monitoring if it is to receive appropriate government subsidies and this requires significant knowledge from those doing the monitoring and that’s never the case in my experience.
Several examples (I’m in the northern hemisphere):
– Homeowners in my area receive huge rebates for photovoltaic (PV) installations. PV companies are installing systems in shade, on roofs requiring replacement, and on roof sections facing north. It’s not about performance, but all about chasing the subsidies for the sale. The local authorities responsible for handing out the subsidies used to approve of each installation and question the dubious proposals, but that was slow and holding back the industry. It’s more convenient to simply keep track of forthcoming installations and simply hand out the rebates without argument.
– Solar water heaters can be a huge scam. There are lots of good ones out there, but they need to be selected based on suitability for the region and there is no one in the division handing out rebates who will make the decision on good and bad. They’ll hand out rebates to any certified system. Doesn’t matter if the failure of a $15 component will render the system useless within a year or if the system has a slow leak and costs the homeowner thousands within the space of a few years, or if the system will freeze and be inoperable the following winter. In many cases, the homeowners are clueless as to whether the system is working or not. There’s no followup as to whether the taxpayers/ratepayers are receiving value for money.
– Modern heavily applied insulation, particularly applied at the rafters. Great for some homes, but an incident waiting to happen on others. All roofs will leak eventually. The insulation at rafter levels can collect, divert and pool water where it remains undetected for a long periods of time and rots and swells and develops mold in any wood that it contacts. On non or lightly insulated homes, leaks become apparent quickly and are usually fixed easily at little cost. The expense of water remediation in a heavily insulated home can be horrendous. And as they’ve found out in Great Britain, making a house “tight” that wasn’t designed to be “tight” introduces an entirely new dimension to moisture retention.
– HVAC. In order to get high efficiency, the copper coils are so thin that it’s almost guaranteed they’ll require replacement within several months of the warranty expiration.
From a landlord’s point of view, why bother with the high maintenance and monitoring expenses required with many systems associated with high levels of energy efficiency? If those who wrote the ACOSS report did their research, they’d come to the same conclusions. Energy efficiency is NOT cheap.

Stevan Reddish
October 31, 2017 8:50 am

“We found that the homes that had a price premium after energy labeling was introduced had that advantage before it, too,”

Perhaps buyers were aware of energy saving features even before those labels were added. Nanny governments seem to think people only know what they are told to know.


Reply to  Stevan Reddish
October 31, 2017 10:30 am

That’s a big thing. A recently built up to code house sells for recently built up to code prices. A ramshackle shack sells for ramshackle shack prices. The fact that one is more efficient than the other is self-apparent.

October 31, 2017 9:09 am

“Simply stated, Norway’s home sales system works like this: potential buyers go to a house showing, and sign a list with their names and mobile phone numbers if they are interested in participating in the bidding for the house. Once the bidding process begins, it can be fast and furious, especially if there are many bidders eager to buy a single property.”

They’re drinking, smoking or injecting something is they expect house buyers in housing shortage markets to focus on trivialities.

Instead, as it almost always is, location is the primary cost factor coupled with size of the dwelling.

Major house repairs will factor into selling prices; e.g. roof, foundation, structural supports, etc.

Internal house components; e.g. bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, etc., their modernity and fashionable design accessories fit into pricing; but usually at severe discounts to cost of installment.

I assume that “energy efficiency” stuff fits in the bottom of the internal house components. Especially since most house appliances have carried or have easily available “energy efficiency” ratings for several decades. House appliance energy efficiency improvements follow a minor incremental improvements track over the last two-three decades.
Sadly, many appliance incremental improvements are at the cost of reduced performance or offloading energy consuming functions to other household appliances.

Nor can I believe many potential homeowners are enthused about equipment that stops operating when the sun sets.
Or that home buyers want to pay for appliances with built in redundancy. Costs for that redundancy likely outweigh benefits.

The few times I house shopped in a rushed real estate market, there were more housing speculators buying houses than home owners.
Speculators looking to flip a house within a short period of time are focused on potential profit, not cost of home ownership.

October 31, 2017 9:11 am

The only missing explanatory variables are the other ratepayers, the other taxpayers, and the extra discounted value of government debt used to drive the system. And lost jobs from noncompetitive rates at goods producers in the rate base also factors in. Other than that it sounds good.

GREG in Houston
October 31, 2017 9:26 am

I suspect here in Houston that all else being equal (price, location, size, etc.), an energy efficient house might move quicker than one that is not….

October 31, 2017 9:34 am

If your monthly payments are going to be $2000/month, you aren’t all that concerned whether your energy savings are $10/month less.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  MarkW
October 31, 2017 11:00 am

I was thinking along those lines. My combined gas and electric bills are in the neighborhood of ±$2,000/yr. My house is probably about average for energy consumption for its size. If I were looking for an identical unit in an “all things equal” comparison that would cut my utility bill in half, I’d be willing to pay at max another ~$80/mo. Using an online net present value calculator at a 4% discount rate, that would be a max adder of about $17,300 to the home price. That would also be the maximum dollars the homeowner should invest to achieve those savings. You may or may not be able to do a solar system (with tax incentives and feed in tariffs, of course) for that amount.

October 31, 2017 9:43 am

People can see beyond labels. Some of the worst buildings were constructed right after 1970’s oil crisis, at least in Europe, and based on the same arguments.

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
October 31, 2017 12:03 pm

Eventually, enough people have experience with these scams to not trust the next one. Which is too bad, because the next one might actually be the real deal. But can we afford to trust it?

Washing machine – uses both more water and more power, because you have to run an extra rinse cycle on every load. Shower – uses more water and more power for heating water, because people have to stay in it for much longer to get the soap rinsed off. Toilet – uses more water, because at least one third of the time, it requires two or sometimes even three flushes (not to mention the aggravation of more frequent plunging).

October 31, 2017 9:56 am

I live in Calgary Alberta Canada. Here is my experience with my energy efficient house (all new homes here are ‘energy efficient’). I still pay a lot for heating in the winter because the cost of natural gas delivery has gone up. So it hasn’t really saved me much money. Secondly, for a lot of the year, all the energy efficiency does is trap in heat. While a older house here doesn’t require cooling (all but a few days the outside temperature cools off nicely in the evening), the newer energy efficient houses require a cooling system.

End result is even at best.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 31, 2017 10:21 am

The issue with energy efficiency is also the cost-benefit ratio. It doesn’t matter to a home buyer that a particular home will save $100 dollars in energy costs per winter month if the mortgage costs $100 more every month.


Mark from the Midwest
October 31, 2017 10:04 am

A properly constructed home, which is relatively energy efficient, is better just for the comfort. If you have appropriate air movement and filtration and are fairly well insulated you can eliminate dry-air, damp-air, dust, pollen, drafts, etc., etc., the energy savings are just an added benefit. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite: Heck Yes!

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
October 31, 2017 10:15 am

It’s the laws of diminishing returns and unintended consequences.

There is no such thing as a healthy airy house that stays warm and cool without condensation with simple cheap (to install and maintain) effective systems/modification design.

It’s just another impossible lie. Unicorn poop.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
October 31, 2017 10:55 am

I am with Mark. Every house I have owned as an adult met his criteria. Maybe it is because I am a mechanical engineer and know what to look for.

Our house growing up not so much. It was built with a coal furnace and no insulation.

October 31, 2017 10:28 am

Ask any realtor, the three most important things in buying/selling a house are location, location, location.

The first rule in criteria is it must be measureable. What school will children attend? How far is it to the daily places you go such as work, schools, and shopping.

The reason for this is to avoid emotional decisions. When we moved to Virginia, we were getting frustrated. We found a house on the first day but it was sold by the next morning. A few days later I asked about a house that met our criteria. The realtor said we had looked at it and did not like it. We went back and what we did not like was cosmetic. Things I could easily fix.

A few months later my wife looked at me and said she did not know I was good at remodeling. I replied we had a boat at our last location. I would rather be sailing than replacing a perfectly good sink.

This house was not energy efficient. It was all electric and the systems was inadequate for hot and cold days. It took about $200 in weather stripping, fire barrier, and radiant barrier to solve that problem.

The heat pump was 25 years old. I knew it has to be replaced. The new system lowered our electric bill and made the house more comfortable.

As others have stated, improving the energy efficiency as needed is something that can be done after buying a house.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
October 31, 2017 4:02 pm

Just adding to your point, not contradicting anything.
What many people do not realize is that an undersized unit does not save energy.
What you make up for in instantaneous power draw, you more than make up for by having the unit run longer.
Plus you get the joy of having to replace it that much sooner because it has to run so much of the time.

Peta of Newark
October 31, 2017 10:56 am

There was recent talk UK-side of changing ‘Stamp Duty’ (a purchase tax on property) in order to encourage people to make their homes/houses more energy efficient.
Simply another tax and yet another measure of how utterly out-of-touch government here has become.

Classic example, VW diesels. It was an open secret that government tests and fuel-economy/pollution figures were a complete joke – yet folks went out and bought VW cars and vans.
I got a VW diesel (2nd hand) and did my research among van drivers of all sorts. The VW drivers were all as happy as happy could be. The non-VW drivers, esp Fords, all expressed the desire to own a VW , IF they could have afforded one.
And now what have we got, if not a taste of what electric cars will have coming at them, is the Toxic Tax being implemented in London right now. Doubles the price of taking a diesel into London.
Edinburgh are going to charge diesel owners extra just for parking outside their own homes.
These taxes are being implemented almost immediately because all the ‘big brother’ hardware is already up and running. Cameras and number plate readers are EVERYWHERE.
An electric car will be the tax collectors delight – you’ll be charged for every inch of road you drive, at a rate depending how fast you can go and depending, to the nearest second, what time of day it is.
And if you do ‘wrong’, the thing will be remotely disabled. Just like they want with everything in our houses via Smart Meters.

The people of the UK tried to give them a hint via the Brexit vote but they’re just too damn thick to realise – and now look at the utter hash being made of the actual Brexit negotiations.

There *might* be a wee glimmer though.
By moving into my new place I became part of the regular surveys done by the Office of National Statistics.
You become subject to a 45 minute face-to-face interview (at home) and follow up phone interviews every so often.
All the usual mush.
But THEN, last question that even had the interviewers(s) stumped and was inserted by special request of Mrs May, UK PM.
She wants to know if we the people were ‘anxious’
That’s it, just ‘anxious’ about something, anything, everything..

Female Intuition at work?

October 31, 2017 11:05 am

4″ pine stick homes aren’t that efficient no matter the heating/cooling system or windows or even a government assigned letter of A-G. Building with thermal mass in mind is the most cost efficient way to make a dwelling energy efficient, but that would require an extra few $/sq ft to construct and most people are accustomed to pine stick homes, so they inherently think that’s how a home should be built.

[???? .mod]

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  RWturner
October 31, 2017 11:57 am

I’m with the M0D on this one. RWT, In the U.S., even manufactured homes have been made with 2×6 lumber for over 30 years.


Reply to  Stevan Reddish
October 31, 2017 12:20 pm

Yep, must be a real old-timer.

Even those “pine-stickers” you can do a lot with, though. House I grew up in was actually built back in the 1930s. Lady who bought it from my parent’s estate put on siding with insulation between; insulated under the floorboards; insulated the ceilings; got rid of most of the air gaps; and replaced the old open-flame stove heating system (yes, THAT old). Cut the bills to less than a quarter of what they were when she started.

(She would have done passive solar, too, but the southern neighbor had put on an addition decades ago before the zoning changed – there’s less than five feet between the south wall of her house and the neighbor’s north wall – and he’s about two feet higher on the slope. No way…)

Reply to  RWturner
November 4, 2017 12:19 pm

Larsen Truss to eliminate thermal bridging. Maybe 25% more wood, triple insulation (cheap). Actually could make plumbing and electrical installation much cheaper.

richard verney
October 31, 2017 12:18 pm

Most people buy houses because of location, location, location.

Or, because it pulls on the heart strings, or it is all they can afford (the best space for the price).

So it is quite obvious that practicalities such as energy bills do not feature highly on the want list.

Reply to  richard verney
October 31, 2017 12:25 pm

$10K – $15K more now (with attendant higher mortgage, or fewer other features). Or $300 – $500 less a year.

Really a no-brainer. Honestly, you cannot possibly get a higher enough price to even cover the cost of the efficiency features (whether built-in, which is cheaper, or add-on, which is much higher). All other things being equal, it might move the house a bit quicker than your comparables, in a sluggish market. In a tight one – doesn’t do a thing for you.

richard verney
October 31, 2017 12:22 pm

Further to my above comment, who would pay any substantial premium.

What is the point of paying say an additional €30,000 to save oneself say $1,000 or even $2,000 per year in utility bills.

The upfront additional financing cost of any significant premium, means that the savings are unlikely to pay for themselves, or not within a reasonable period.

October 31, 2017 1:33 pm

It is a lot easier to build a low energy house in California than Michigan.

When I moved from Michigan to California, I built a low energy house. However, the energy code Title 24 demanded a Michigan house.

In Michigan I had a large west facing picture window to enjoy the view. In California, I built on a south facing hill in the foothills with beautiful sunsets in the winter. My plans initially got rejected because I had too many windows. I relabeled the south facing windows as passive solar collector. With thermal mass, I needed very little heat in the winter. With cool nights, no a/c was needed on hot summer days because of the small amount of west facing windows.

Patrick B
October 31, 2017 3:50 pm

My house in Hawaii had no heating and no air conditioning. Talk about energy efficiency – and it was the most expensive house I owned on a per square foot basis.

October 31, 2017 6:08 pm

The first three rules of buying/selling a house has been 1. location, 2. location and I’ve forgot what number 3 is.

It will never be 1. energy, 2. energy, and I’ve forgotten all the rest.

Reply to  cedarhill
October 31, 2017 7:50 pm

Retirement communities 3. remembering where you live.

Reply to  cedarhill
November 2, 2017 2:46 am

so true.
number 3 is neighborhood (aka location)

Ian Macdonald
November 2, 2017 1:34 am

I sold a house in 2013. When putting it on the market I had to have an energy survey done, and despite being a modern building it wad D rated. I asked what would have to be done to improve that, and was told that I could only improve it to C by way of adding insulation. To achieve B or A I would have to add ‘renewables’ such as solar panels and a wind turbine.

I decided not to bother and sold it as it was. So, another scam, the EPC is being used to hard-sell these products. Any house without these gets a low rating regardless of its cost of heating.

November 2, 2017 2:45 am

as MrGrimNasty said above ( )
“law of diminishing return”.
The first units of savings are cheap and not demanding, and are already included in “normal” housing.
But it’s expensive and a technical mess (with all the hassle) to aim at zero energy. Not worth it.

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