What is a green house worth? – The environmental awareness of Quebecers is undeniable. Their interest in the energy economy is growing. And their curiosity for “green” houses is very real. That said, few consider environmental certifications as an added value that convinces them to pay more for their property.
Almost 10 years ago, Gilles Drouin and Louise Laferrière became the first inhabitants of the Ecoterra House, near Eastman. A property whose ecological innovations were so numerous that foreign tourist coaches often landed at home to visit it. Today, on the verge of selling their home “coup de coeur”, they tell their experience.
In 2009, why did you buy this House?
Gilles Drouin: We were first seduced by the living environment, the architecture and the proximity to Sherbrooke, where my wife’s daughter had just been giving birth. We also had an ecological interest for a long time. In 2005, a small brick house from the years 50 to Tétreaultville was renovated to reinsulate and reduce heating costs.
Louise Laferrière: We have a small granole side: We have been compost for almost 20 years and we have a Prius car.
Have you feared the unknown of these home-specific technologies and ecological features?
GD: Not at all! For example, the solar roof, we didn’t know how it worked. The seller explained to us that our energy costs would be much lower and that we would find the temperature comfortable. Over time, we learned to deal with home automation and all the technologies to reduce our electricity consumption. And we pay less today than in 2009.
LL: I am not very techno, but everything is done so simply. We have never had any problems, except for one small glitch that has been solved easily by replacing a small piece of geothermal. We know our house well.
Why are you selling it?
LL: We’re not getting any younger! I’m 72 years old now. Two in a three-storey house, it’s getting big. And the three-acre land requires a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, the House does not require more maintenance than normal houses.
GD: It’s going to make a pinch in the heart of leaving it. We have spent extraordinary years there!
Do you think buyers are willing to pay more for this type of home?
LL: According to the comparable in the woodland of the heronry, one can not lower the price enormously. It must be said that several additions have been made: basement, addition of a garage, veranda with ceramic floor which offers a magnificent view on the wild side of Mont Orford, addition of kitchen counters and luxurious fittings. We invested a lot after the purchase. But there is no plan to make a huge capital gain on that.
Ecoterra, a green house:
- Geothermal heating and cooling system
- The heat generated by the compressor is used to preheat domestic hot water.
- 40% of heating is of solar source (strategically located windows, use of thermal mass and shading elements)
- High insulation level and superior air tightness
- Solar roof made up of 21 136 W photovoltaic laminates each. The electricity supplies are sold to Hydro-Québec.
- The intense heat produced under the roof is recovered.
- Waste water heat recovery system
A selling point at equal Price
Consumers are increasingly hearing about ecological certifications, including LEED, Novoclimat, Rénoclimat and Passive house. Many are seduced by the concept, but few of them want to pay more for such properties.
More and more advertisements highlight the green certification of a property, green materials or the specialization in eco-building of the promoters. These arguments are particularly appealing to “influencers”, according to George Bardagi, broker at REMAX. “They are part of the first 10% of buyers who are interested,” he said. For them, certification is a pride. But they are not part of the majority. ‘
Despite the attractiveness of young generations to protect the environment, few are the first buyers who dare to afford a green property. “It’s mostly people who are in their second, third or fourth property, who know a lot about real estate, who are already soaking in this environment and who are willing to pay for it,” explains Carolyn forget, broker at Royal LePage.
However, she regrets that buyers are attracted to ads claiming that a property is LEED or eco-friendly, whereas it does not have the official certification. “The clientele is still poorly educated on the subject. It looks at the flashy effects that give the impression of being green, like the green terraces. We need to go further by analyzing technology and the technical aspects of construction.
Curiosity on the rise
If education is still to be done, the craze is real. “For 10 years, there has been more curiosity and more questions,” says François-William Simard, Vice-President, strategic development and communications, at the Association of construction and housing professionals of Quebec (APCHQ). “We’re talking more about our members, but if we were more entrepreneurs and the government was putting more programs in place, the interest of the clients would grow,” he adds.
Having lived in San Francisco for several years, Ms. Forget sees a clear difference in mentalities. In San Francisco, people are more sensitive to the issue of the environment. There are already a lot of hybrid cars out there, and now they are very much wondering about renewable energies and solar roofs. Here we have not yet integrated the ecological will to our properties.
Does green mean more expensive?
In reality, environmental aspirations are often at odds with financial capabilities. Everyone is for greener products, but few Quebecers intend to pay more for the purchase of a home. Between two condominiums at equal prices, with the same design and in the same sector, the one that is LEED certified will however be bought as a priority. It’s part of the most column. But are we going to pay between 30 000 and 50 000 more for that? The answer is no, for now.
Like a dug pool
Both brokers compare the costs of obtaining a green certification with those of an in-ground pool. You can invest $50 000 for the installation, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get as much.
The lack of knowledge explains this perception, according to Carolyn forget. “In the long run, a LEED home is going to be more profitable. The property will be better built, and the heating savings will be substantial.
Green House A Lifestyle
An ecological certification does not guarantee a perfect property. and future buyers should not imagine that they will have nothing to do to maintain a good energy rating.
These two caveats are those of Daniel Pearl, a professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Architecture and a founding member of the Canada Sustainable Building Council in 2003. Asked about the craze of green certifications, the specialist says that the quality of design and affordability must be considered with the same attention.
Green certification guarantees the ecological performance of a property, but not necessarily its overall value. The reputation of the designer is as important, if not more than the certification. In the end, an architectural firm must be able to juggle these three elements.
He also considers that architects have an educational role in the clientele. Before, during and after the construction of a green property. “Certification is not an end in itself,” he says. We have to use our experience to listen to all the wishes and fears of the customers. Consumers ‘ curiosity for green certifications opens up a better dialogue, but it is necessary to follow up afterwards. The user must be involved. It’s a lifestyle to adopt and so we have to talk about it. ”
Daily commitments to maintain its energy rating
- Inspect the perimeter of the windows and the condition of the Seals
- Use electronic thermostats to achieve increased accuracy
- Check the condition of the cold cuts in the bottom of the doors and replace them regularly
- Focus on LED lights that provide a longer lifespan.
- Lower the temperature of the entire parts or property during its absence
- Fully understand the operation of the air exchanger, wash the filters and ducts
- Test the motor of the electric boiler and change the filters
- Get rid of old refrigerators that make noise and sometimes consume more for this reason Source: Energy Transition Quebec
Check the energy rating of a house
If a seller touts the merits of the ecological certification of his property, take the trouble to check if he has an energuide label on his electrical panel. “On the label, we find a number on a scale of 0 to 100,” explains Pierre Brisson, coordinator, Living Green, at Transition energetics Québec. The more we tend towards 100, the more efficient and autonomous the building is from an energetic point of view.
On the other hand, be aware that the presence of the label is voluntary and not obligatory.