The six main elements of a “high performance” home containing green features include the following:
- · Site
- · Water
- · Energy Efficiency
- · Indoor Air Quality
- · Materials
- · Operations and Maintenance
Regarding homes in South Florida, many contain several aspects of the six items mentioned above.
Homes can be "energy efficient" or "green" even though they have not been tested or built to a LEED designation or certification. Many of our homes built to the specifications of the South Florida Building code of features of high performance homes.
The 2017 MLS will have fields that Realtors will enter when taking a listing to help identify these green or high performance features.
A good example of one of them having to do with "energy efficiency" is the impact glass installed today for hurricane protection in new and existing homes. This glass typically has a "low e" blocking ultraviolet sun rays. This "low e" is not a tinting. Rather, it is an invisible coating reflecting long-wave infrared energy leading to a cooler home, increasing energy efficiency. The heat or light energy is absorbed by glass or, taken away by moving air.
Another common energy efficient building technique of South Florida homes is the use of insulation to eliminate "heat gain". Heat gain is the transmission of heat through a material.
By insulating the home with a variety of new materials once can cut down on heat gain and save air-conditioning costs (or visa-versa during the winter). There is reflective "batt" material for walls and ceilings, sprayed cellulose, and the new polystyrene that is sprayed at the underside of plywood sheathing cover the roof trusses.
Not only can a high performance home deal with heat gain and insulating the walls, roofs and ceilings of the home but also the air quality can be improved with blower door testing, and the sealing of cracks and openings where untreated air can get into the home.
The Appraisal Institute has a new Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum form for appraising Energy Star homes, passive solar houses, solar photovoltaic systems, and net-zero energy homes.
I will discuss indoor air quality along with other aspects of custom, high performance homes in my next posts on High Performance Homes.
Note: In September 2017, Britt J. Rosen, CCIM became certified by the Appraisal Institute in the evaluation of high-performance homes or sustainable homes and is only one of a few South Florida appraisers with this high performance home (green) designation.