New and remodeled homes with sustainable features or systems sell for a premium, according to new research by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley National Laboratory. More homebuyers are looking for energy-efficient features, leading to a new marketing strategy for home sellers and real estate agents. Marketing sustainable homes currently is limited to a few expensive websites that often have outdated listings. However, Realtor Kari Klaus has developed a website, Viva Green Homes, to buy, sell, and market sustainable homes. Homes that have energy-efficient features, but are not third-party-certified, are rated on the VivaGreen Homes (VGH) Score, which gives homes one to five stars based on their green features. “The VGH Score helps buyers more easily find the level of green home that they are looking for,” Klaus says. “For instance, a buyer can choose homes across the country that are off-grid with solar and wind power, which will be indicated with a higher VGH Score based on the quality and quantity of its green features.” Klaus says home listings are free to home sellers, and nominal fees to advertisers of sustainable businesses support the site. | Read More