The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Association of Realtors, along with other organizations, are working to include energy-efficiency features in real estate market values and listings. In River Forest and Oak Park, Ill., people live in walkable communities with excellent public transportation options, visit farmers markets, and participate in recycling programs. Home buyers in this market also look for high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and sellers who install energy-efficient or sustainable products reap the benefits of a quicker sale at a higher price, according to Gagliardo Realty agent Greer Haseman. Many Illinoisans would save money by making some energy-efficient upgrades to their older homes. New homes are built to higher energy-efficient standards, and homeowners invest in a home that will save energy and money in the future. Upgrades for older homes often take five to 10 years to see a return on investment. Improvements include upgrading lighting, appliances, sealing ducts, installing energy-efficient doors and windows, as well as adding insulation, timers, motion detectors, and rain barrels. Solar panels are another option, with about a 75 percent return on resale of the home, according to Solar Energy of Illinois’ James Lampasona. | Read More