Thanks to human-caused activities, the world is undeniably getting hotter, and people are increasingly considering how their personal lifestyle choices are contributing to this global environmental crisis. But living a greener lifestyle isn’t always cheap.
Sure, the costs of separating trash into recycling bins and using public transport (where these services are available) are low. But when it comes to more aggressive efforts to shrink our carbon footprint, like owning a green home, costs can skyrocket. Just buying the newest energy efficient appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and televisions with more energy efficient models can run into the thousands of dollars. (Here’s how long it takes for 32 everyday things to decompose.)
The lowest price for a residential heat pump can be close to $2,000. The price of a typical home solar panel system runs between $17,000 and $34,000, according to home-improvement digital marketplace HomeAdvisor. Still, during the lifetime of these products or retrofits, the high upfront costs can be offset through incremental monthly savings on energy costs. American solar homeowners reported savings of $1,587 annually in energy costs alone, according to customer review company ConsumerAffairs.
One way to green-up one’s lifestyle is also to buy a home that has energy efficiencies already installed. However, a home that is already crowned by solar panels and bedecked with super-insulated windows and super efficient appliances is going to cost more.
To determine the cities where green homes sell at the highest premium, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report “The solar effect” from ConsumerAffairs. The company reviewed Redfin data on home sales to rank cities by the percentage difference in average home sale price of green homes — homes with LEED or Energy Star certification, solar panels, or other green features and appliances — and the average home sale price for all homes. We also added the average hours of sun per day from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the cities on this list, green homes can cost between double and triple the price of a conventional home. For example, in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, a green home with solar panels and other energy-saving features sells at an average premium of 159% to comparable homes in the same city without these already-built efficiencies, that is, about 2.6 times the average sale price of all homes. (These are the states with the strongest sunlight.)
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