Green is good for planet and for prop­erty

En­vi­ron­ment-friendly homes of­fer fi­nan­cial and re­sale ben­e­fits

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - BONNY FOURIE

POWER out­ages in re­cent years and the drought have seen more peo­ple look­ing at go­ing green by retrofitting or build­ing in en­ergy- ef­fi­cient and wa­ter-sav­ing de­vices.

So­lar power, geyser timers, bore­holes, rain­wa­ter tanks, wa­ter-wise gar­dens and ar­ti­fi­cial lawns are among the most com­mon fea­tures they are in­tro­duc­ing to their prop­er­ties to counter in­creases in elec­tric­ity and wa­ter costs.

Prop­erty ex­perts be­lieve that while peo­ple adopt­ing such mea­sures are cut­ting costs and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to the en­vi­ron­ment, they also stand to ben­e­fit when the time comes for them to sell or let their homes.

“I be­lieve over the next decade we will see the de­mand for prop­er­ties which pro­tect and pro­mote bio­di­ver­sity and in­cor­po­rate green fea­tures in­creas­ing ex­po­nen­tially,” says Dr An­drew Gold­ing, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Pam Gold­ing Prop­erty group, whose com­pany has un­der­taken a num­ber of pow­er­ful green ini­tia­tives.

One is re­search with the Green Build­ing Coun­cil of South Africa which found, among other things, that some es­tate agents re­port that the in­stal­la­tion of rain col­lec­tion tanks is on the rise, and a use­ful sell­ing point.

The re­search also pointed to a pos­i­tive pre­mium in the sales price of green homes, which in­creased with the de­gree of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, on­go­ing en­ergy price in­creases and the po­ten­tial for green build­ing reg­u­la­tion.

There is also ev­i­dence to show a rental pre­mium ap­plies, with green build­ings prov­ing more at­trac­tive to ten­ants.

An­thony Stroebel, head of strat­egy and in­no­va­tion at Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties and a di­rec­tor of the Green Build­ing Coun­cil, says there “is a ris­ing groundswell in what in­di­vid­u­als can do to help con­serve our planet. Each of us has a role to play in mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to con­serve and main­tain our nat­u­ral re­sources and key bio­di­ver­sity as­sets. This now makes great fi­nan­cial sense”.

He says the Green Build­ing Coun­cil has seen the com­mer­cial green build­ings mar­ket

En­ergy-ef­fi­cient pop­u­lar

grow ex­po­nen­tially year on year, and it is ex­pected the res­i­den­tial mar­ket will be­have sim­i­larly but with a steeper tra­jec­tory.

Agree­ing, Adrian Goslett, regional di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Re/Max of South­ern Africa, says a study con­ducted by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Builders showed that, apart from a safe neigh­bour­hood, the fac­tor that in­flu­enced home-buy­ing de­ci­sions most was a prop­erty’s en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

Items such as so­lar pan­els have become in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as the en­ergy-ef­fi­cient move­ment gains mo­men­tum in South Africa. In­stalling so­lar pan­els will, for ex­am­ple, re­duce a house­hold’s elec­tric­ity bill by up to 75%.

“Us­ing power gen­er­ated from the sun will re­duce the amount of elec­tric­ity drawn from the main power grid, which will re­duce the house­hold’s util­ity bill. In most cases, so­lar panel sys­tems save be­tween 50% and 75% of an elec­tric­ity bill.”

But Goslett says while so­lar pan­els have become more af­ford­able over the years, the ini­tial in­stal­la­tion costs can be ex­pen­sive.

“It takes time for the sys­tem to pay it­self off, typ­i­cally around seven years.”

Maintenance of the sys­tems also comes at ad­di­tional costs, he warns.

De­spite this there are many ben­e­fits to adding en­ergy-ef­fi­cient el­e­ments in­clud­ing pro­tec­tion from power out­ages and se­ri­ous droughts.

“En­ergy-ef­fi­cient el­e­ments add value to a home, and a large per­cent­age of the ini­tial out­lay of such el­e­ments is re­couped when the prop­erty is sold.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Buy­ers, around 61% of buy­ers would be pre­pared to pay an ad­di­tional R50 000 to R100 000 on a prop­erty that has fea­tures to re­duce util­ity costs,” says Goslett.

Young buy­ers in par­tic­u­lar are show­ing “a lot of in­ter­est” in homes with sus­tain­able en­ergy so­lu­tions and en­vi­ron­ment-friendly en­er­gies, says Richard Gray, chief ex­ec­u­tive at Har­courts Africa.

Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties are mar­ket­ing homes in the eco-friendly Springer­baai Coastal Es­tate near Mos­sel Bay.

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