For home owners selling property, going green can help you sell your property, as more and more home buyers are looking for houses for sale in Christchurch that are environmentally friendly.

From increased insulation to energy efficient appliances, there are a number of changes you can make to increase your chances of selling your home, and for a higher price. More and more people are looking for green or environmentally friendly features when buying property.

The reasons for this are twofold.

Not everyone is an eco-warrior, so while social responsibility and genuine environmental concerns are a priority for many Christchurch home buyers in 2014, environmentally friendly homes are also very cost effective. A number of methods of eliminating environmental waste end up saving money in the long run – lower power bills, less water usage, better insulation. So, whether you want to pull on the heartstrings of prospective buyers or you want to appeal to their wallets, there are many advantages to improving the environmentally friendliness of your home before selling the property.


Property and Energy Efficiency

Houses consume nearly 35% of the total electricity generated in New Zealand. Unfortunately the majority of New Zealand homes do not use energy efficiently according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Patricia Green, leader of the Wellington property team at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, said there is evidence out of Australia that high energy efficiency ratings attract higher rents and higher- quality tenants. ”It also comes down to the bottom line, as an energy-efficient building will result in lower energy costs,” said Green.

Data available in the USA shows that homes with energy efficient features are selling for 3-4% more than those without, and 90% of those buying houses think energy efficiency is important. The New Zealand Green Building Council states that energy efficient buildings have 20% lower ongoing costs (water, heating etc). Homestar also found that 65% of New Zealanders prioritised making their homes energy efficient, and the number looking for new or modern and efficient homes was on the increase, up to 53%.

Adding appliances to a home (from fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and other whiteware right through to heating, central vacuum systems and water systems) has always been an opportunity for a marketable competitive advantage. Taking that one step further and making sure they are environmentally friendly appliances that will reduce costs on an ongoing basis makes that advantage even more competitive.

What environmental standards are Christchurch home buyers looking for?

There are three key areas to consider when ensuring a property you own, plan on buying or even selling is sustainable:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Health protection
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

Key areas to examine are energy usage, heating, insulation, airflow and ventilation, hot water systems, damp/dryness, lighting, power generation (if applicable) and orientation toward the sun (for new homes).

Homestar and BASE (Canterbury region) are the rating systems used by the New Zealand Green Building Council to assess sustainability standards. See the specific BASE breakdown here. If the ultimate purpose of the property is for it to become a rental property, it is important to keep an eye on the rental warrant of fitness trails that are currently happening, as they incorporate environmental standards.

There are a number of useful resources at the end of this post that can help you review your property and see what standards you do and don’t meet.

Tips to help you go green

  • Install appropriate insulation in area to be remodelled.
  • Install high-efficiency windows instead of those that minimally meet the energy code.
  • Seal all exterior penetrations in areas being remodelled.
  • Purchase only Energy Star rated appliances.
  • Install only low-flow water fixtures.
  • Upgrade to at least an Energy Star rated water heater, or better yet, a tankless water heater.
  • Purchase the highest efficiency HVAC system you can afford and make sure it is correctly sized for the area you want to condition.
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs
  • Make sure sockets have off switches
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater
  • Investigate green roofs or walls
  • Use recycled and environmentally friendly building materials
  • Include ventilation heat recovery systems
  • Install energy and water usage meters
  • Generate renewable energy, for example by installing solar power, or solar water heating
  • Connect to the Christchurch District Energy System
  • Improve the temperature, air quality, ventilation and amount of natural light
  • Allow for waste and recycling separation


Property selling tips for green homes

There are some concerns (among builders especially) about whether going green will bring the return on investment (ROI) necessary to justify extra spend. The ROI can be improved by ensuring your green/sustainable efforts and features are built into your marketing plan. There are a number of websites, blogs and journals that specifically profile green homes, and can be a great way to get your home featured elsewhere.

Having your house assessed and rated by an external provider gives you a tangible, objective review to promote and can be included in all your marketing and promotional materials. Ensure communicating the green aspects are part of your marketing plan and incorporated in your communications (including when you or your agent shows people through the house).


Useful Resources

Guide to smarter insulation


EECA Action Sheet: Making your home warmer and healthier

Inspiration to work toward: NZ’s most energy efficient house

How to improve an existing home

Righthouse Fact Sheets

Tips to go green at home in general

Christchurch Agency for Energy