Building a home in Oakland? Go green and ensure its future value

Joe Dickerson Group
Published on June 28, 2017

Building a home in Oakland? Go green and ensure its future value


Are you thinking of building a home in Oakland? Good for you! Building a home can certainly be an adventure. But in all the excitement of choosing your lot, your appliance package and all the other extras that go into buying a new home, something important may fall through the cracks: your new home’s future resale value. Sure, it seems a bit early to be thinking of selling when you haven’t even moved into the home, but you should be thinking about just that.

Someday you will sell this home. If you plan for that now, as you’re customizing your home, you may just be able to protect its market value. Let’s take a look at ways to incorporate “green” features into your new-construction home – features that buyers clamor after.

What the future has in store

You don’t need a crystal ball to foretell what buyers of the future are going to be looking for as they shop for homes. New home builders come out with an annual list of in-demand features and, year after year, some of the same items appear on that list.

But, I have a secret I’d like to share. Okay, maybe it’s not so secret. Green homes are the wave of the future. Connected homes are too.

Combine aspects of both of these trends into your new home customization, and you will have one popular listing when it goes on the market in the future. Imagine your home, with energy-efficient features or total-home connectivity listed for sale next door to a home that lacks these features.

The home’s orientation matters

Your green choices start – where else – with the sun. The orientation of the home can boost the future value of the home. You’ll want to choose a lot that will allow your home to be oriented so that it takes full advantage of the sun.

Design the home so that frequently used rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, are on the southern side. This allows you to enjoy the warmth of the sun in the winter (even though Bay Area winters are pretty mild, every bit of sunshine counts!).

Situate your patio or deck on the south side of the home as well. Then, have your builder put those rooms you don’t spend a lot of time in, such as the laundry room and garage, on the north side of the house.

When it’s time to sell the home, even this rarely considered technique, and that fact that it helps lower energy bills, can be used to powerfully market your home.

Keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in

Stop leaks and drafts with the appropriate insulation in your new home. Air sneaks into the home in a variety of ways — in the attic, from the duct register, around recessed light fixtures and around the plumbing vent stack.

All of this leakiness wastes energy, thus increasing costs to the homeowner. Sealing the home with the right quality and amount of insulation can stop this.

Old-style insulation was made of fiberglass, which has been linked to respiratory problems. A safer form of insulation, made from green materials, includes cellulose.

Typically manufactured from recycled newspaper, cellulose has the same benefits of fiberglass without the health problems. It’s also tougher than fiberglass. Best of all? It’s inexpensive.

Heating and cooling

ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC systems can save homeowners more than $115 dollars a year on energy bills. This is an expensive undertaking, however, in an older home with less-than-efficient insulation. The leaks will need to be sealed before installing a new system.

The beauty of buying a new home, however, is that you can insist on an energy-efficient system as the home is being built – and insist that it is installed according to EPA standards or it may end up costing you instead of saving you money.


ENERGY STAR-rated appliances made the top of the “Most Wanted” list compiled by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). A whopping 94 percent of homebuyers chose this category as essential when shopping for new homes.

ENERGY STAR is a program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that promotes the adoption of energy efficient products, services and practices. To earn the ENERGY STAR certificate a product must be tested by a third party in an EPA-recognized lab.

Stock your home with energy-efficient appliances to ensure that it’s the belle of the neighborhood real estate market when you decide to sell it in the future. Not only will you increase the home’s value, but you’ll save money in the meantime.

ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers and refrigerators are about 20 percent more energy efficient than standard models, and ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less—older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water per cycle.


Remember the NAHB’s “Most Wanted” list? ENERGY STAR certified windows proved to be essential to 89 percent of new home buyers. These windows lower energy bills by an average 12 percent, nationwide, according to the EPA.

In dollars and cents, this translates to a savings of between $125 and $379, on average, for a typical home.

Whether you’re looking to build green features into a new home or thinking about ways to green-ify your current home, these techniques will help boost your future resale value. And they’ll help the Earth out a bit too, which is always nice. 😎 🌎 ☀️


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