As you are embarking on a new home search or simply just a remodeling project, factors such as space and functionality are likely big areas of discussion. But what about energy efficiency and the technologies associated with making a home green: Is that something you have considered?

It seems these days there is a lot of talk surrounding the value of green updates. Energy management has become a talking point in both homes and businesses, as wireless technology is transforming the market by providing access to data that can help make better decisions.

Energy-management systems can manage and control everything from the lighting to air conditioning systems—sometimes even based simply on factors such as natural daylighting. The appeal of this technology is fairly obvious—lower energy costs and a more comfortable living and working environment.

But can a ‘green’ home or building really add worth? The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angles, studied the economic value of green home labels in California homes and released the results this week.

After reviewing data from the 1.6 million single-family homes that were sold between 2007 and 2012 in California, the study determined green label residences are worth 9% more on the real estate market—indicating green homes have added value.

Here is how that was determined: Based on the average California home price of $400,000 during that span of time, homes with a green label sold for an average of $34,800 more.

Now, upon first reading the study, I was a bit hesitant—are people really go to spend that much more for something that has a green label on it? But then I thought back to a recent purchase my husband and I had to make on a new furnace and air conditioning unit. We admittedly opted for an energy-efficient system because we saw the long-term value of being able to save money on our electric and heating expenses. And we have seen that significant savings accumulate over time.

Two interesting insights I gathered from the study: Areas with hotter climate valued green more, possibly due to the increased costs of keeping a home cool, and environmental ideology played a role in upping value of green homes, as measured by the rate of registered hybrid vehicles in a particular area.

I personally don’t believe the ‘greening’ of America’s buildings and homes is going to go away anytime soon. Energy-management systems can add significant value in comfort, convenience, and cost savings. But as consumers, business owners, and facilities operators, we need to understand how these systems work—and use them to the fullest—in order to gain that value.

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