Turns out the housing shortage isn’t the only problem Californians are facing — they need to worry about energy efficiency, too.

There are 14.5 million existing housing units in California with a need of 1.8 million new homes by 2025, according to the California Energy Commission (CEC).

The CEC recently released its California Building Decarbonization Assessment to ensure the state reduces at least 40% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in existing and future residential and commercial buildings by 2030, as directed by Assembly Bill (AB) 3232.

To reduce emissions statewide, the CEC recommends builders and owners:

  • replace gas appliances with electric appliances;
  • decarbonize electricity by increasing the low-carbon share of the generation portfolio;
  • foster energy efficiency;
  • use more efficient refrigerants to reduce leakage;
  • increase energy resources, such as onsite battery storage;
  • replace appliances using natural gas with appliances reliant on renewable gases; and
  • be incentivized to shift their energy use.

Though the recommendations suggested by the CEC are not mandated, the California Building Decarbonization Assessment is meant to direct property owners on how to reduce their carbon footprint along with energy costs.

The assessment builds upon the CEC’s 2020 energy building standards which require residential homes and multi-family buildings of three stories or less to:

  • install smart solar systems on rooftops;
  • install smart battery storage and heat pump systems that allow the home to store energy produced during off-peak periods;
  • improve indoor air quality with high-efficiency air filters; and
  • tighten building envelopes, including stronger insulation in attics, walls and windows.

Homeowners can begin to gradually make these energy improvements, starting now. Then, when it’s time to sell, their listing will attract more homebuyers looking to save on energy costs.

Related article:

5 ways to make a home more energy efficient

Going green saves green

Though reducing building emissions by 40% by 2030 sounds like a tall and costly order, a green home may save your clients in the long run.

Homebuyers who initially pay more for an energy efficient home have the benefit of:

  • saving on monthly housing costs;
  • defending their home from natural disasters; and
  • reducing their impact on the environment.

More and more homebuyers are aware of the benefit of environmentally friendly housing and even prefer them. In 2021, 67% of homebuyers noted energy-efficient home features to be incredibly important in their home search, according to Zillow.

Real estate agents can appeal to future homebuyers with a cost comparison sheet to give homebuyers a full picture of the monthly operating costs of an energy efficient home versus an inefficient home. [See RPI Form 306]

Homebuyers who pay a little more for their energy efficient home upfront end up spending less on monthly homeowner expenses.

Related article:

The green wave is growing in California’s commercial markets

Improving existing homes

Further, clients who are already homeowners may appreciate suggestions on how to make their current home greener, including implementing the suggestions put forth in the CEC’s decarbonization assessment.

Homeowners looking to go green may start with the most common energy efficient improvements, such as replacing outdated:

  • lighting;
  • water heaters;
  • insulation;
  • appliances;
  • solar panels; and
  • heating and cooling systems.

It’s essential for real estate agents to be informed on buying, selling, and improving energy efficient homes to better assist eco-friendly clients. Clients will be looking to you for ways they can accomplish the goal.

Real estate professionals looking to market to green homeowner clients may download firsttuesday’s free FARM Letters to equip clients: Save on energy bills this season and Easy energy efficiency.

Want to know more about state plans to meet clean energy goals by 2030? Subscribe to firsttuesday’s newsletter, Quilix, for the latest update!