Just in time for the feel-good marketing bonanza otherwise known as Earth Day, online real estate brokerage mega-firm Redfin has unveiled a list of ten cities across the nation that can claim bragging rights as having the greenest residential real estate markets in the country.
And if you take just a quick scroll through the rankings there's no big shockers to be found. The usual suspects — San Francisco, Portland, Austin, D.C., and Redfin's home base of Seattle — are all present and accounted for. The inclusion of Philadelphia in the number six spot is a bit of a pleasant surprise, however. I've been tracking some truly impressive/progressive green residential developments in and around Philly including the work of Onion Flats so it's great to see the city, which will be hosting this year's Greenbuild conference, show up here.
Redfin determined the rankings using two primary sources of data: the city's overall carbon dioxide emission levels and the number of currently-on-the-market homes touting energy- and water-conserving features — dual-pane windows, rooftop solar panels, low-flow faucets, energy-efficient appliances, etc. — and/or green building certification from LEED, Energy Star, and the like.
Julie Jacobson, a "LEED Green Associate certified Redfin Agent" and the compiler of the rankings, states the obvious: "The residents of these cities are reducing their environmental footprint and saving money at the same time. By making your home green, you can reduce monthly utility bills, make your home's indoor air quality healthier, reduce your environmental footprint and even help increase the value of your home without any sacrifice in design or comfort. It is truly a win-win."
Below, you'll find the top ten cities with the greenest homes as according to Redfin. Any glaring omissions from the list in your opinion? Is there a city or two that you feel shouldn't be on there?
1. San Francisco — "In addition to having the lowest carbon dioxide emission rate per capita, San Francisco has a large number of homes for sale with eco-friendly features. One incentive for locals to go green may be Pacific Gas & Electric's rebates, which offer up to $4,000 for home energy upgrades including insulation and air duct sealing."
2. Washington, D.C. — "According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington D.C. has the most (LEED)-certified space, which likely contributes to the city's low carbon dioxide emission rates. In addition, the district offers a number of rebates and tax credits for residential energy efficiency, which may help explain the high number of homes for sale with eco-friendly features."
3. Sacramento — "Sacramento has the second-lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the country, and new developments have focused on energy-efficient homes, such as the Northwest Land Park, which will build 800 new homes that use net-zero electricity."
4. Boston — "Boston Mayor Thomas Menino launched an initiative to be 'Green by 2015,' which includes powering homes using a combination of waste products and solar panels. The city also supports the Energy Positive "E+" Green Building Demonstration Program, which aims to bring green homes to Boston's neighborhoods."
5. Portland, Ore. — "Portland General Electric offers residents the choice to pay a little more for renewable energy options, including wind-sourced power. In addition, Portland residents who want to make their home more green can attend Fix-It Fairs, which offer resources and information to help attendees reduce water and energy usage, among other green initiatives."
6. Philadelphia — "Even though Philadelphia's carbon dioxide emissions were higher than other cities, it ranked second for homes with eco-friendly features. In 2009 the city passed two laws that advance green building practices. The first requires that new city government buildings meet LEED Silver Certification, and the second requires all new construction to have 'cool roofs' that meet or exceed Energy Star standards."
7. Phoenix —"As part of the 'Green Phoenix' initiative, Phoenix offers a one-time grant to homeowners for making improvements that reduce energy consumption. The city has also received funding to retrofit low-income residential homes with cost effective energy saving measures.
8. Los Angeles — "Homeowners looking to reduce costs associated with air conditioning in L.A.'s warm climate can take advantage of the L.A. County's Energy Loans Program, which offers loans of up to $50,000 dollars with financing as low as 4.99% when homeowners undertake home energy improvements. In addition, Energy Upgrade California offers rebates of up to $4,000 to homeowners who make their home more energy efficient. To see some stylish green homes on the market in L.A., check out this Redfin Collection."
9. Seattle — "Seattle residents are known for being eco-conscious, as evidenced by the recent ban on plastic bags, so it's not surprising they'd want their homes to be green too. Although the city is known for its rain, Seattle receives more sunlight than Germany, the world's leading solar market, and Washington State offers financial incentives for those who generate their own electricity using solar electric systems."
10. Austin —"Austin Energy is the nation's top seller of renewable energy, and the company offers homeowners low-interest loans of up to $20,000 dollars for energy efficient upgrades. In addition, the company offers rebates for numerous upgrades, including extra attic insulation, high-efficiency clothes washers, rainwater collection barrels, and low-flow toilets."