California is definitely one of the most progressive eco-focused states in the country. Residents seem to set environmental trends, so it is no surprise that green certified homes in the state draw a premium. According to a new study from Nils Kok and Matthew E. Kahn, green certified homes in the state were valued an average of 9 percent higher than non-green certified comparable properties.


In the study, The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market, Kok and Kahn analyzed 1.6 million single-family property sales in California between 2007 and 2012. Homes with an Energy Star rating, LEED certification or properties that were Greenpoint Rated were valued higher than comps.


This increased value, dubbed a green premium by the researchers, was higher in hotter climates and California communities that had more hybrid vehicle registrations. A green certified home in a hotter climate makes sense — the more energy efficient a property is, the cheaper it is to keep cool in the hot summer months.


The increased green premium in higher hybrid vehicle registration areas is an interesting correlation, though. According to the report findings, “this correlation suggests that some homeowners may attribute value to intangible qualities associated with owning a green home, such as pride or perceived status.”


Basically, a keep-up-with-the-Joneses attitude, just with an eco twist. Your neighbor drives a hybrid so you buy one. Your neighbor earns a green home certification so your pursue one for your property.


Saving money on energy bills is great but some energy-efficiency projects can be quite costly with tens of thousands of dollars or more required upfront. The good news, at least for California homeowners, is that the upgrades and ultimate green home certification will pay off.


“The added value of a green-labeled home far exceeds both the estimated cost of adding energy efficiency features to a home and the utility-bill savings generated by those improvements.”


In the case of California residential properties, it pays to go green.


Related: 10 green homes that will make you green with envy


Green certification increases home values in California
Study reveals that green certified homes are valued 9% higher than comparable properties.