Resale value of 'green' home improvements hard to quantify

'Greenwashing' complicates appraisals

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When you spend $30,000 to install a solar photovoltaic system or wind turbine on your property, will the real estate market recognize the energy-savings expenditures you’ve made and credit extra value to your house at resale?

Equally important: Will the appraiser hired by your prospective buyer’s bank recognize the value — or ignore it because there’s inadequate data on comparable houses in the local multiple listing service showing the higher sale price commanded by energy-efficient houses?

These are important questions facing growing numbers of homeowners — including myself and my wife — who want to do the right thing and go green, but who also don’t want to be penalized financially.

On the one hand, we’re aware of the major initiatives under way — tax credits, refunds and grants, at the behest of the Obama administration, Congress and some state legislatures — to encourage green homebuilding and improvements.