Louisville MLS adds 8 green fields to drive green home listings
It will be easier for homebuyers and realtors in Louisville, Kentucky, to find homes with green features and certifications.
The Kentucky U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced August 4, 2015, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Louisville added eight new fields for green home information.
The new “green fields” will help sellers list certifications and features that are indicators of improved energy efficiency, water savings, responsibly sourced building and furnishing materials and higher comfort.
Four of the eight fields are for formal certifications: ENERGY STAR Home Certification, Home Energy Rating System (HERS), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, specifically LEED for Homes) and National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The other four of the fields indicate construction features: solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, tankless water heaters and spray foam insulation.
To date, more than 300 of the 860 MLS systems in the U.S. have adopted green fields, including Lexington MLS. In Louisville, the MLS Improvement Committee of the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors (GLAR), first approved six fields that were requested by the Greening the MLS Task Force of Kentucky USGBC and added three more. When the fields were then presented to the Metro Search Incorporated (MSI) Board of Directors for approval and implementation, the MSI Board approved all but one field.
“After an informative presentation, the MLS Improvement Committee unanimously agreed that our MLS needed fields to help those searching for homes with green features,” says Ton Ali, a broker with Cornerstone Group Realtors, who is also Eco Broker Certified and sits on the MLS Improvement Committee. He added, “Now Louisville sits with other progressive and sustainability-minded cities providing tools for those involved in the real estate transaction, from buyers, sellers and their agents to lenders and appraisers who need to see the value added by these features.”
The Greening the MLS Task force of Kentucky USGBC is led by Sy Safi, owner of GCCM Construction Services, LLC, and My Green Kentucky Home, who has designed and built a LEED Platinum home in Louisville, and is an ambassador and consultant for Passive House, WELL Building Standard and Living Building Challenge certification systems. Safi assembled a core team of realtors to determine and pitch the first round of green fields.
“We spend nearly 90 percent of our lives indoors with known effects to our health and well- being from the homes and buildings we occupy. Plus, buildings consume more than 40 percent of our country’s energy.” says Safi. “Our industry is constantly improving with third-party ‘green’ certification programs that address these issues and more. Our goal with Greening the MLS is to convey true value for homes that cost less to operate, are healthier for the occupants and better for the environment.”
With help from green home raters and Passive House professionals from the Cincinnati Regional USGBC, which had been successful implementing several green fields in the Cincinnati MLS, Safi and team had a proven path to follow, and documentation to assist in their efforts.
“We thank our friends and colleagues in Cincinnati, Paul Yankie and Dave Horton with Green Building Consultants and Jeremy Faust with Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance for sharing their great work with us and getting us started,” continues Safi.
Greening the MLS, also referred to as “Value for High-Performing Homes,” is an advocacy campaign of USGBC. The campaign seeks to connect the supply of healthy, efficient, green homes in a community to the growing demand, and enable the free flow of information from which brokers, buyers, sellers, and appraisers can better communicate the value of these homes.
“After mortgage or rental payments, energy is the single largest monthly expense for most households. These green fields convey the performance of a home, similar to miles per gallon for a car. Better performing, more efficient and comfortable homes should begin to show a higher value as the green fields are used to analyze the relative prices of green homes compared to others,” says Nancy Church, Executive Director, Kentucky USGBC.
The green fields went live July 27, 2015, on the FlexMLS system in Louisville. The next step for the Greening the MLS Task Force is to train appraisers and lenders. Appraisers who search for “comps” — recently sold comparable houses — often are unable to readily distinguish those with significant energy efficiency investments from ordinary homes.
To help bridge the information gap, the country’s largest appraisal professional group, the Appraisal Institute, released an updated “green addendum” that realty agents and sellers can use to call attention to the energy-saving features of homes, especially in areas where the local MLS provides no separate green fields. Appraisers can attach the addendum to their standard appraisal reports to justify additional value assigned to the house because of the cost-saving improvements.
Read more about green homes.