Green Real Estate Trends

Sustainable housing is becoming increasingly popular, with many homebuyers prioritizing features that will help them to save money and improve their quality of life. In this article, we’ll uncover some exciting green real state trends that every real estate agent should know about.


Sustainable homes were once considered an extremely niche sector –but that’s no longer the case. With more and more people beginning to become aware of the impact that our choices have on our health and the health of the planet, there’s an increasing trend toward the green movement. 

This movement has been carried on into our choices, including the homes we buy and the type of renovations that we make as well. For real estate agents, keeping current on homebuyer preferences can help you to recognize features that are important to homebuyers, allowing you to cater to increasing demand.

Green building and sustainability doesn’t just include homes that are eco-friendly; it’s also concerned with providing a better quality of life for us as well. Ecofriendly homes can help to save money, and improve comfort, as well as overall health –all things that homebuyers are interested in. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some things that we’re seeing in the green space –sustainable real estate trends that are gaining traction.

Green Building Is Becoming More Common

While green building really kicked off in the 1990s, it was far more niche at the time. But it’s safe to say that now it’s officially mainstream. Many people today expect a certain level of sustainability in their homes. More builders are recognizing how much can be gained by green building standards and are increasingly adjusting their practices to keep up –something that can be seen in the commercial sector as well as the residential. In the U.S., commercial office space that’s certified by LEED or Energy Star has risen to 38% in 2017 from less than 5% in 2005. Additionally, the global green building materials market size is expected to grow by $132.13 billion during 2020-2024.

Homebuyers Are Willing to Pay More for Green Features 

According to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders, homebuyers want –and are willing to pay more for –sustainable features. The majority of buyers prefer to go green when they can, with many stating that they would choose options such as incorporating passive solar design (60%) and durable materials (66%) into their homes. Energy-efficient features top the list, with the average buyer willing to pay more upfront for a home to say $1,000 a year on utility costs. With younger eco-conscious generations enter their home-buying years, demand for green features and sustainability is expected to continue to rise. 

Homebuyers Are Looking for Energy-Efficient Features

When selling a home, it makes sense to highlight the property’s green features. Homes that have energy-efficient appliances, windows, and HVAC systems should have that mentioned in the listing. 

According to a recent REALTORS® and Sustainability survey, 65% of respondents said energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable and 55% of respondents found clients were at least somewhat interested in sustainability.

Sustainable Building Features Are Paying Themselves Off

Some buyers may not realize that ecofriendly features can help them to save money and improve comfort and safety as well –low VOC paint, zone heating, and purified air appliances such as UVC fans can help people to live more comfortably and safely. Many sustainable building features, such as solar panels or water-saving devices, can pay for themselves. 

Net-Zero Homes Are the Building Standard in California

The California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan now requires all new homes to be constructed in a way that makes them net-zero –homes that produce as much energy as they use, leaving occupants with a net-zero energy bill. But it’s not just California that’s building these homes; the high costs of electricity and heating oil have driven many people to invest in net-zero homes. With the cost of solar panels and heat pumps falling, these homes have become increasingly popular and are even paying for themselves. 

Green Certified Homes

Green-certified homes are also growing in popularity. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offers LEED certification to set the standard for green residential construction and design –and these homes are what many discerning real estate buyers look for today. These homes are more than just energy-efficient, in order to achieve certification, different aspects of the home are reviewed including water usage, intelligent use of resources, and quality of the indoor environment. 

Younger Homebuyers Want to Save Money (And the World)

Millennials are the largest growing demographic in real estate, and many among this cohort are focused on saving money, and making choices to improve the world. For this reason, they’re drawn to sustainable and affordable housing options. For real estate agents, it’s worth keeping an eye on agencies like HUD to see what incentives are being offered to help put green housing within reach of first-time buyers. Likewise, as Gen-Z begins to enter their adult years, it’s expected that this group will continue to pursue homes with eco-friendly and cost-saving features as well.   

Popular Green Features That Homeowners Want

So what are some popular features that homebuyers today are looking for? Here’s a look at some features that can help to make a home more sustainable, healthy, and easier on the wallet too –all things that today’s homebuyer is looking for.

No VOC Paint

Paints with no harmful VOC emissions are the way forward, with many people opting for this safer option. 

LED Lights 

Easy to replace, LED bulbs are a simple way to make a property more eco-friendly. Not only do LED bulbs last longer, but they also use at least 75% less energy than a regular bulb as well.

Energy-Efficient Appliances 

Energy-efficient appliances with the Energy Star rating can help homebuyers to save money with reduced running costs.

Solar Panels 

According to the 2020 REALTORS® & Sustainability Report by the National Association of REALTORS®, some 40% of respondents stated that solar panels add to the perceived value of a property. Harvesting the energy of the sun is a trend that’s been around for a while, but today’s options work far more efficiently, meaning more power from less space.

Programmable Thermostats 

Programmable thermostats are another easy way to reduce heating bills and save wasted heat.

Better Insulation 

A well-insulated house can cut down on the amount of cool air getting out during the summer months and the hot air escaping during the winter months. Likewise, triple pane windows (which can be up to 50% better insulated than single-pane glass) and doors that are well-insulated and installed properly can help to boost a home’s energy efficiency as well. 

Eco-Friendly Flooring 

Thanks to growing consumer demand, there are many sustainable flooring options available today that look great, and are good for your health and the environment too. Bamboo flooring is one popular option –as is cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree. The trees don’t need to be cut down for the bark to be harvested and used, thus making the material eco-friendly. Rubber flooring might sound strange, but for the right rooms –laundry rooms, bathrooms, and some kitchens –it can work well. Look for rubber that’s made from recycled materials, such as tires. 

Green homes might be trending, but taking care of our health and the planet –is here to stay. Realtors who understand the basic trends surrounding sustainable housing and the value of these features will be well-positioned to start cornering this sector and helping their clients to find homes that perfectly align with what they’re looking for. 

Real Estate Professionals: what sustainable real estate trends have YOU noticed?

Your knowledge on sustainable homes can help you to corner this niche. To learn more about sustainable home certification, visit Rise