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Nail Down the Benefits of Green Building

Posted by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley

Apr 9, 2014 3:58:00 PM

Green builders have more sales tools at hand than some might think. While eco-friendly homes tend to cost a bit more than comparable buildings using conventional construction, builders typically can market the long-term benefits: savings in utilities costs, durability, quality of life, and the effect on the environment.

There also are lesser-known perks to add to that list—insurance benefits. Similar to utilities savings, insurance savings make more of an impact long-term. Homeowners, especially first-time buyers, often don't consider insurance costs before purchasing a home. Builders should make sure buyers become familiar with the insurance benefits of eco-friendly homes.

There are multiple aspects of green homes that can save homeowners money on monthly premiums. Check out these features:

LEED certification: A certified LEED home meets high standards of both sustainability and quality. Home insurance providers consider LEED-certified homes to be much less likely to suffer major disasters; often, such homes qualify for preferred policies, which have lower premiums.

Roof: Not all eco-friendly roofs can earn insurance price breaks, but two popular types—concrete tile and metal —can. These roofing styles, made from recycled materials, help conserve energy while typically also being impact resistant and durable. Insurers value both qualities because they lower the risk of a claim. The reward: Homeowners can qualify for preferred policies.

Updated systems: New HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems typically represent less risk for fire or flooding and therefore can earn savings. When the discussion turns to energy efficiency, low flow toilets, and new heating and cooling systems, green builders should note that these features can save on monthly costs besides utilities. Again, that's because the lower risk of fire, water damage, and other claims could spur providers to offer preferred home insurance policies with lower premiums.

Fire safety system: Builders who include fire safety systems such as sprinklers or smoke detectors could be setting buyers up for another perk. They could receive homeowners insurance discounts.

In addition to price breaks, insurance providers also offer programs that can help eco-minded homeowners with their green goals:

• Green materials endorsement: This is offered by some companies as an endorsement, or add-on, to your policy. A green materials endorsement stipulates that your carrier will use greener materials and Energy Star appliances when repairing your home after a covered event.

• Alternative energy loss of income: If your clients wish to generate their own alternative energy and sell it back to the grid, some providers offer this coverage to help compensate for the loss of income and cost of buying other energy if a covered event damages their house.

Don’t miss the chance to add one more positive selling point to residential green building projects. Builders and buyers alike should understand the long-term advantages of green homes. They not only cost less per month to heat, light, and cool, but they also can cost less to protect. That's a point worth hammering home.

This article was contributed by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley, community manager of HomeownersInsurance.com. HomeownersInsurance.com is a national insurance marketplace recognized as being an industry resource for property insurance information and data. 


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