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Louisville Home Buyers, Sellers Can Now Get Better Info on 'Green' Features

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Louisville home buyers and sellers interested in environmentally friendly elements and technology have a new way to identify those features on their homes.

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors has added eight new search fields to the Multiple Listing Service. Now, prospective home buyers can look for houses that have various environmental certifications, as well as green elements such as solar panels and tankless hot water heaters.

Kentucky U.S. Green Building Council Director Nancy Church said the new search fields will also help sellers advertise their investments in energy efficiency.

“And also, if sellers want to convey, perhaps, a higher value for their homes, they can identify these green features and their realtors can use them as selling points,” she said.

Louisville’s MLS system is one of about 300 among 860 systems that have adopted the new green fields. Sy Safi, a principal with green building company My Green Kentucky Home, said the addition of these fields makes his work more relevant.

“We started out by picking things that are really quantifiable,” such as  Energy Star and LEED certifications, he said. That alleviated the worries of some real estate agents that they would be held liable for promising environmental features that couldn’t be measured or proven, Safi said.

“Anybody can say, ‘Yeah, this is a green home,’” he said. “But when there’s a third party testing it and approving it and saying it is, and they actually give you a certificate, then that can’t really be contested. It takes their liability out of it.”

Church said her organization is hopeful the feature will raise awareness of the benefits of investing in smarter, more energy-efficient buildings. She said the next step is to train lenders and appraisers on the value of these green features, so homes are valued accordingly.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.