Written by Kaat Vander Straeten May 15, 2019
(This article appeared in the Wayland Town Crier on May 9, 2019)
Two homes in Wayland can now boast that they are among the first high performing homes in Massachusetts to receive a “Gold” rating from Pearl Certification, a national program designed to help homeowners capture the value of their home’s environmentally friendly and efficient features when they sell the property.
Pearl is working with MassEnergize, a local nonprofit, to promote green and energy efficient homes in Wayland and Concord.
“MassEnergize is dedicated to helping Wayland and Concord residents save energy. We’re partnering with Pearl because Pearl’s system can help owners improve their homes and recapture the value of these investments when they sell the home,” said Ellen Tohn, President of MassEnergize.
Pearl conducts an in-depth, independent assessment of the home just before it is listed for sale, determines its certification level (Silver, Gold or Platinum), and then issues a report showcasing the home’s “green” features and upgrades. A Pearl Certification Report can make a home more desirable to buyers and increase its resale value.
“Features like attic and wall insulation, high-quality heating systems, and sealed ductwork improve a home’s health, comfort and energy efficiency,” said Pearl’s CEO and co-founder Cynthia Adams. “Buyers value these features – but don’t typically know about them. Pearl makes these features visible and interesting to buyers.”
“A team of independent appraisers found that Pearl Certified homes can sell faster and for a 5% price premium than similar, non-certified homes lacking these features,” Adams said.
Located at 29 Three Ponds, one of the new Pearl Certified Gold properties is a 5-bedroom home that includes a solar system that offsets its energy bills, insulation that makes the house more comfortable, a high-efficiency heating system to save on energy, and a ventilator that brings clean fresh air into the home.
Pearl conducted an inventory examining the construction techniques, heating and cooling equipment, lighting, and ventilation before informing Eileen Balicki, the Realtor with Coldwell Banker, that the home had met Pearl’s stringent criteria and received a Pearl Gold Certification.
“The homeowner and I are thrilled with the Pearl designation. The owners invested time, effort, and money to make this home warm, avoiding the drafts and cold spots we often experience in New England homes, and their solar system is throwing off enough money to cover both the electric and gas costs,” explained Balicki.
Kaat Vander Straeten, Vice President of MassEnergize, also had her home on Rice Spring Lane Pearl Certified. Vander Straeten’s home is a modest ranch that has accumulated many energy-efficiency improvements over the years: insulation and efficient windows, a solar photovoltaic array, solar hot water, an efficient furnace and appliances, and a level-II charger for their electric vehicle. It received a Pearl Gold Certification.
Vander Straeten noted that the process was brief, fun and informative. “We did the certification because we plan to put this home on the rental market in a few months,” commented Vander Straeten, “and we are curious to see if this will make our home more visible to renters who are looking for homes that are environmentally friendly, comfortable, and have low utility costs. We know they’re out there. We are such people.”
MassEnergize is also excited that Pearl will be working with local contractors who meet their quality standards to certify high performing equipment they install.
“We find our neighbors want to take steps to reduce their contribution to the climate crisis but are often stuck asking, how do I get started? Our website (www.energizewayland.org) provides a list of helpful actions and identifies contractors, often a sticking point. Having Pearl certify contractors gives us another assessment of contractor quality,” said Ellen Tohn, President of MassEnergize.
During the pilot program, MassEnergize is offering homeowners who may be selling their home in the next 18 months a free Pearl Certification. For homeowners interested in how their home measures up to the Pearl standards, MassEnergize can connect you with Pearl. For more information contact [email protected] to learn more about the opportunity.
MassEnergize is also working in Concord and helping to build tools and resources to meet their goals – 50% of all households in Wayland and Concord have taken some climate actions. They offer residents a one stop shopping web platform to see a range of climate actions related to: home improvements, solar, electric cars and clean transport, food and composting, lighting, and advocacy. So far:
482 households have taken action in Wayland, their goal is 1500
515 solar systems have been installed in Wayland and Concord
330 electric cars are owned by neighbors in Wayland and Concord
For more information on MassEnergize is a terrific local resource, for more information, visit www.massenergize.com.