Energy efficiency now a big property sales point

If you want to make your property more saleable this year, start making sure it’s “energy friendly”.

That’s the advice of Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who says: “The spectre of Eskom’s proposed price hikes hangs over all homeowners, even though they may be smaller than initially expected.

“In addition, there is a growing awareness, boosted by the recent Copenhagen meeting, of the need to for individuals to do more to conserve energy and resources for environmental reasons, and homebuyers are increasingly keen on ‘green’ properties.”

The sort of features buyers are currently looking for, he says, are roof insulation, double glazing, solar or gas geysers, prepaid electricity meters, boreholes, drip irrigation systems and rainwater storage tanks – “in fact anything and everything that helps to cut household power and water consumption”.

Everitt notes that consumer demand is also rising for a comprehensive scheme to reward homeowners who do “go green”, such as that in the UK where owners who have installed energy-efficient equipment are charged less for the power they do use.

“At present, the only incentive available is the rebate that Eskom is offering on the installation of solar geysers, but with the pressure mounting for SA to contain its energy usage while Eskom creates more generating capacity, government may well come up with a broader plan to encourage homeowners to ‘get off the grid’ in large numbers.”

Meanwhile, he says, many property developers are now building energy-efficiency into new housing projects. “In the past, energy-efficient methods and devices were often not specified in new construction because they were rated too costly, but many of these are now making economic sense - and enhancing the desirability of the new homes among consumers.

“This means that, even if a ‘green incentive’ does not materialise, existing homeowners would do well to pursue energy efficiency in order to ensure that their properties stay competitive in the market.”

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