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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

The First Step in Home Energy Savings

Apr 03, 2011 09:06PM ● By Lily Marlene

During the 1960s, women’s hemlines were considered the barometers of contemporary attitudes on cultural issues. In 2011, the home has become one of the best gauges for measuring America’s outlook on environmental issues. According to Stefan Bolsen, Broker of 5th Avenue Real Estate, in Naples, personal residences in Collier and Lee counties, which have been slow to reflect the environmental practices suggested in this month’s feature, “Ed Begley, Jr.’s Green Home Makeover,” are now moving in a green direction.

“Homes here are just beginning to mirror green and sustainable concepts, which are already in full swing in European cities, as well as in U.S. cities such as Chicago and San Francisco,” says Bolsen, who has an EcoBroker Certified designation and recently completed a training program on energy and the environmental issues that affect real estate transactions. He suggests that the domestic upswing may be due to more appropriate descriptions that use terms such as energy-efficient homes, energy savings and indoor air quality (IAQ).

Energy-Efficient Homes

Several sellers who recently listed their homes with Bolsen have sought his advice about how they could make the homes more attractive to buyers seeking energy-efficient features. As a Certified EcoBroker, Bolsen encourages owners to request the type of energy audit that uses a home energy rating system (HERS Index), a scoring system developed by the Residential Energy Services Network. The index is based on the measured energy efficiency performance of the standard (average) new home. “For example, a home with an HERS Index of 80 is 20 percent more efficient than its code-built counterpart,” advises Bolsen.”

A rating can qualify the home for programs such as Energy Star (requiring a score of 85 or lower) or help the homeowner or buyer qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) for the purchase of a new, energy-efficient home, or an Energy Improvement Mortgage (EIM) to upgrade an existing home. A home measured on the HERS Index provides an accurate and comparable snapshot of performance that can help the owner or buyer understand what their home’s energy efficiency status is and what needs to be done to improve it.

Bolsen agrees with Begley that a good HERS Index score helps to improve the comfort and efficiency of the home. “It can also improve the resale value and allow you to communicate the efficiency level of your home to potential buyers,” he says.

Contact Stefan Bolsen, 5th Avenue Real Estate, 239-285-1332, [email protected]. Visit For information about EEMs and EIMs, visit

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