Determining Value of Solar Just Got Easier

The additional property value of solar has always been an issue in the industry. Homeowners and professionals both recognize the inherent asset value of solar just as you realize asset value for other home improvements such as a kitchen remodel or bathroom addition.  But quantifying that for real estate appraisers, brokers, and lenders has been an issue – until now.

Consistent appraisals of homes and businesses outfitted with photovoltaic (PV) installations are a real challenge for the nation’s real estate industry, but a new tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories and Solar Power Electric™ and licensed by Sandia addresses that issue. Sandia scientists, in partnership with Jamie Johnson of Solar Power Electric™, have developed PV ValueTM, an electronic form to standardize appraisals. Funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the tool will provide appraisers, real estate agents and mortgage underwriters with more accurate values for PV systems.

“Previous methods for appraising PV installations on new or existing construction have been challenging because they were not using standard appraisal practices,” said Geoff Klise, the Sandia researcher who co-developed the tool. “Typically, appraisers develop the value of a property improvement based on comparable properties with similar improvements as well as prevailing market conditions. If there aren’t PV systems nearby, there is no way to make an improvement comparison. When a PV system is undervalued or not valued at all, it essentially ignores the value of the electricity being produced and the potential savings over the lifetime of the system. By developing a standard methodology for appraisers when comparables are not available, homeowners will have more incentive to install PV systems, even if they consider moving a few years after system installation.”

The tool uses an Excel spreadsheet, tied to real-time lending information and market fluctuations, to determine the worth of a PV system. An appraiser enters such variables as the ZIP code where the system is located, the system size in watts, the derate factor – which takes into account shading and other factors that affect a system’s output – tracking, tilt and azimuth, along with a few other factors, and the spreadsheet returns the value of the system as a function of a pre-determined risk spread. The solar resource calculation in the spreadsheet is based on the PVWattsTM simulator developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which allows the spreadsheet to value a PV system anywhere in the U.S.

“With PV Value™, appraisers can quickly calculate the present value of energy that a PV system can be estimated to produce during its remaining useful lifetime, similar to the appraisal industry’s income approach,” said Johnson. “Additionally, a property owner thinking about installing PV can now estimate the remaining present value of energy for their future PV system and what it could be worth to a purchaser of their property at any point in time in the event a sale of the property takes place before the estimated payback date is reached.”

The tool is being embraced by the Appraisal Institute, which is the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers. “From my perspective as an appraiser, I see that this is a great tool to assist the appraiser in valuations, and it connects to the Appraisal Institute’s recent Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum. It’s an easy, user-friendly spreadsheet that will not bog the appraiser down with a lot of extra time in calculations, and if they fill out the addenda properly, they’ll be able to make the inputs and come up with some numbers fairly quickly,” said Sandy Adomatis, SRA, a real estate appraiser and member of the Appraisal Institute.

Although the tool is licensed for solar PV installations, it could be used for other large green features in a home that generate income, such as wind turbines. The spreadsheet, user manual and webinar explaining the tool are available for download at http://pv.sandia.gov/pvvalue.

Solar Power Electric™ located in Port Charlotte, Fla., is an electrical contracting and solar integration company specializing in the installation of commercial and residential photovoltaic systems.

Bridge St Place. LEED Platinum

The land and building was purchased from the Diocese of Grand Rapids. The building was renovated into approximately 16 efficiency apartments with individual bathrooms and kitchenettes for homeless survivors of domestic violence. The name for the project is Bridge Street Place. It is permanent supportive housing project, serving single persons at 60% AMI The project has 16 project based housing vouchers provided by the Supportive Housing Division of MSHDA. Referrals and support services are provided by the YWCA West Central Michigan.

The building was renovated from a high content of recycled and reused materials, products that are within a 500 mile radius of the project site, rainwater falling on the roof is harvested to irrigate the landscape, plant materials are drought resistant and the irrigation system is high efficiency. All plumbing fixtures have water conserving fixtures, kitchen appliances are energy star rated, light bulbs are compact fluorescent, roof and patio

materials are highly reflective and reduce urban island effect. The building envelope has been improved, reducing on-going energy
consumption through reduced air infiltration.

Rockford Construction –
General contractors and construction
managers building new and restoring
old projects across 41 States.
Dwelling Place – is all about providing
affordable housing, supportive
services and revitalizing
neighborhoods.
Financed with low income housing tax
credit equity.

View & Download LEED for Homes Project Profile

LEED Platinum Midrise in Columbus, OH

LEED Midrise earns LEED Platinum

This 4-story affordable housing development leveraged the development team’s quality building practices already in place, and with only minor modifications, allowed the team to earn LEED Platinum certification.

 

Commons at Buckingham - a LEED Platinum Midrise project in Columbus, OH

In order to achieve the level of LEED platinum, fixture specifications were changed, and a complete building exhaust and return air system was added. Commons at Buckingham is a very special effort, by providing housing for 100 formerly homeless persons, 10 of which are U.S. Veterans.

The Commons at Buckingham is 100 units on a 0.6 acre site. Ruscilli Construction Company through great effort were able to construct this building on a very small site, and were able to achieve a rate of 88% for all construction waste to be recycled. Additionally, Ruscilli and their sub-contractors were able to donate many tons of ‘waste’ to a local community college for use in their construction trades training program.

PROJECT BASICS

LEED FactsProject Type: Affordable
Conditioned Space: 60,791 sq ft
Units: 100
Buildings: 1
Lot Type: Infill
Construction Type: New Construction
KEYS TO SUCCESS

Roof Insulation Value: 38
Windows: Alum.NexGen
Lighting: LED
HVAC Type:PTAC/RooftopReturn

Buckingham LEED ScorecardThe Density of this project is what makes the project truly sustainable, 100 units on .6 acres.

THE LEED FOR HOMES DIFFERENCE
Construction Waste Management Plan: YES!
On-Site Performance Tests: YES!
Custom Durability Planning Checklist: YES!
Third-Party Verified Documentation: YES!
About the Project Team

Developer – National Church Residences
General Contractor – Ruscilli Construction Company
Architect – Berardi + Partners, Inc.
Engineers – Jezernac – Geers and Assoc. Kliengers and Assoc. Prater Engineering
Landscape Architect – The Edge Group
Green Rater – Sol Development

Energy Star Homes to significantly change in 2011

New Energy Star for Homes Guidelines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the Version 3 Guidelines for ENERGY STAR® Qualified New Homes.

The new guidelines are quite a step up from the existing Energy Star guidelines, and specify Read more

Free USGBC Education on Greening Affordable Housing

Join USGBC for an important, free educational program – bringing you the tools you need to understand the intersection between green building and affordable housing. And then leverage the local incentives supporting sustainable affordable housing. Read more

Chicagoland's Northern Illinois MLS going Green

We’re pleased to share developing news that Northern Illinois’ Mulitple Listing Service (MLS), will be adding support for green building features in 2010. This development is something we at LEEDforHomesIllinois.org have been keeping a close eye on, and are very pleased to see this implemented. An official announcement is likely forthcoming in the new year.

The Green MLS will consist of many new categories for identifying property characteristics for a green home. These new MLS features will allow competent real estate agents to be able to market a green home’s building components, such as water efficient appliances, insulation type, and recycled content of building materials. Building technologies such as solar energy systems, insulated concrete forms, and structurally insulated panels (SIPs) can also be indicated in the Green MLS. Read more

Hyacinth Place receives LEED for Homes Gold certifications

Illinois LEED for Homes recently got a big boost when the 11 townhomes built by Brinshore Development in Highland Park received their LEED Gold certifications.  The best part is, the affordable housing project captured regional and national attention for its ability to be replicated in other communities. Read more