Solar panels, green roofs and insulation; making homes more sustainable can be done in various ways. But what is its influence on the value of a home? What sustainability trends are there? And can today’s choices affect the long-term value of a home? Bart Meijer of the data technology company Matrixian Group discusses this with sustainability broker Bart Teulings of Bart uw Makelaar.

Sustainbility broker

Teulings has been active in the real estate industry for over ten years. Three and a half years ago he started his own business, working as a “sustainability broker”. This means that he provides sustainability advice with every home viewing. He talks about the possibilities, gives advice on subsidy schemes and interest discounts at banks and explains how today’s choices can influence the value of a home in the long term. “My main goal is to create awareness”, says Teulings. “One can choose not to invest in sustainability, but must take into account that competitors in the housing market will soon be adjusted, which may result in that a lesser value for a home can be obtained in the future”.

When Meijer asks why he made this career switch, Teulings says that on the one hand he feels socially responsible. “By 2050 the housing market must be energy neutral, so we will all have to contribute to that”. On the other hand, he says that the climate target means that homeowners are faced with difficult choices. “What is the best step towards sustainability? And what is its impact in the long term? I include these kinds of questions every day in my conversations with customers”. Teulings always studies the motivation of its customers, as they differ per person. “One wants to do something good for the world and the other focuses more on comfort or saving money. As a sustainability broker, I look for the difference”.

Trends in the housing market

The willingness to increase sustainability has increased significantly in recent years. And given the climate goals, Teulings expects that this will only increase more. “Solar energy is particularly popular. It has become a standard question I receive from customers and more and more individuals are deciding to invest in this”. We also see this trend around us, because solar panels are appearing on more and more roofs. “I include this in my story as standard these days, provided they are not there yet, of course”.

“In addition, there is an increasing demand for roof insulation nowadays. Perhaps also because of the corona pandemic, which is increasingly turning an attic floor into an office. But above all it is good for the environment and saves a lot of money because there are less heating costs”. This is because warm air always flows to a place with a lower temperature and because warm air rises. When properly insulating your roof you can make a lot of profit.

“Finally, I see an increasing interest in the type of energy label. Three years ago this was an undisputed topic. During a viewing this was hardly ever discussed. Nowadays I hear much more from people that they are looking for a house with, for example, the energy label C or higher. Or they are looking for a house that has already been preserved. “

Top 3 sustainability options

When asked about the top three sustainability options that add the most value to a home, Teulings answers the following: (1) double glazing, (2) solar panels and (3) roof insulation. Below the explanation.

Double glazing can yield a lot. Not only for the environment, but also for people’s wallet. Double glazing can increase the energy label and the demand for a home. “A consequence that few people think of is that the value of your home increases,” says Teulings. “More and more buyers find double glazing important and are willing to pay tens of thousands euros more for this”. So it makes a home more attractive and is therefore easier to sell. The cost of moving can also turn out lower, as there is a shorter period of time in which the property is for sale.

Solar panels also have a positive effect on the value of a home. “Solar panels are often seen as a synonym of sustainability. They are prominent on the roof and therefore easy to recognize for a layman. The energy label easily increases with one or more steps, so from C to A for example, and they have a positive effect on the energy bill”. If it is your property, it can yield a lot, according to Teulings, but if people start renting them and offer them for rent again during the sales process, he sees no added value.

Finally, Teulings sees roof insulation as one of the most valuable investments. “But this is personal,” he says. “If you use the attic as a living space, I certainly recommended it. But if you don’t need the attic, roof insulation has a lesser function”. He says that the year of construction of a house with roof insulation says a lot about its quality and that this should therefore be included in sales and purchase discussions. Roof insulation from 1990, for example, cannot be compared with one from 2013. The year cannot be traced back on Funda either. “There I see improvement potential”. 

Data technology and sustainability

Meijer explains during the interview that Matrixian Group is also working on sustainability. “We have developed the Sustainable Roofs Opportunity Map. It is a digital map of the Netherlands that shows per building which sustainable roof implementation is optimal”. The type of implementation is calculated on the basis of data; by combining various property characteristics with environmental factors, the model can determine which sustainable interpretation is most feasible, profitable and advantageous.

Meijer asks whether this development could support the work of a real estate professional. “Yes, I think these kinds of developments are very good,” says Teulings. “When professionals can include the possibilities of a roof in a sales conversation, they distinguish themselves. If they then also know how to bring the right parties together to realize a sustainable roof, great gains can be made. Not only for the environment, but the professional is also of great added value for his customer”.

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