First LEED-Certified Home in Alaska Is Up For Sale

Reader Contribution by Kari Klaus and Viva Green Homes
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The owners of the first LEED Certified home in Alaska spoke with Viva Green Homes to share what it’s like to buy, sell and market an eco friendly home…and would they do it again?

Tony & Valerie Reichstein purchased their Juneau, Alaska home two years ago when a work transfer brought their family to the area. At the time, one of the most important elements in their home search was energy efficiency, knowing that the Alaskan climate would bring about some hefty heating bills if they didn’t pick the right house. Lucky for them not only did they find an energy efficient home, they purchased the first Alaskan LEED certified home and have been impressed with its performance and design ever since.

Learn more about the LEED certification and USGBC.

“We stay warm in the winter and cool on the hot days in the summer…There are no drafty or cold areas. Everyone is comfortable all year long.” The family credits the comfort of their home to the many aspects including the design, construction and efficient systems, a collaboration that is true to LEED certified built homes. “Our heating system is a combination of an electric heat pump that provides both heating and cooling, as well as in-floor radiant heat that is driven off a separate electric water heater. Because the house is so air tight, there is a HRV (heat return ventilation) system that continually pulls air out of the house and replaces it with fresh outside air after passing it through a heat exchanger.”

They also found that the home has additional unexpected benefits too. “The house is easy to maintain, cleans up easy after a hard winter. Because of the air handling systems, we don’t have problems with mold or bad indoor air quality that many complain of in this area.”

Now that they have listed the home for sale, they are finding that owning a LEED certified home has some resale advantages too. Being LEED Certified “will help our home stand out from others when those buyers are looking for features specific to our home.”

In a market where buyers have many housing options, owning a LEED certified home can be the one thing that makes the buyer choose it over the others. Admittedly, while most people are becoming aware of and have heard of “LEED”, there’s still a learning curve on what a LEED certified home entails and the benefits of owning one.

When asked if the Reichstein family would choose a green or energy efficient home all over again their response was very clear…Yes, they would. “We are currently looking for our next home. We will most likely add energy efficient features to it should the one we buy be lacking in those areas.”

Some tips from the homeowners on buying a LEED certified or green home:

1. Don’t get hung up on price. There is a premium to a green home, but you are buying better systems that will pay off both in the short term and long term.

2. Take some time to learn and understand how the systems in your home work. That way you know how to change the set up from one season to the next to maximize the efficiencies built into your home.

Photos courtesy of listing agent, Debbie White, Prudential SE Alaska 

    For more tips on buying a green home take a look at the article 6 Questions To Ask Before Buying a Green Home.

    Be sure to visitViva Green Homesto see LEED certified and green homes for sale of all kinds.

    ContactDebbie Whitefor listing information.

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