Porter offered tips for helping green building pros get the most out of appraisals:

  • Share a copy of Marshall & Swift Green Building Costs with your appraiser. The brief tutorial on new and retrofit green building puts a monetary value on hundreds of high-performance features.

  • Ask local Realtors to implement the National Association of Realtors’ Green MLS Tool Kit. About 20 to 40 multiple listing services across the country have already taken part, Porter said.

  • Ask lenders about the FHA’s 203k loan, “the closest thing there is right now to a true green mortgage.”

  • Remind lenders that according to the Appraisal Institute, for every $1 in annual energy savings, a home goes up $20 in value.

  • Direct appraisers and lenders to for comprehensive information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

  • See for a list of energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) for new construction and energy improvement mortgages (EIMs) for retrofits.

  • Ask your HERS rater to fill out a “Residential Energy Report” form, which is necessary when applying for EEMs and EIMs.

Porter warned that green building advocates have a long road ahead in working to achieve full recognition by appraisers, especially with the current economy’s super-tight lending standards.

“Underwriters are already dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s,” he said.

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome.