Colorado is breaking new ground by introducing a category for HERS rated homes into its multiple listing service (MLS), the database used by REALTORS® to list and find information about homes for sale. According to the Summit Daily, the Colorado Energy Office has been working with local communities statewide to add a “green fields” category to the Colorado MLS, which would specifically address the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the homes listed within the category.

The four main categories in the “green fields” MLS listings are:

  • Homes holding a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index Score
  • ENERGY STAR homes
  • LEED certified homes (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Green Building Standard homes

This is a significant acknowledgment of the growing demand for energy efficient homes in Colorado. The “green fields” category will enable REALTORS® to provide their clients with better information about a property’s energy efficiency, as well as information regarding qualifications for loan programs related to energy efficiency upgrades. An advantage for home sellers is that studies have shown that homes with energy saving features command higher resale prices, while homebuyers benefit from understanding the potential cost of running a home they want to buy by examining its HERS Index Score. The HERS Index Score is the housing industry’s version of a car’s MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker; it informs consumers about a home’s energy performance.

Colorado isn’t the only MLS that’s expanding to address consumer demand for energy efficient homes. Portland’s Regional Multiple Listing Service, for example, has a built-in drop-down menu that helps REALTORS® find energy performance ratings and search for existing homes retrofitted with energy-efficient or sustainable products, such as rain collectors and solar tubes. Other MLSs across the United States are also planning on “greening” their services, such as the MetroTex Association of REALTORS® in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Steve Baden, the Executive Director for the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the energy rating standards organization behind the HERS Index, commented that, “Including the HERS Index Score in the MLS is a significant push to the mainstreaming of the HERS Index Score in the housing market in Colorado. REALTORS® rely on the MLS to guide potential homebuyers and appraisers use the service to locate comparable properties. Having this information will make it easier for builders to market their HERS Index Scores and appraisers to calculate the market value of rated homes.”