Green Real Estate Toolkit

Green Real Estate Toolkit


“The main reason I chose to pursue LEED certification on the custom home I am building in Chicago is because my lender’s appraiser said they could support a higher value for the construction loan if I had a third-party certification on the project. With the green MLS in place, I believe LEED will make my home more competitive in the market when I go to sell it in the future.”
- Brian U., LEED homeowner in Chicago, IL

Eco Achievers has designed this Green Real Estate Toolkit as a resource for real estate professionals and developers that need to make the economic business case for green homes. Here we’ve assembled resources on real estate, appraisal, lending, insurance and more.

The ONE THING you need to know

Anyone can comAppraised value getting it rightplete the following form. Builder, Rater, Homeowner, Broker. If you read nothing else on this page, use the following resource at the time of completing a mortgage application. It will help ensure your lender hires a competent appraisal of your high-performance green home, and a boost in home valuation.

The guide Appraised Value & Energy Efficiency: Getting It Right includes ways builders can help the buyer learn about the loan and appraisal process and help assure a competent appraiser is selected - with sample letter templates! It also provides information for lenders about hiring the right appraiser for the assignment.

Our Research on Green Home Values in Chicagoland

Visit our Chicago Green Real Estate Research page to learn how homes that achieve ENERGY STAR, LEED or HERS ratings in the Chicago area have enhanced values.  

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Improvements

YES!  There are tax credits for green / energy efficient homes. Up to $2,000 per unit!

Location, Location, Location

The old real estate phrase is enjoying new light in the phrase, Location Efficiency, which directly correlates to sustainability, bringing both economic and environmental benefits. Some tools:

  • shows you how transportation impacts the affordability and sustainability of where you live. Abogo measures the money an average household from your region living in your neighborhood would spend getting around, including car ownership, car use, and transit use.  It also tells you what the CO2 generated by this car use would be.  With this information, you can measure the true cost and impact of where you live.
  • shows heel-to-toe distances (not as the crow flies) to community services and resources such as stores, libraries, transportation, as well as parks too, giving you a feel for how walkable the location is. Also has options for a specific location’s map to be embedded on another web site – perfect for green real estate listings. And Walkscore is now automatically added into listings on some MLS systems (such as Chicago area MRED MLS and Redfin).
Incentives for Green

Federal and State, renewable energy & energy efficiency incentives:
Local Incentives for LEED (Details on incentives coming soon)

Green Financing

Energy Efficient Mortgages

More details to come on green homes' eligibility for insurance premium discounts.

Green Market Value and Appraisal

Green Market Value and Appraisal

The Toolkit to help you transform your multiple listing service (MLS) into a Green MLS that supports green features and third-party verification for homes. Green home values always start with data. If your MLS tracks green building characteristics, then appraisers will have the data needed to support adjustments to market value for green homes.

Green MLS fields

MRED searchable fields – example of the Green MLS from the greater Chicago area


The latest version of the GreenMLS Toolkit emphasizes using document back-ups to verify the data put into green fields. The impact will support fair value for green homes at resale. It ensures the flow of information from green home builder/contractor to home owner to Realtor to appraiser.

Valuing high performance houses


  • Find a green Real Estate Appraiser: Find a green appraiser or educational courses to recommend to your lender so the appraiser hired has demonstrated competency in valuation issues related to green building.
  • Green Addendum Appraisal Form: Encourage your real estate agents, appraisers, and lenders to use the optional AI Form designed to quantify the value for a high-performance, green home. For those that really want to learn more, there is a book about how this is used or download the Green Addendum.
Market Studies of Green Building
Green building and municipalities
  • Green Infrastructure: CNT and American Rivers have released a new guide that quantifies the economic value of green infrastructure’s benefits – the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective storm water management approach. The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure. The guide fills an information gap that has hampered widespread deployment of green infrastructure—the practice of managing storm water with natural systems.