First-of-its-Kind Partnership Brings Innovative Home Energy Certification to Central Virginia Market, Underscores Value of an Energy Efficient Home

Charlottesville, Virginia – Local real estate agency Nest Realty is teaming up with Pearl National Home Certification to assist home buyers and sellers with identifying and understanding the value of home energy improvements. The partnership, was announced today at Nest’s monthly team meeting, which included a presentation from Pearl for which agents received a continuing education credit. Pearl Certification helps homeowners recoup the value of their home energy improvements at the time of resale and buyers locate energy efficient homes in our area. The partnership also supports the City’s Energize!Charlottesville campaign by providing an additional incentive for homeowners to upgrade their property.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 5.16.18 AM“We’re extremely excited to embark on this partnership with Pearl. We’ve been educating our team and clients for years about the value of energy efficient homes. Pearl Certification and the Home Energy Asset Inventory is a great way to document a home’s value from an energy efficiency standpoint. There is tremendous value in this for the seller and the prospective buyer, and we’re glad to be offering this service,” said Jonathan Kaufman, Principal Broker at Nest Realty.

The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County have long touted the role of energy efficient homes for lowering monthly costs while also lowering carbon emissions. The City is currently competing for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize – a competition to lower municipal and residential energy use. Meanwhile, homegrown nonprofits like LEAP provide critical education and outreach to engage more homeowners in home energy upgrades. Until now these homeowners have had no official, documented way to take credit for these improvements in a real estate transaction.


Pearl CEO Cynthia Adams at the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Conference

“Both the City and County embrace robust energy efficiency goals, and local nonprofits like LEAP engage the community through home energy upgrades. Through our partnership with Nest, Pearl will close the loop by helping homeowners recoup the value of their investments at the time of resale – and by extension, validating the value of the energy efficient home in the market,” said Cynthia Adams, Pearl’s CEO.

“It’s exciting to see energy improvements become a formalized component of the home selling and buying process! Homeowners can personally enjoy the benefits of the improvements and know it is a recognized and valued investment,” said Kristel Riddervold, Environmental Sustainability Manager for the City of Charlottesville.

“Albemarle County has long supported the benefits of energy efficiency for our residents. We are pleased to see the new opportunities homeowners have to gain additional value from energy upgrades when they go to sell their homes,” said Ann Mallek, Albemarle County Supervisor.

“The hundreds of local clients LEAP has worked with know that making home energy improvements is an investment that pays back in dividends in the form of a healthier, more comfortable home and lower energy bills. And now they can very clearly add increased home value to that list,” said Andrew Grigsby, Executive Director of the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP). “It’s a win for sellers who recoup their costs, buyers who can pinpoint energy efficient homes, and our community as we work together to reduce our collective energy use.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with Pearl. Its certification of the energy efficiency of homes like mine will help distinguish properties, and also alert buyers to the value of lower utility costs and greater comfort,” said David Shellenberger, a Charlottesville-area homeowner whose home now has Pearl Certification.

Pearl is a national firm that offers homeowners access to a network of high-quality, specially trained contractors; rebates and loans to help pay for energy, health and other home improvements; and certification of homes’ energy efficient and health features. Pearl is also a Partner with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR pilot program in northern Virginia.

Nest’s partnership with Pearl includes:

  • Pearl Certification will be added as a searchable field on Nest’s web site, and certified homes will be featured on Nest’s website.
  • Nest agents will receive special training to help them educate their sellers and buyers on the value of third-party certified high performing homes.
  • Nest sellers will have access to Pearl services to help them market their energy efficient home.
  • Nest buyers will have access to Pearl’s contractor network and other special offers.

“Nest is a natural partner for Pearl, as many of their agents have been at the forefront of this movement towards valuing the high performing home,” said Adams. “These days, buyers ask to see a home’s utility bills and more are looking for homes with energy efficient features. Sellers enjoy higher resale values when they account for upgrades like high efficiency equipment, new windows, and increased insulation through a verified third party.”

Recent surveys by the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders have found that:

  • Energy efficiency is one of the top 10 remodeling trends and in the top five most desired features when buying a home
  • Nine out of 10 buyers would rather purchase a home with energy efficiency features and would be willing to pay more for it

A recent study from the Institute for Market Transformation and the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) – “What is Green Worth? Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, D.C.” –found that high-performance homes marketed with green features sell for a mean premium of 3.46 percent compared to homes without documented green features. Other regional studies have found premiums as high as 9 percent.