One Virginia-based startup with ties to the Charlottesville community is working to help homeowners and the real estate market realize the gains of environmentally friendly and efficient features — and they are hoping to take their services to a national level.

“We need to help homeowners understand that they can make these investments in their properties and they can have a way to capture the important information about that and then … have it available for a future buyer, appraiser [or] lender so that the true value of that property can be represented in the market,” said Cynthia Adams, the co-founder of Pearl Certification.

Pearl offers certifications for homes that evaluate building shells, heating and cooling systems, appliances, smart devices and other home features. Based on the number of points a home scores, it may qualify for a Pearl silver, gold or platinum designation.

Adams, who previously worked as the executive director of the Charlottesville-based Local Energy Alliance Program, started Pearl in 2013 with Robin LeBaron, who co-founded the National Home Performance Council. They started working full time for the company in 2015.

The company is based in Vienna, but the Charlottesville area was one of Pearl’s first markets. According to Adams, Pearl has certified approximately 60 homes in the area, and about 80 local real estate agents are Pearl partners, meaning that they have received additional training on working with energy-efficient homes.

Local realtors say the program is unique because although efficiency certification programs are often geared toward new construction, Pearl also certifies existing homes.

Read the full story on Charlottesville Tomorrow.