Green – as in saving money – is all the rage!

If you’ve been paying attention to the real estate and finance news lately you might have notice a shift in the latest green home trends.  With the state of the current economy, the new “green” has to do first with your own wallet, and the planet next.  But that’s OK because what’s good for your budget is good for the earth too.

Yahoo! Finance reported money-saving green features as one of the top 9 real estate trends for 2011.

“The buyer of today wants to make sure that the ongoing operating costs of the house are as controlled and economical as possible,” says Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of Realtors’ Council of Residential Specialists reported on Lean & Green: Green Features Still in Demand in their June magazine.

“They want to know how much energy consumption is going to remove from their pocketbook. To me, that is the true green question,” says Polly Briley, CRS, of RE/MAX on the Water in Oshkosh, Wis.

And although buyers are currently motivated more by saving money than saving the planet, it seems clear that they’ll be interested in greening their homes for many years to come.

NAR research over the past three years backs up this trend.  85 percent+ of buyers surveyed those years said heating and cooling costs were important to them.

The good news for home owners is that it’s beginning to get easier to plan projects and save money when adding energy efficient green improvements that will have long-term appeal to buyers.  For example, the Department of Energy’s BetterBuildings program will be coming to Chicagoland/Rockfordsoon, bringing together resources for understanding your home’s energy improvement opportunities and creating easy links to utility and other incentive and financing programs and qualified contractors who can do the work right to get the most energy savings.  The program called Energy Impact Illinois recently launched its information hub and will be rapidly rolling out more services from now into the fall.

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