I think you back into this from total monthly housing budget and monthly cost of ownership. It's not a value add discussion so much as value lost or missed opportunity.
I think what Rick is saying is we need energy cost transparency.
Until Realtors add "monthly energy budget" under "monthly mortgage payment" and "monthly taxes" there will continue to be a disconnect. There is a LOT of information to track when buying a home, some buyers are too ignorant and/or overwhelmed by details to factor in information not in front of them.
Once they include that, then you simply calculate using current mortgage rate. For example, $100 less utilities means $20,964 more house (assumption 4% 30 year mortgage).
Unfortunately the "give as little as it takes to make the sale" approach seems all too common. Until the industry starts having a lot of deals fail due to late energy disclosure, suffering significant loss of time, I don't expect change.
This is the premise of the Save Act. The proposal "seeks to correct "blind spots" in current mortgage underwriting and home appraisal practices. Championed by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), the SAVE Act would require federal loan agencies to assess the expected energy costs for mortgage loan applicants. This can be accomplished through modest adjustments to underwriting guidelines and appraisal practices and could be implemented over a manageable period without disruption. The SAVE Act would achieve the following:
My background includes training and experience in the home peformance field, plus managing real estate, custom-home builder, and escrow offices.
We haven't found a good way to estimate the costs of operating homes, because energy use depends so much on behavior. Modifying behavior is difficult, and predicting behavior is only guessing. Add the phenomenon known as " take-back," and it becomes even more difficult. Take-back describes what happens when people switch to diet soda, and then drink so much they don't reach their goals. Take-back can and does happen with energy upgrades too.
I know we'd like to have some figures to support regulations that will boost construction and manufacturing. But there's a danger in treating models as if they gave us real-world facts. We could consistently and accurately account for energy efficiency, if home buyers were robots we could program. You're right -- we need a way to reward energy upgrades. We also need to encourage realistic expectations on all sides of the table.