We’re very much intrigued by the white paper released yesterday by Michelle Kaufmann Companies. Officially entitled "Nutrition Labels for Homes: A Way for Homebuyers to Make More Ecological, Economical Decisions," the white paper presents the case for a universal label for homes. Note that last sentence, though. This isn’t a label for just green homes, it’s a label for all homes. It’s a universal label to educate people on a home’s sustainability (or unsustainability) profile. Every home gets a label — you can imagine the power this gives buyers and green home sellers.
You can also imagine how powerless it makes non-green home sellers. There will likely be some push back from some homeowners, but only from the ones that have the most to lose (i.e., those that own energy hogs, inefficient McMansions, sprawling monster homes and the like).
Those that invest in sustainable home improvements will likely fetch a return on their investment, though, so these labels could be an impetus to a thorough and enormous market transformation.
The UK has a version of nutrition labels called the Energy Performance Certificate. Over there, all large buildings in the UK will be required to display their EPCs in a prominent location. The EPC is different from the version discussed in this white paper, though, because it provides an estimate of the potential for improvement based on installing certain upgrades. But the general idea and concept is the same.
What do you think about home nutrition labels or sustainability labels? How would you popularize them? How do you make sure the information in each sustainability label is consistent, label to label? How do you get homeowners to support them? Any thoughts?