“When the sellers of a recently renovated Victorian farmhouse came to me, I thought you know, I think this home is a green home, and if not we could be really close,” said Kimberly Kinsel, a full-time REALTOR®️ in the Napa Valley Area of California with a National Association of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation and GreenPoint Rated Training. The farmhouse, built in 1878, by Zenas Garfield, a Napa County Supervisor, was originally built on more than five hundred acres of orchard. The family that owns the home bought it almost 50 years ago, and began renovations in 2017 and completed in 2018. Although the renovations were meant to bring the home into the 21st century, the owners were careful to preserve and replicate as many of the charming Victorian era details as possible.
Kinsel’s training with GreenPoint Rated Elements for Existing Homes, guided her to identify and measure the home’s features using the GreenPoint Rated system. Kinsel recognized that many of the updates the owners did during the renovation met the green standard, and after performing the Rating on the home, the home was awarded a GreenPoint Rated certification. Many of the features that make the home green are also considered to be smart home features such as a smart thermostat that can be controlled from a homeowner’s smartphone, a video intercom doorbell that can also be accessed on a phone, and other smart features that people don’t usually associate with being green.
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When Kinsel tells people about the GreenPoint Rating system they often assume that it means the home has to have solar panels. While solar is an integral part of the GreenPoint Rating system, it’s not the only part, nor is it even required to get a home GreenPoint Rated. The GreenPoint Rated system is based off five required categories: Energy Efficiency, Community, Resource Conservation, Indoor Air Quality, and Water Conservation. Each category is broken down into measures or “features” of the home. The GreenPoint Rater then tallies up the points in each category to see if the minimum number of points is achieved. While many of the points come from larger heating and ventilation systems or major appliances like Energy Star washers and dryers, others are from easy-to-add items like dimming light switches, built-in under-counter recycling centers, and energy efficient shower heads. Striving for, or achieving, a green home is as beneficial for the home’s inhabitants as it is for the environment, meaning better air quality for residents of all ages, lower utility bills, less maintenance, and more comfort. So when Kinsel saw the opportunity with this 1878, true working farmhouse, she was very excited about the possibility to get the home GreenPoint Rated.
“I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to have this story of a Victorian farmhouse goes green. The juxtaposition of the old and the new could really show that going green is possible with any type of home,” said Kinsel.
Kinsel says that when it comes to working with buyers and sellers in today’s home market many benefit from education about what a green home really means. She teaches her clients about energy efficiency in the home, and how it can be tied to a better quality of life and lower energy bills. “When I explain what a green home is by talking about energy efficiency and the benefits it is well received, especially when I explain how easy changes will make a big difference and it really doesn’t take a lot,” said Kinsel.
Renovations and features that helped the Victorian Farmhouse achieve a GreenPoint Rating include:
- ENERGY STAR Smart Thermostat
- ENERGY STAR Ceiling Fans and Light Kits
- Insulated Hot Water Pipes
- Upgraded Windows
- Durable Flooring
- LED Lighting Throughout the Home
- Lighting Controls
- Build-In Recycling Center
- WaterSense Showerheads
- Large Stature Trees on Property
- Non-Combustible Siding
The home may have went through recent renovations but it is in the very nature of the original home. In some ways, the home came from a simpler way of life “to me, the Victorian farmhouse started off as a green home by necessity of the time, and now it has come back to this way of living again, it’s going back to its roots,” says Kinsel.