A tankless hot water heater at a SC Integrity property at 1637 Whipple St.

Chalk one up for the green homes of Chicago.

Washington introduced a bill with strong backing from the real estate business that would provide larger mortgages and could lower interest rates for homebuyers interested in purchasing energy efficient homes, the New York Times reported.

Even though energy efficient homes can save homebuyers money in the long haul, many shy away from the hefty price tags often associated with retrofitting properties with green components such as tankless hot-water heaters, solar panels, higher efficiency furnaces, etc.   RE/MAX agent and Steele Consulting Group CEO Hasani Steele said the investors and developers he have worked with have absorbed the cost for energy efficient components delivered so far.   Prices for construction materials are increasing, and this bill can only help in the continued effort to offer more green components in newly developed real estate.

“Green technology offers long term savings and many times an increase in the initial installation costs, ” Steele said. “Many times people may find it challenging to rationalize those costs in the short term. “This bill helps investors’ and consumers’ abilities to finance these costs in the short term.”

Steele most recently worked with developers to install tankless hot water heaters at The Kingsford Estates on 5044 S. Michigan Ave as well as a Modern Intelligence Series home at 1911 N. Albany. The energy efficient water heaters use gas on demand, unlike traditional water heaters that constantly “sip” gas. This results in a considerable long term savings for consumers.

Steele worked with the Chicago Construction Group to replace the 2″  gas supply lines with 5-6″ lines to provide a larger supply for all tankless hot water heaters to run seamlessly at the same time.  Tankless hot water heaters require a larger volume of gas on demand than standard hot water heaters. This additional cost of enlarging gas supply lines can be easily overlooked when planning a green condo development.

Although Steele estimates it will take years for energy savings to cover installment costs, he said he expects more homebuyers to be on the lookout for green homes as they continue to become more affordable.

“There are people who will gladly pay more for a home with green components,” Steele said. “This bill makes it easier and more affordable to do so.”