Eco-friendly homes don’t just support the environment. They can also reduce baby boomers’ utility bills, and that can make ‘green’ design features a key selling point for downsizer properties. We explain the key advantages that selling agents can share with buyers.

Retirement is a time in life when the need to be mindful of household expenses and budgeting becomes critical.

For retirees on a fixed income, the prospect of rising utility bills can be especially daunting, bringing Dickensian images to mind of a retirement spent huddled in blankets rather than using a watt-guzzling heater to stay cosy. And it turns out these concerns could be justified.

1 in 2 boomers reveal green appeal

In July 2017, consumer group Choice warned that energy providers will increase electricity and gas prices by up to $400 a year – increases that come at a time when Australians identify the cost of electricity as their greatest concern among household living expenses[1].

With this in mind, the energy-saving features of a downsizer property can hold significant interest for buyers. But it’s not just hip pocket appeal.

A global study by Nielson found 51% of boomers are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings[2]. Interestingly, among these eco-minded boomers, the ‘green’ appeal of a product far outweighed price considerations.

According to the Green Building Council Australia, the benefits of eco-friendly buildings stack up.

Green homes put money in the pockets of home owners through savings on energy and water costs[3]. They can be more comfortable to live in year-round, and features such as good ventilation, low-toxic materials and abundant daylight, have been proven to improve the health and wellbeing of residents[4].

Eco-friendly features worth pointing out

So, what sort of green home features can appeal to downsizers?

A high ‘green star’ rating is a good starting point especially on newer developments. Many homes are designed with inbuilt “green” features to improve energy performance, including site orientation, and building materials, as well as solar energy panels and other obvious energy saving fittings and fixtures. The presence of appliances with high energy ratings is another plus.

But even at a modest level, simple features like abundant natural lighting, the presence of exterior shading, low-flow water fittings, rain water tanks, solar hot water, a favourable aspect and good cross-ventilation should not be overlooked by selling agents.

These types of energy saving features aren’t always obvious in the way that an interior colour scheme is. But it’s worth drawing attention to them as a key selling point. They can enhance a home’s comfort and help to reduce utility bills – and chances are, green features are high on the wish list of buyers that you are guiding through downsizer properties.

Author: Greg Oddy from