Global trend of green housing takes shape in Israel

Green housing in Israel to save 25% in electricity consumption.

By BUYITINISRAEL.COM
October 21, 2010 12:05
2 minute read.
Green House

Green House 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

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For most Israel real estate contractors (‘kablanim‘), environmentally friendly construction has in recent years not been much more than a popular logo or slogan adorning signs or brochures. The global trend of green housing mainly in residential building could now slowly be starting to take shape in Israel.

Israel already has a “green building standard” in place which works something like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) does in the USA, but is completely voluntary and not binding and does not include any financial incentives. The standard was launched in 2005 and covers issues like energy, water, land, waste and transport. At the same time, the government is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in a number of ways out of which the encouragement of green building could be a major one.

For this reason, the Association of Contractors & Builders is promoting a national plan for government incentives to encourage green construction and the transformation of existing houses into energy efficient buildings through tax benefits and additional construction rights as is customary in other countries. Surveys in the US have shown that green houses sell about 30% faster than conventional projects and for about 20% more money.

Home owners in Israel turning their homes into green and energy efficiant buildings and buyers of green houses could get incentives and benefits from the government and may be able to save up to 25% in electricity and energy costs. The savings per household could amount to an estimated NIS 6,000 a year thanks to water recycling, advanced heating and cooling as well as other elements such as improved insulation.

Over the next decade, green construction is expected to reduce the electricity consumption of households by 570 million kilowatt or NIS 330 million according to figures published recently by Geocartography Institute, the leading consultancy & applied-research institute in Israel.

At the same time though, green construction is estimated to add an average of NIS 20,000 to the price of an apartment and therefore the Association of Contractors & Builders is urging the government to adopt tax breaks and incentives for buyers of green housing.  According to the proposed plan, additional construction rights will be given for buildings constructed in line with the green building standard. Furthermore, the government will offer buyers tax breaks on the purchase tax of houses built according to the green building code. Another benefit will include a tax break on value-added-tax for apartment buyers of new green housing, as well as a tax credit for buyers of second-hand homes in green buildings.

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