Portland’s real-estate database makes it easy to search for green homes

Realtors in and around Portland, Ore., will soon be able to search more easily for homes that have met national green-building standards. Starting in 2007, houses certified by LEED, Energy Star, and other such programs will be searchable in Portland’s authoritative Regional Multiple Listing Service. Added amenities like on-site solar power and high-efficiency furnaces will be searchable individually. “People increasingly want energy efficiency in their homes, indoor air quality, and lower energy bills. This gives them the ability to find those features and a mainstream tool, which is important,” says Terry Miller of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development. Advocates hope that the new policy will benefit low- and middle-income buyers; lenders may be willing to give bigger loans for energy-efficient homes, as money saved on electric bills could potentially go toward paying a higher mortgage.