Pearl Certification And Your Home’s Value

There is no way around it, maintaining a home is a massive undertaking. It takes patience, hard work, and considerable planning. However, if certain aspects of home upkeep are handled routinely, significant advantages can be seen at the time of sale. This can include everything from getting regular maintenance, such as power washing or repainting, to obtaining efficiency certifications, such as Pearl. Some of these upgrades not only improve efficiency, but can actually generate profit in avoided utility costs, as solar does. This often increases the value of the home by a significant percentage and when it comes time to sell, you’re one step ahead in the market. We will be focusing on the PEARL Solar Certification in the following pages.

What Is Pearl Certification?

Pearl Certification is a national firm that provides third-party certification of high-performing homes: homes with “performance assets” that make them healthy, safe, comfortable, energy and water efficient. Pearl Home Certification, which has raised more than $4.5 million from private and institutional investors, was accepted into the prestigious National Association of Realtors Reach Accelerator program in 2017.

The certification is highly regarded for two main reasons. The first is the partnership that it has with the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Pearl is the only private certification firm to sponsor the program. The second reason is the strong partnerships that the certification holds, including with ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Building Performance Institute, the National Association of Realtors, the Appraisal Institute, and Efficiency First.

How Does The Pearl Certification Work?

Pearl focuses on a few specific areas of the home, including the building shell, heating and cooling, electrical baseload, home management, and of course, solar. A homeowner can apply for certification on their own, or a contractor making an upgrade can apply as a value added service, as mtvSolar intends to do upon request for new solar installations in the West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania service area.

If you as a homeowner want to apply for certification, prior to starting the process, Pearl suggests that homeowners take the pre-qualification survey. This brief assessment helps to identify whether a home will likely qualify for the certification or not. In other words, it saves both the assessor and the homeowner time. It asks questions about when the home was built, its heating fuel, if it has a solar energy system, and whether it was built to a higher standard (i.e. ENERGY STAR, HERS Index Score, etc.). At the moment, one of the reasons that Pearl Certification may not be able to certify a home is because of the state it is located in. Although Pearl is able to serve more than 100 million homes across America, there are still some states that the firm is expanding into. Pearl is available, however, in all states in which mtvSolar operates.

Once the pre-qualification survey is passed, homeowners can schedule a certification visit. During the visit, a professional awards a set number of points for every high-performing asset in the home. These assets include smart thermostats, solar power systems, ENERGY STAR appliances, insulation in the walls and attic, and heating and cooling systems.

The certification is very precise in terms of how it awards points. It does not view all high-performing equipment equally. The assets that are higher quality and more efficient are given more points. For example, double-pane windows do get some points, but double-pane low-e windows are awarded more, and triple-pane are awarded even further. Every type of asset has a similar weighting system.

Once the points are awarded and added up, there are three levels of certification possible. The lowest level sits at 700 points. Homes that receive this many points are called Pearl Silver Certified. These homes need to either have insulation or strong heating and cooling features. The next level of certification is Pearl Gold, at 825 points. These homes are often more modern and have very good heating and cooling, as well as a good building shell/insulation. The top level is Pearl Platinum at 975 points. These homes will go beyond qualifying as Pearl Gold by also having efficient and smart appliances, lighting, monitoring devices and solar panels.

mtvSolar will apply for the Pearl Solar Certification on every customer’s behalf if requested during contract negotiations. The Pearl Solar Certification will be listed with Pearl as a Pearl Certified Asset, covering the solar panels, inverters, EV chargers and batteries if applicable.

The Benefits Of Pearl Certification

Pearl Certification is about much more than a slip of paper that states just how efficient and safe a home is. It allows for more clarity and understanding, both for the homeowner and for any potential home buyers. There are a handful of other benefits that can be associated with the certification as well.

  1. Increased Home Value

While certification proving the efficiency of a home will always assist in the valuation process, Pearl Certified homes are regularly valued higher. In fact, a recent study found that when a home is Pearl Certified, it sells for 5% more. In the end, this means that a homeowner can walk away with thousands of extra dollars in their pocket. Your Pearl solar certification will come with an accompanying letter for an appraiser, assisting them in the understanding of how solar has a tangible value. Without this letter and Pearl certification, many appraisers don’t understand the value of solar and can’t consider it in the final number.

  1. Increased Home Performance

When an assessor reviews a home for certification, it is very similar to an energy audit—just on a much broader scale. It not only looks at the home’s energy performance, but also how healthy, comfortable, and safe it is. This comprehensive review allows the assessor to provide feedback to the homeowner. Not only will they provide an accurate score, but they can also let the homeowner know about additional improvements that they could make. These improvements will both help the home earn more points needed to reach a higher Pearl Certified level and also end up saving the homeowner money by making the home more efficient and more salable.

  1. Easily Combined With Home Improvement Upgrades

Pearl has partnered with the best contractors around the country to combine services. Pearl handpicks a handful of elite professionals in each city to be a part of its Advantage Network. These contractors are stringently screened for their customer engagement processes, consumer ratings, quality control processes, and professional training.

In the end, using a Pearl Advantage Contractor allows consumers to rest easy, knowing that they are getting the best and most reliable product available from a reputable contractor. Additionally, after the contractor has completed installation, they provide a Pearl Certification report and documentation for appraisal as an extra benefit to the client.

Mountain View Solar is your local Pearl Advantage Contractor. With the installation of any solar power or energy storage system, customers will receive a Pearl Solar Certification for their array. Not only are they getting enhanced efficiency for their home from a contractor that they can trust, but they are also getting documentation that will enhance the value of their home.

For more information on the Pearl Certification, the Pearl Solar Certification, or Mountain View Solar, please contact us today! Our team of zero-pressure consultants can answer any questions that you may have and conduct a free site evaluation.

Here is an authentic Pearl Certification Report (personal info redacted):

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Fuel Your Electric Car From The Sun

Even during an outage!

With the meteoric rise in costs of gasoline being fueled by current world events, the time has never been better to consider a shift from fossil fuels to electricity for transportation.

EV Plugged in

The popularity of electric cars has skyrocketed; news outlets love to track the rapid rise of Tesla and its luxury vehicles. In addition to purely electric cars, there are many varieties of plug-in hybrid cars that are reducing dependency on gasoline and diesel such as the Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt.  Aside from Tesla, all major automobile manufacturers now have at least one electric vehicle offering to choose from, including sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

While it’s true that even coal-fired power plants generate power more efficiently than a single combustion engine, electric cars still rely on energy that produces greenhouse gasses in most areas. If you are powering your car via a home outlet rather than the gas pump, those watts still cost money, though much less per mile than traditional fuel would, and still cleaner than burning gasoline or diesel.

One of the ways to truly get the most sustainability and financial benefit from your electric car is to install a solar photovoltaic energy system on your home or office building alongside the EV (electric vehicle) chargers.

Powering an electric car with your home or office PV system will speed up the ROI, and projects to pay for itself within 7 to 10 years, according to EnergySage, despite the extra cost for solar panels. Given that mtvSolar’s quality solar panels will produce usable power for over 40 years, there will be many years in which this system is paid off and generating extra benefits.

As more electric cars are added to the roads, solar-powered electric car charging stations are cropping up, sometimes free for public use. Large businesses are adding EV chargers to encourage their employees to drive to work with an electric car. As these items grow more and more common, they further reduce the cost to an electric car owner.  mtvSolar has installed a few such chargers around our service area.

Public Solar Charging Station

With a grid-tie system, even when not using all the electricity generated for the home and electric car, one can be putting energy back into the utility grid for others to use, adding to the savings. Net metering gives a special benefit to solar energy producers.

Generally speaking, one needs to charge their car after work, at night, when the sun is down. Even so, an electric car can be powered by the sun.

In West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the laws are such that residents who produce solar power during the day at their homes can get back the excess during the night at a 1-to-1 ratio. “Net metering” refers to measuring how much energy left the grid and entered the grid from a particular home over the course of a month and finding the net change. This means a customer is only charged for the total extra energy pulled from the grid. In the event of overproduction, the owner is given an energy credit to be used later.

The bottom line is that even though the exact same electrons an array produced during the day aren’t the same ones charging the car at night, the utility acts like a giant battery, effectively storing the daytime solar energy for use at night.

When you upsize your solar capacity enough to accommodate one or two electric cars, you do incur additional costs, but you also cut the gasoline or public electric-charge costs, generating a steady stream of savings. Electric vehicles provide other benefits, including requiring much less maintenance, and solar energy systems also qualify for valuable tax credits that make your money back even faster.

A solar power system and an electric car are investments, but they are investments that compound the positive returns for each other.  Let’s take a look at an example on how the typical American can gain vehicle energy independence.

On average, electric cars consume 34.6kWh to travel 100 miles, or 0.346kWh to travel 1 mile.  The typical driver drives around 13,500 miles per year.  The total kWh then needed to charge a commuter’s electric car is 4,671kWh annually based on that 34.6kWh per 100 miles average.  A solar array of around 3.5kW will produce enough power to recharge the car for free over the course of a year.  And since the quality solar modules installed by mtvSolar are warrantied for 25 years and expected to last decades longer, your clean energy source will outlive the life of the typical car a few times over.

Solar Charging in WV

But what happens when the power goes out?  Modern solar technologies such as SolarEdge EnergyHub or Tesla PowerWall can charge your car during an outage.  The SolarEdge solution is the most leading edge of all current technologies, allowing direct conversion of solar energy to power for the car charger, without drawing down house batteries or being converted by the inverter.  mtvSolar has extensive experience installing solar powered electric car chargers that can operate during an outage.

Maintenance costs on electric cars are minimal, with costs for oil changes, spark plugs, exhaust system, and fan belts non-existent. This means less money spent on maintenance, and also means less materials used in total to operate your car, furthering your reduction of your carbon footprint. Even brakes last much longer as modern electric cars use a system known as regenerative braking, feeding energy back into the battery each time you stop. And last, once the car battery packs are past their useful life, they can have a second life as stationary storage or be recycled.  In fact, mtvSolar is installing systems right now that use recycled EV batteries for stationery purposes.

Want to know more about how to combine solar and an electric car charger? We install quality solar modules, car chargers, and home batteries regularly, using the safest technology on the market.  Contact us today for a FREE consultation: