Can green features and functionalities really add worth to homes and buildings? The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles, say yes.

The two universities recently came together to study the economic value of green home labels in California houses and released the results last week. After reviewing data from the 1.6 million single-family homes that were sold between 2007 and 2012 in California, the study determined green label residences are worth 9% more on the real estate market—indicating green homes have added value.

Energy management has become a big topic in the construction industry. Energy-management systems can run and control everything from the lighting to air conditioning systems—sometimes even based simply on factors such as natural daylighting. The appeal of this technology is fairly obvious—lower energy costs and a more comfortable living and working environment.

This particular study is based on the average California home price of $400,000 during that span of time; homes with a green label sold for an average of $34,800 more.

Areas with hotter climate valued green more, possibly due to the increased costs of keeping a home cool, and environmental ideology played a role in upping importance of green homes, as measured by the rate of registered hybrid vehicles in a particular area.

Building on the first study from the two universities, a second was compiled by the city of Los Angeles, which includes three in-depth case studies of local homes. An independent appraiser was used to determine the value of the homes, and deemed the price of the green homes to be 5.5 to 9% higher due to the environmental features.

For builders and contractors, a big decision with green building comes down to whether to put energy-management systems in place in buildings or not. Energy-management systems can add value in comfort, convenience, and cost savings. But builders, contractors, and facilities operators need to understand how these systems work in order to gain that value for the long run.