With all of the focus on climate change being a key topic around our world at present, looking into buying, building, or upgrading your existing home to be green is a great way to save money, increase potential buyers and preserve our environment at the same time as well.
So, What is a Green Home?
A “green home” — also called high performance, eco-friendly or energy-efficient homes — uses less energy, water, and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the people living inside and our environment, compared to a standard home.
While some homes are certified as “green” by housing or environmental groups, properties don’t necessarily have to carry a certified label to be considered green.
Essentially, what all of these “green homes” have in common are sustainable systems and features that:
- Lower utility bills
- Improve overall health and comfort
- Minimize the impact on the planet
Benefits of a Green Home
Preservation of our planet is already an important reason to go green, yet there are also excellent financial reasons to go green as well:
LOWER WATER BILLS
Low flow faucets and showerheads, efficient irrigation systems, dual flush toilets, and managing the stormwater on-site — will save you money over time with lower water bills.
LOWER ENERGY BILLS
Better insulation, efficient heating and cooling, tight ductwork, sealed doors and windows, and efficient lighting and appliances — will save you money over time with lower electric and gas bills.
HEALTHY INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Paints, adhesives, sealants, and finishes that are low Volatile organic compounds (VOC), so they don’t smell and cause respiratory illness, means we breathe clean air. It also means non-toxic pest control, non-toxic household cleaners, and mold prevention, leading to better indoor air quality — which saves your health on doctors’ visits and money.
Higher quality, environmentally conscious building methods are used that last longer than comparable products. Over time, saving you money in maintenance and replacement costs.
INCREASE YOUR HOMES APPEAL & VALUE
A National Association of Realtors® (NAR) survey of home buyers revealed that 68% of buyers want an environmentally friendly home; 46% would pay an extra $1,000 to $9,999 on a home with green features that saves $1,000 annually on utilities, and 37% would pay $10,000 or more.
Looking to Buy a Green Home?
When you’re looking at a home with “green” energy-efficient features, here’s a short checklist of considerations:
- Energy efficiency in-home features like appliances, water faucets, lighting, heating, cooling, and water heating systems
- Efficient building envelopes with high-performance windows and well-insulated walls, floors, and attics
- Non-toxic building materials and finishes, such as recycled or renewable woods and low-and-zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants
- Landscape featuring native plants that thrive without chemical fertilizers or excessive watering
- Location efficiency, meaning a community where public transportation and the needs of daily life are accessible, without a car.
Upgrading your Home to be Green
For existing homeowners, there’s a vast array of strategies for achieving greater energy efficiency.
They include small, inexpensive upgrades, like installing low-flow water faucets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and programmable thermostats.
In addition, less visible elements, such as efficient insulation and air sealing, create a more comfortable, less drafty interior environment.
And bigger, more costly projects — high-efficiency furnaces, solar panels, and triple-pane windows, for example — often provide more significant financial and environmental gains.
Newly Built Green Homes
Newly constructed homes are being built to high standards that embrace green principles.
Many builders now take a scientific, whole-building approach to ensure that a property’s design, layout, and systems work in concert to create a functional, comfortable setting that addresses environmental concerns.
Ready for a Green Home?
As a NARGreen® compliant Realtor, Dave Futch recognizes the importance of sustainable living and is a trusted advisor and source of information on green homes in Maui.