When you hear the suggestion to buy a “green” home, bear in mind it doesn’t mean you should buy a house that is physically painted green. Living green these days refers to being more mindful of the environment and working to lessen your carbon footprint. If you have the opportunity to move into a new home, why not consider making a fresh start by doing everything you can to create an environmentally-friendly place to live? You’ll find it’s not expensive to do, and it can help reduce clutter and increase homeowner satisfaction when you discover how much money you can save.
Searching for a Green Home
As real estate agencies become more knowledgeable on green living, you may find it easy to spot the most important elements needed to make an environmentally-friendly house. As you tour potential residences with a Realtor, look for the more obvious signs:
The exterior: What does the house look like? An eco-friendly home will be covered with paint that is low in toxicity and therefore doesn’t release deadly toxins into the air, or use a “green” style of siding. Fiber cement siding, for example, expends less energy in manufacture than vinyl, and is less toxic.
Insulation: In school we remembered the three R’s. When buying a home, you just need to know the R factor. This calculates how quickly heat is conducted across a surface. A home with little to no insulation is more likely to absorb the heat, moisture and cold air from outside, resulting in a low R factor. When looking for a home, you want to be certain the insulation rates at a high R factor. A well-insulated home protects you from the elements, and can help reduce heating and cooling bills.
Also, check the windows. Are they double-hung, insulated, and installed correctly? If so, not only will the windows reduce the amount of UV rays filtered into the home, but they also provide for easy use and natural ventilation. The larger the windows in the home, the better the opportunity for natural lighting, which lessens the needs for electricity.
Flooring: Definitely check for hard-surface flooring in the homes you visit. Eco-friendly hardwood and similar styles are simpler to clean and maintain than carpet, and do not absorb as much moisture. Should something spill on a carpet, chances are it will remain there even after cleaning, and increase the risk of mold. However, if prefer a carpeted home, you may wish to look for carpets made without artificial dyes and installed with non-toxic glues.
Plumbing: It’s a fact that the less water you use, the lower your bill. Low-flow plumbing fixtures are also eco-friendly, as they require less energy to use and prevent waste. You may also want to see if the home has a tankless water system, which allows for instant heating of water so you don’t waste time waiting for water to heat when you need it.
Your home is your castle, and the planet is a vast kingdom that needs to be preserved for future generations. As you search for a new home, take the time to ask about environmentally friendly features. A green home not only helps to conserve energy and natural resources, but it can also preserve your own “green.”