What to Look For When Shopping for a Green Home
Buying a green or eco-friendly home is one of the best ways to reduce one’s environmental footprint. However, buyers have so many home features to consider they can easily overlook the eco-friendly aspects of potential homes. It can also be difficult to spot the eco features that will have the most positive impact on a buyer’s budget and on the planet.
Below are the top nine home features for buyers to consider during their house hunt.
1. Size isn’t everything
Bigger isn’t always better: The smaller a home, the less energy it will take to heat and cool. The less energy required, the less the owner has to pay in bills and the lower the environmental footprint will be. Best of all, owners do not have to change any habits to conserve energy when they purchase a smaller home.
2. Location, location, location
All house hunters know that location is a big consideration, but it’s even more important for eco-house buyers. The distance and nature of a buyer’s commute make up a big chunk of the buyer’s environmental footprint. The closer a buyer lives to work and local amenities, the better.
3. Powering a home
A conventional home is powered by fossil fuels – whether it’s directly burning gas or using electricity from a power plant. Conventional homes can be improved by using an independent energy system (most likely solar panels) or by choosing a renewable energy tariff.
Check out local energy suppliers or calculate a home’s renewable energy potential before committing to the purchase.
The better a home is insulated, the less energy and money necessary to keep it warm. Find out whether there’s any insulation in the loft or walls of a home (blanket insulation is best), and check the windows and doors for drafts.
5. Water footprint
Choosing water-light appliances and a dual flush toilet system are the best ways to reduce water use. Look into rainwater capture systems and find out whether a potable/non-potable water system is feasible.
6. Know the lingo
There are a lot of independent certifications out there to help guide greenhouse hunters. Unfortunately, the certifications are difficult to understand, a bit like learning a new language.
Most new homes are ranked according to their green credentials, but there are several different certification systems, and a home’s performance can be inconsistent. Take the time to learn the jargon early in the house-hunting process to save time and energy. Start with this guide to green homes labels.
8. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Buyers should look for homes that allow them to adopt more environmentally-friendly behaviors to reduce impact. For instance, decorating a new home with used furniture is a great way to recycle. Choose window coverings that let the most amount of light in to reduce electricity needs. Or, choose a home with plenty of space for recycling bins, countertop compost containers and bicycles.
9. Garden friendly
Purchase a home with eco-friendly outdoor space as well. Avoid buying a home with a big, water-intensive lawn. Instead, choose a home with a garden where different plants support biodiversity. Look for trees and high hedges to provide natural protection from the heat and cold.