Top 5 Green Home Buying Tips
It takes a truly dedicated greenie to seek out a home that has been built with eco-friendly design in mind. And since certified green homes can come with a slightly higher price tag, you want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. However, trusting the word of a contractor can be a rather iffy proposition. And while you don’t necessarily need assurances that the structure is LEED certified, you do want to understand how it has been designed and built in keeping with your eco-friendly ideals. So what can you do to make sure that you’re getting the green home of your dreams? For starters, you’ll want to know what to look for and what questions to ask. Here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.
- Energy efficiency. There are many hallmarks of a green home, but one of the most important is energy efficiency. Ideally, you want a home that runs entirely on sustainable, alternative energy resources, or a net-zero energy home. This might entail the use of solar panels, a residential wind turbine, a geo-exchange, or all of the above. Or it may be that the home is equipped with energy-saving LED light fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, and plenty of insulation to help regulate the interior temperature. A truly comprehensive plan might even include something like a rooftop garden to counteract the urban heat island effect if your house is in an urban area. You’ll simply have to discuss the energy-saving amenities of the home with the contractor or selling agent so that you can verify during your walkthrough.
- Water conservation. If you’re into green living then you might already be aware of products like low-flow toilets and aerated faucets that can cut your water usage by a significant margin. But there are many other ways to conserve water that you can look for in new construction. For example, you might want to address the issue of watering a lawn. An eco-friendly home might feature a cistern that collects rainwater for this purpose. Or the builders may have installed a gray water system designed to filter your waste water (from sinks and showers) for use on the landscaping. There are plenty of ways to go green when it comes to preserving our drinkable water supply and you’ll want to make sure that your green home is well prepared for this task.
- Construction materials. Construction doesn’t tend to be a terribly eco-friendly process, but green construction strives to correct that situation. And part of how this is done is through the use of recycled, sustainable, and locally-sourced building materials, including wood, stone, and other natural supplies, as well as items that are manufactured in an environmentally-conscious way.
- Age and expected repairs. In case you didn’t know, eco-friendly options for homes have been in use for decades. For example, solar panels first gained national popularity during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, when he put them on the White House and then provided green tax credits for citizens making eco-friendly strides. Of course, you don’t necessarily want to inherit solar panels from the 1970s. The problem with buying an older green home is that you will likely have to renovate, or at least repair. And while you can do this in an eminently eco-friendly way, there’s bound to be unavoidable waste in the process.
- Landscaping. The first green thing most house buyers see is the greenery. Although the average buyer is looking for curb appeal, you might be seeking not only beauty in the outdoor space, but also native and drought-resistant plants that will do the least potential harm to the ecosystem and require less water to maintain. You should also keep an eye out for trees on the property that will provide your home with shade, potentially lowering the need for manufactured air to regulate the interior temperature.