The real estate industry may be having a tough time these days, but there are many people searching for a home to buy. Whether you are a novice in home buying or a seasoned homebuyer, it is necessary for you to remember that home buying is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. The style, size and the location of your home and your plans with it can create a big impact on your life.
In looking for a home, try to take into consideration the advantages of a green home. Green or eco-friendly homes help in preserving the environment, and it will cost you less in the end. The advantages of a green home includes greater energy efficiency, reduction in pollution, healthier indoor air, lower maintenance costs and preservation of natural resources such as water and the native habitats. A green home also maintains its value even in today’s low real estate market, appraising up to fifteen percent than a standard conventional home.
How do you determine if the home you are planning to buy is a green home? You would be able to find out if it has the following features:
1. A green home should possess air quality enhancing feature
2. It should have a U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certified rating.
3. Appliances that are energy efficient such as Energy Star appliances
4. Low emissivity and double paned windows
5. Native, drought-tolerant landscaping
6. Makes use of solar power or natural lighting from the sun
7. Low-flow toilets
8. On-demand hot water system and water saving showerheads
9. It uses paints, adhesives and stains with low or zero volatile organic compounds to improve indoor air quality.
10. It should have deciduous trees growing on the south and west parts of the house.
11. It makes use of structural panel systems and eco-roofing systems.
12. The home should “breathe” naturally, built with sustainable materials like adobe, straw-bale, rammed earth or insulated concrete forms.
13. Native, drought-tolerant landscaping and rain-catchment or gray water system
14. A green home is smaller than a conventional home. Since this requires few construction materials, it leaves less damage on the environment.
Remember that these homes are constructed, designed and operated using resources what create the least negative effect on nature. You can verify if the home is certified through one of the many green building programs such as the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Program, Austin Energy’s Green Building Program rating system. There are also programs for new and existing homes through Energy Star, a joint program by the Environment Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. They provide certification standards and give you recommendations on how to make a home that is more energy-efficient.
You could also have a third-party home energy rater check the energy features of a home. There are some recommendations on the website of Austin Energy, Energy Star and the National Association of Home Builders green programs.
You should also choose a real estate agent who knows a great deal about green homes, healthy home building practices and environmental issues to be able to help you look for the right green home for you.
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