Homeowners are becoming more eco-conscious by the day. From installing water-efficient appliances to solar panels, home buyers are looking to incorporate greener options into their home designs. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll need to shop for the following.
How to Find a Realtor Who Can Help You Pick the Perfect Home
Finding the right home won’t be easy without a great realtor by your side, but you need to make sure your agent specializes in the eco-friendly home market. On sites like homeandmoney.com, you can search agents based on their certifications, experience, and niche specialties.
You can also try searching for a Green MLS, which features energy-efficient homes being sold worldwide. Remember that any agent with the acronym LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) next to their name is accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Your LEED-certified agent can help you find an environmentally friendly home, but what features will they consider eco-friendly?
Here are 9 things your property needs to be considered “green.”
1. Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Green building materials have a low environmental impact, so look for properties made out of salvaged or reclaimed wood and recycled items. Precast concrete, straw bales, bamboo, and recycled steel are also considered eco-friendly and can reduce your dependency on oil and gas.
2. Energy-Efficient Walls and Roofs
Cellulose insulation, made from recycled newspapers, is more energy-efficient and safe for the environment. Ideally, you’ll insulate your entire home, including the roof, basement, and ceilings, to keep heat from escaping. If you’re buying an old house, you’ll have to replace the insulation.
3. Solar Panels Instead of Gas
It’s in your best interest to find a home with solar panels already installed on the property, as it’s cheaper and less disruptive than buying them yourself. Make sure to ask your agent when the panels were installed, how they operate, and the amount of energy they generate annually.
4. Low-Energy and Dual Pane Windows
Low energy and dual pane windows can reduce energy waste. Both provide extra insulation, which keeps your home warmer for less. If possible, consider installing dual-pane windows with a low-energy protective shield, as it’ll protect you and your home from harmful UV rays.
5. Eco-Friendly Landscaping
While grass gives your home curb appeal, that’s all it’s good for. Maintaining the grass on your lawn wastes a lot of water, so try to find a backyard with synthetic grass or wood chips. Another good option is a lawn filled with native plants that don’t need to be watered by the owner.
6. Water Efficient Plumbing and Appliances
Water consumption is a major problem in the United States. However, you can reduce your water usage in the home by installing water heaters that lead to less waste. Low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads are another great option, and so are WaterSense labeled appliances.
7. Energy-Efficient Lighting
It’s easier and cheaper nowadays to install energy-efficient lighting in the home. Homeowners can use LED lights, but that isn’t the only factor that will reduce your energy usage. Motion sensors, smart lighting, and large windows can help you waste less energy every single day.
8. Underfloor Heating
Radiators are inefficient compared to underfloor heating. Wet underfloor heating systems are the most efficient, especially when paired with a modern condensing boiler. Underfloor systems can also be coupled with solar thermal and air source heat pumps.
9. Energy Star Appliances
The blue logo with a start next to the word “energy” indicates that the appliance is energy efficient. There are plenty of products that could be Energy Star certified, like dishwashers, ceiling fans, washers and dryers, refrigerators, windows, skylights, doors, and more.