9 Eco-Friendly Home Features to Check for When Buying a House

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.

bamboo as a construction material

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.

solar-based landscape lighting

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.

Reasons to Convert to LED Lighting

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.

4 Ways Businesses Can Become More Sustainable

You’ve probably heard the word “sustainable” many times by now, but you may wonder what it has to do with your business. Sustainable business means that you’ll be you’ll be increasing the odds that you company can continue indefinitely by minimizing social and environmental impacts while ensuring financial stability. Studies have shown that sustainable business perform better financially, including one report by nonprofit CDC, reported by The Guardian that found they secure an 18% greater return on investment (ROI) than organizations that aren’t, and 67% more than companies who refuse to. How can you help your business become more sustainable?

green-economy

1. Think Greener in Procurement Sources

One of the best, and easiest, things you can do to make your business more sustainable is to practice environmentally-friendly procurement. Take a close look at your current suppliers and make changes as necessary by using suppliers that don’t use excessive packaging or sell products that contain substances that are harmful to the environment.

As often as possible, choose recycled items made from renewable material. Ask plenty of questions when researching various suppliers to find out where their goods are coming from, including whether the manufacturer is a sustainable business.

Whenever possible, use local suppliers, rather than purchasing online.

2. Seek Help from an Energy Broker

An increasing number of businesses are embracing renewable energy and energy management today. Your office can be powered with a variety of alternative sources like biomass, hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind power. There are hundreds of companies that supply energy in a myriad of different ways, affecting your bottom line and sustainability.

While there are usually a few suppliers dominating any given market, many other small suppliers are known for getting more creative in their offerings. Trying to figure out which one is best for your organization can be a very difficult task which is why using an energy broker who is knowledgeable about all the complexities that come with this sector, can best analyze the energy market to provide you with the greenest, most cost-effective options.

3. Reduce Water Usage

Water shortages are becoming an increasingly bigger problem in many places around the world, including North America. Whether your organization is located in a drought-stricken area or not, decreasing water use will help to conserve a valuable resource and help you save money at the same time.

Instead of using a sprinkler system to keep lush lawns around the building, switch to a drip irrigation system to significantly reduce water usage or consider changing the landscaping to something more drought tolerant. Fix plumbing leaks and dripping taps and install low-flow faucet aerators in your bathrooms.

4. Switch From Gas To Electricity

Electricity is much easier to source sustainably than gas and oil, especially if you use solar panels to collect energy from the sun. So by switching over some of your gas-powered company owned equipment to their electric counterparts you can ultimately help your business become more sustainable.

Some equipment to consider switching could include: switching from gas powered to electric vehicles (especially for companies that rely heavily on transportation), switching from gas-powered to electric-powered riding mowers (especially for landscaping businesses).

As there are so many different types of lawn mowers available, sites like home gear expert show us interesting comparisons which will help you find the one which best matches your needs.

A good electric riding mower with good user ratings will cost you a couple thousand dollars but could save you money in the long term plus make your business more sustainable.