Buying an eco-friendly home is a great investment; however, it can be tough to find one with the right features. When it’s time to buy a house, don’t compromise for one that falls short of your standards. The advantages of green homes include:
- Efficient use of resources like water and electricity
- Lower utility bills
- A reduced carbon footprint
Overall, you can minimize your impact on the environment and increase your savings on monthly utility bills. Here’s what to look out for when buying an eco-friendly home:
Is it Well Insulated?
If your home is under-insulated, your HVAC system will need to work overtime to maintain a consistent temperature. A portion of the indoor air will leak from drafty windows or gaps in the roof.
After making sure that the insulation meets your standards, inquire about what kind of insulation is used. Not all materials are sustainable. A material like cellulose insulation (made from recycled newspaper) is a great choice for an eco-friendly home.
Insulating your home can be costly, so it’s best to find a house that’s already properly insulated—unless you’re looking for a bargain, and willing to take some work on yourself.
Are the Appliances Energy-Efficient?
As a homeowner, you use appliances every day, from the oven to the washing machine. But the cost of these electricity-hungry machines adds up, both on your energy bill and for the planet.
We can be more conscious about our environmental impact by making smart and conservative choices about our energy usage. An Energy Star certification is a reliable measure of how efficiently an appliance uses electricity. Look for the blue logo with a star on any of the household appliances. You might be surprised at all the products you might find it on, from computers to coffee makers.
Does the Plumbing System Conserve Water?
Tankless water heaters are a great option to create an eco-friendly home. Rather than wasting energy to heat water that might go unused, they only heat water on-demand for maximum efficiency.
Water is a limited resource on our planet, so it’s important to do our part in conserving it. Low-flow faucets are an important feature in any eco-friendly home. Look for water-saving systems like toilets with two flush options or conservative showerheads.
Is the HVAC System New?
When you’re buying a home, be sure to inspect the HVAC system!
Older furnaces and air conditioners are less energy-efficient than newer ones. At Urban NW, we install heating systems in conditioned spaces so that they work smarter, not harder.
Another thing to inspect is what refrigerant the air conditioning unit uses. If it’s an older system, it might require a refrigerant known as R-22 or Freon. This substance has been found to deplete the ozone layer, which is why it’s being phased out of use. An eco-friendly home needs an AC unit that doesn’t use this harmful substance.
For even more energy efficiency, look for homes with smart and programmable thermostats. These devices allow you to set customizable schedules for your heating and cooling system. You can program the thermostat to automatically drop a few degrees during your workday or while you sleep, to conserve energy.
Are the Building Materials Sustainable?
Here are a few qualities to look for:
Reclaimed or salvaged wood
Why should we expend the energy to extract a new resource if we can get more usage out of an existing one?
Using reclaimed wood protects our forests from clear-cutting. It also prevents those materials from taking up space at a crowded landfill.
Homes built from sustainable materials have a lesser impact on our environment. These include recycled steel, bamboo, and precast concrete. Try to find homes made from locally sourced and non-toxic materials, which means that they weren’t shipped across the country (a practice that emits pollution).
LED light bulbs
These bulbs help our planet twofold:
- They last longer than incandescent bulbs, meaning less waste is produced.
- They use less energy to operate.
Known for their brightness and intensity, LED bulbs are a must-have in any eco-friendly home. If you want your home to be extra eco-friendly, try an LED smart bulb. You can customize the shade range on a mobile device to make the home literally green.
When you purchase an eco-friendly home, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re reducing your environmental impact. However, it can be tough to find a property that meets all your requirements. In that case, why not choose a custom-built home? Get in touch with us at Urban NW to learn more about our sustainable building practices.