An Introduction to Green Home Features For Green Homebuyers
Green homes are better for the occupant’s health, costs less to operate and have a lower negative impact on the environment when compared to standard home designs that are not green. This article will summarize some of the key green home features to help inform green home buyers and assist with making better green home buying decisions.
Green homebuyers are advised to work with an agent skilled in sustainable real estate practices. These agents have received specialized training on issues of energy-efficiency, resource conservation, and other environmental practices related to green homes.
A certified EcoBroker or an agent with NAR’s Green Designation are two examples certified green home training programs for real estate agents. Some agents have gone further to obtain the LEED Green Associate or the LEED for Homes Accredited Professional certifications.
Green homebuyers can look for homes that are Energy Star Rated or LEED certified and be assured their new home will provide some variation of green home benefits. The exact degree of the benefits will vary depending on the particular characteristics of each individual home.
There are also many homes on the market with green benefits that are not Energy Star Rated or LEED certified. These homes may have similar characteristics of a certified home and may sometimes represent an even better value to homebuyers.
The following summary of green home features can help green homebuyers begin to understand what to look for in a green home. Even if the green home is certified, green homebuyers will benefit from becoming familiar with the basic features of green homes.
Location: Green homes avoid environmentally sensitive locations such as wetlands or areas that may threaten endangered species. Development with an average density of 6 units per acre is preferred. Locations within walking or bicycle distance of public transportation, shopping, parks, and schools are most ideal.
Size: A larger home consumes more energy and natural resources regardless of how many green features it may have. Green homebuyers are advised to avoid homes any larger than is actually needed.
Building Design: This is a big subject area but some of the basic features include an orientation that makes the best use of sun for warmth in winter months and natural light year around. Use of shading devices to manage sunlight in summer months is also helpful. Double pane windows improve energy-efficiency. A light colored roof helps reduce heat absorption.
Green Building Materials: Green homes are constructed with nontoxic materials, fixtures and furnishings. This includes low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues and sealants. Natural materials for flooring and countertops are preferred. Ideally, green homes will also include the use of salvaged and/or recycled materials.
Insulation: More is better when it comes to insulation. Nontoxic materials are preferred. A well insulated home with a tight building envelope—low or no thermal leakage—will make efficient use of energy used for indoor heating and cooling.
Windows and Doors: Energy Star rated windows and doors are preferred. Professional installation that is tightly sealed to avoid thermal leakage is extremely important.
Energy Efficiency: The most common feature of green homes is energy efficiency achieved by high performance lighting, heating, cooling and water-heating systems. Energy star rated appliances are a must.
Water Efficiency: Green homes use landscaping with water-conserving irrigation systems in addition to low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for water conservation. Rainwater collection and use and grey water systems can provide a huge improvement of water efficiency in green homes.
Indoor Light and Air Quality: Green homes make good use of natural daylight whenever possible. Adequate ventilation is needed to provide plentiful fresh air inside the home without losing energy. HVAC systems should filter incoming air and recycle indoor ‘stale’ air.
Landscaping: Large canopy trees can be used to shade exterior walls and paved areas to avoid ‘heat islands. The yard and landscape areas should use plants and shrubs that do not require much water in summer months.
This is an introductory level summary of green home features. It will help green homebuyers to become familiar with what to look for in a green home. The summary can also help green homebuyers to formulate questions to ask of their green home real estate agent.
If you or someone you know would like to relocate to the Denver Metro or Boulder Colorado area, or if you are local and seeking to buy a home, I can help you locate a home to suit your needs. If you are searching for a green home I can provide you with information on available green homes in the area. I can also help if you would like to sell your home for the maximum value.
Visit my website at E3GreenHOMES.com for more information.
You can also contact me by telephone at 720-771-5594 or by email at email@example.com
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