Shopping for Green

Today’s buyers are more concerned than ever about living green, and that means finding an eco-friendly home. How do you know the home you want is truly green? Green means different things to different people. Buyers focused on energy cost savings prefer home s that have basic energy-efficient features, such as Energy Star appliances, weatherproofed windows, and good insulation. Buyers concerned about personal health issues prefer homes that use non-toxic materials, such as low VOC paints and bamboo flooring. Still other buyers want to contribute to a more sustainable future. They look for building materials that are produced locally or used reclaimed wood.

At the most basic level, Energy Star appliances, double-panned windows and efficient heating and cooling systems can lower energy bills and give buyers peace of mind .Other factors to consider include:

  • Cost. Expect to pay more for a green home. A recent study by the University of California find that green-certified, single family homes sold for 9 percent more than a comparable home that wasn’t green.
  • Square footage. The larger the home, the more energy it consumes. Buying a smaller home is more economical.
  • Paint. Use water-based paints that contain lower levels of VOCs than conventional oil-based paints. VOCs emit gases that can cause health issues.
  • Carpeting/flooring. Choose carpeting made from recycled or renewable materials. For wood flooring, bamboo or reclaimed wood are popular choices.
  • Utilities. Review past utility bills to determine typical monthly energy costs. Also request documentation on any green features that have been added to the property.
  • Landscaping. Choose plants and trees that don’t require the same level of maintenance as a lawn.

If in doubt, ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more confident you will be that you are getting a truly green home.

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