Fact Check: What is a Green Home?
Energy-efficiency, sustainability, and durability all are hallmarks of a green home. Such properties are also called high performance or eco-friendly homes.
Common Elements of Green Buildings
While some homes are certified as green by housing or environmental industry groups such as LEED standards or the PEARL rating system, properties don’t necessarily have to carry a label to be considered green. What all green homes have in common is that the property incorporates smart systems and features to lower utility bills, improve health & comfort, and minimize the impact on the planet.
Green Home Improvement Upgrades
For existing homes, there’s a wide range of options to help you achieve better resource efficiency. These include small, inexpensive upgrades, like installing low-flow water faucets, energy efficient light bulbs, and switching to a programmable thermostat. In addition, less visible elements (such as energy-efficient insulation and air sealing or hidden HEPA filters) also help create a more comfortable, less drafty interior environment.
Bigger, more costly projects such as high-efficiency furnaces, solar panels, and triple-pane windows, often provide larger financial and environmental gains.
Building New Construction Green Homes
Newly constructed homes are being built to high standards that embrace sustainable green building practices. Many builders and contractors now take a scientific, whole-building approach to ensure that a property’s design, layout & systems work together to create a functional, comfortable setting that solves environmental concerns.
House Hunting for Green Homes
When you’re looking at a home with green features, keep an eye out to see if you can identify any of the following features:
• Energy efficiency in home features like appliances, water faucets, lighting, heating, cooling and waterheating systems
• Efficient building envelopes with high performance windows and well-insulated walls, floors, or attics
• Non-toxic building materials and finishes, such as recycled or renewable woods and low/zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paints or sealants
• A landscape featuring native plants that thrive without chemical fertilizers or excessive watering
• Location efficiency, meaning a community where public transportation and the needs of daily life are accessible without a car