Buying Green: 5 Things to Look For
When you are purchasing a new home it’s important to think green. Green materials are healthier than others that may contain harmful chemical additives. Green construction will reduce your energy costs and provide more natural light. When you update your home, waste materials that are green will not harm the environment.
Passive Solar Heating
In passive solar design, windows, walls, and floors collect, store, and distribute solar energy. All this happens without mechanical or electrical devices. Elements of local climate are considered as are window placement, coating, and size. When retrofitting older buildings, one easy way to make use of passive solar is with sky lights that can be shaded.
Energy Efficient Systems
These include heating and cooling as well as hot water heat. Furnace, air conditioners, and water heaters are rated for efficiency. ENERGY STAR products are independently certified. Saving energy reduces your monthly expenses and helps prevent climate change. Keep your home even more efficient by installing energy efficient windows and insulation throughout your home.
Energy Saving Windows
Windows that are not properly insulated can account for up to 25% of your heating bill, as heat can escape from your home without any resistance. In the summer, an expert from Golden Windows Ltd says your air conditioner may work overtime to counteract the heat leaking in through your windows. Prevent summer and winter energy loss by installing ENERGY STAR-qualified windows. Curtains and shades can also give your AC a break in the summer.
Make sure that if there are single-pane windows that you replace them with double-pane windows with high-performance glass. In colder climates, such as Alaska and the Great Lakes Region, select gas-filled windows with low-e coatings for maximum winter protection. In warmer climates, spectrally selective coatings will help to reduce heat gain.
Constructed from Natural and Recycled Materials
Ceramic tile, linoleum, and wood are natural flooring and construction materials that will not harm the environment. Concrete is often used for poured floors, counter tops, outdoor patios and flooring. Look for insulation that is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Recycled building materials can often be purchased economically. When you use recycled materials you save energy because no new product is being fabricated on your behalf.
A garden provides shade and relaxation. There is no reason why it can’t be a great food source as well. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are often excellent plants to grow in your home garden. Many edible berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are attractive plants that offer healthy food that is available every year without replanting. Fruit trees provide peaches, plums, and apples and offer shade and beauty, too. You can also recycle all the vegetable waste in a compost heap that will yield valuable nutrients for future crops you grow.
If you enjoy saving money on energy, living in a healthy environment, and keeping the earth in the same or better condition than you found it, be certain to purchase a home that is, or can be, green.
Photo Credit: jonsowman