BUYING A HOME IS A BIG DECISION. MIGHT AS WELL MAKE IT AN ECO-FRIENDLY HOME.
Finding the right house can be hard enough. Finding a home that is sustainable and eco-friendly can add complexity. To simplify this process, here is a checklist
Buying an eco-friendly, green home can be complicated. Simplify it with our checklist.
Does it have LEED certification?
The simplest way to find a green home is to look for one with LEED (Leadership in Energy Environment Design) certification. In order to become certified, the home is inspected by a licensed expert who measures the home’s design and performance to ensure it meets or exceeds their standards..If you find a home with LEED accreditation, you can rest assured that it takes all of these following factors into account.
Does it have potenial for Energy Generation?
Solar panels on a roof will look great to any green home seeker – but a bare roof should not be a deterrent. If you are buying a home with solar panels – you will pay for those just like you would for a finished basement, in-law unit or brand new patio. The more important factor to consider is what is the potential to generate power and reduce your requirement to source energy from the grid.
- For solar: Does the roof have a large south facing aspect with lots of sun exposure?
- For wind: Is there a large open field that consistently receives wind?
- For hydro: is there a strong river that can be used to generate hydroelectric power? If any of these factors exist, it should be an increasingly interesting house to consider for an eco-minded home buyer.
Does it already have energy effiecnet & smart appliances?
The largest consumers of energy in your home are the appliances that you use to cool, heat, cook and entertain. When looking for a home, it is key to see if the home uses ‘smart devices’ and ‘Energy Star Appliances’ – as these can reduce the energy consumption of a home. Smart technologies (like digital thermostats and even light bulbs) are able to reduce consumption by giving you more control over their use. Further, a home that has ‘Energy Star Appliances’ ensures that the equipment in the house meets the industry standards of efficiency. If a home does not already include energy efficient appliances – they can be added to the home after the sale.
Does it have a strong seal?
In order to reduce the energy requirements to regulate air temperature, it is important that a home is able to create a strong "seal" that is resistant to outside changes in the weather. This is usually done during building with layers of insulation. Over time, that insulation can degrade and leaks can form - especially near windows, vents and doors which expose the home to the heat or cold from the outside environment. The easiest way to check for weak insulation areas is to investigate the windows and doors of the house and notice if you feel air with your hand.
A common fix to make a home more energy efficient is to upgrade the existing windows which are able to sustain the internal air temperature. Once again, this is a project that can be completed all at once or overtime after the home is acquired.
Is it water efficient – inside and out?
A home can use a lot of water from washing clothes to personal hygiene to watering the plants. Inside the home, check out if they have low-flow appliances, tank-less water heaters and water efficient faucets. If not, not to worry as many of these are easy to update on your home by installing after-market parts (such as low-flow shower heads and faucet adapters) which can reduce your water usage.
Outside the home, it's important to see how much of the landscaping is occupied by grass – which is very water intensive. If the home has a grass yard, consider converting the land other water conservative plants.. Converting a lawn to a vegetable garden may sound like a lot of work – but crops such as potatoes, etc. use less water than grass and are very low maintenance.