As the debate over climate change continues and the economy fluctuates, it is no wonder that according to one study, 90% of new home buyers consider utility usage and cost important factors in choosing their new space. So what are builders doing to lower costs and ‘go green’ in new homes? One way is by using energy efficient building practices and appliances. These features lower overall utility bills and reduce the home’s carbon footprint. Energy efficiency can be built into every room of the house. Here’s how:
- Proper insulation is one of the best ways builders ensure a new home stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Air sealing and weatherizing windows, doors, and other gaps also help minimize leaks. These measures prevent the energy you use to heat and cool your home from escaping, creating a more energy efficient environment.
- Heating and cooling systems are typically the largest expense for many homes in the U.S. Building new, energy efficient systems right into the home and properly installing them can immensely reduce energy usage and cost. Using these systems sparingly can also help a new home buyer keep utility bills down.
- Energy efficient homes include plenty of natural light. Big windows and skylights reduce the need for artificial lighting, reducing energy use and cost. Energy efficient light bulbs and automatic lighting controls are also used to keep costs to a minimum.
- An energy efficient hot water system is essential in reducing water waste and lowering energy costs in a new home. By including this element, builders will save their buyers on the third largest expense they’ll face. Buyers who use their hot water moderately will see a significant reduction in costs.
- In the bathroom alone, there are three major water wasting culprits. New home builders include water saving toilets, showerheads, and sink faucets in every bathroom to cut down on the largest resource used in the home.
- In the kitchen, it is imperative new home builders include energy efficient appliances to create a green environment. This includes the dishwasher, stove, sink, and refrigerator. These major appliances don’t have to suck the energy out of your wallet!
- Doing the laundry is one of the most energy and water intensive chores in the home. Builders cut back on this usage by installing energy efficient washers and dryers in laundry rooms or basements. Waiting to do laundry until you have a full load and using cold water also reduce these costs.
- In the living room, dining room, and bedrooms, flooring can be another environmentally friendly choice. Whether a builder chooses wood, tile, carpet, or an alternative material, flooring made of recyclable and/or recycled products and without any toxic dyes or chemicals is best.
- Painting any room in the house can be done in a way that reduces harm to both the environment and the home’s occupants. Using a paint that is free of Volatile Organic Compounds will contribute to the building’s green status. Using eco-friendly varnish and finishing agents on external walls is just as important.
- Once the buyers have moved in, it is important that they continue using energy efficient and environmentally friendly products and practices. Using household cleaners with all natural ingredients and furnishing your home with green pieces, or items made from natural, recyclable materials is a great place to start.
Homes for sale can also benefit with low cost green upgrades. During a showing, having green upgrades create a unique selling point for your home.