How to Be a More Eco-Friendly Homeowner

As technology advances and emissions rise, more and more people are becoming concerned about their own environmental impact. It’s even reflected in our consumer culture. Statistics show that 78% of people are more likely to buy products labeled as sustainable, eco-friendly, or green. That mentality translates to real estate as well. If you’re looking for a new home, there are many eco-friendly considerations you can take to live as green as possible.

Search for Sustainable Homes

When you start looking for homes, try finding ones that were designed with the environment in mind. Some homes are inherently more sustainable than a basic townhouse. For example, tiny homes use less energy, building materials, and environmental space than other homes, both saving you money and energy use. Some are even mobile, giving you the option to shift locations easily. Prefabricated homes are another more sustainable home type because they are built off-site, usually with little waste and eco-friendly materials. In your search, look for additional keywords such as “passive home” or “zero-carbon home.”

Look for Built-In Features

Even if the home isn’t inherently green, you can still find plenty of homes that have eco-friendly features installed, including: Solar panels Skylights Properly placed, dual-pane windows A robust, non-toxic insulation system Energy-efficient heating, water, and electrical systems and appliances Some homes are even built with environmentally conscious materials, such as recycled steel or bamboo. Materials that are sustainably grown, made of recycled materials, or don't contribute to global waste are excellent options to look for.

Consider New Additions

You can always add new features once you purchase your home, so consider any modifications that can bring value to your home. Depending on your location, you could paint your house the right color to reflect or take in sunlight for some natural temperature regulation. You could upgrade your heating and cooling system to be more energy efficient. Plus, if you have the roof space and access to sunlight, you could install solar panels yourself. Solar panels create clean energy while saving homeowners money through tax credits and lower electric bills. Whatever additions you make, keep track of everything you do by taking before-and-after pictures and retaining receipts so you can quantify your home's value increase when you're ready to sell.

Get Thrifty

Whenever possible, purchase secondhand furniture. Thrifting helps homeowners minimize their carbon footprint and reduce global waste because it keeps furniture out of the landfill and avoids contributing to the production and distribution of new items. With stylish vintage pieces, you can furnish your house with plenty of interesting fixtures that need a second home.

Save Electricity

There are classic ways of saving electricity, such as unplugging unused devices and switching to LED lighting, but consider what really drives up the electric bill: large appliances. The worst offenders in most homes are the water heater, the refrigerator, the dryer, and the oven. Make sure you swap out old appliances with current, energy-efficient ones to save money and live in a more eco-friendly way. Finding the right eco-friendly home starts at the beginning of your search. Keep an eye out for sustainable features that are already included but also consider a house's potential. You can always make improvements to save money, increase your home's value and live more sustainably. 

Author:  Mark Harris