As more home buyers consider the sustainability factor, green homes are becoming more popular. But what is a green home? Loosely defined as properties that adhere to sustainable standards through their construction and operation, green homes have a lower impact on the environment by offsetting carbon footprint and saving money on electricity.
If you are curious about green homes, this article is for you. Whether you are interested in buying or renovating your home and turning it into a sustainable property, we will go over all aspects of owning a green home.
Green Home Benefits
Green homes are perfect alternatives to traditional properties that often produce more carbon emissions. As climate change starts impacting our daily lives and natural resources are getting more scarce, the need to adapt to the new reality becomes more apparent.
Green homes utilize sustainable construction techniques that create energy-efficient buildings. One of the main benefits of green homes is that they help make long-term savings regarding energy efficiency.
A residential home with a green roof may be eligible for LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and federal and state tax breaks. Green roofs can absorb rainwater and filter it. Because they experience regular cycles of dew, precipitation, and evaporation, they can also effectively assist in removing heat from buildings. According to Fortune Business Insights™ the Roofing Materials Market is projected to grow from USD 88.85 billion in 2022 to USD 112.47 billion by 2029.
Let’s take a look at some other benefits of green homes.
Healthier and natural ventilation
While green buildings often emphasize using natural ventilation, they are typically based on the concept that all systems and materials used in construction help create better airflow. Environmentally friendly homes utilize a variety of measures like energy-saving exhaust fans, “breathable” construction materials, and low-energy fans to maintain the right amount of ventilation.
According to EPA, an average greenhouse costs slightly more to build than a conventional design. However, it translates into significant savings over time for homeowners who enjoy low energy bills throughout their property.
Additionally, integrated designs can reduce initial building costs, and when buildings are designed to be energy efficient, heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) equipment can be downsized for significant savings. The agency says there are also many green products and materials that cost the same or even less than conventional ones.
Lower energy consumption
The average U.S. family can spend $2,000 a year on energy bills. This means reducing your home energy use is the most effective way to save money and reduce your home’s contribution to climate change, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
Just like commercial buildings, residential homes generate a significant amount of greenhouse emissions.
The U.S. residential sector accounts for 21 percent of all energy consumption and is responsible for 20 percent of our country’s carbon emissions, according to The Energy Information Administration. Green homes help to reduce greenhouse emissions and slash your carbon footprint.
Unlike conventional homes built with common construction materials like concrete, plywood, and steel, green homes are created with natural materials that help increase their lifespan.
Higher resale value
Green homes have a higher resale value than conventional homes. As energy costs keep rising, sustainable homes help their owners avoid high utility costs like energy and water bills. In contrast, owners of traditional homes can feel the impact on their wallets.
Improved indoor air quality
Green homes are also better quality because they are constructed with high-quality materials that utilize advanced heat recovery technology to supply fresh air while ventilating the interior space.
Additionally, green homes are often built with advanced air filters that minimize dust, pollen, and other pollutants.
Less material usage
Green homes are based on reducing waste and minimizing carbon footprint. Not only do they help to slash your energy bills, but they also optimize the use of construction materials and minimize the amount of waste that typically ends up in landfills. This is one of the major benefits of green homes, as they require less natural resources and have a low environmental impact.
Better temperature management
Thanks to a combination of design and sustainable materials made from recycled products, green homes have better air quality and fewer fluctuations in temperature. Green construction materials help minimize air leakage and ensure no energy is wasted.
What makes a home green
Choosing a green home over a conventional one is a better choice for the environment and a boon for your wallet and your health. Sustainable homes significantly affect our health as they are built with the homeowner’s health in mind, using recycled materials to produce less waste.
Environmentally friendly homes are built with green materials that have been recycled, have no toxic components, and are more durable.
Green builders carefully assess the environmental impact of each component before the construction phase begins. Although sourcing green materials could take more time and effort, it helps to ensure that your home will be friendly to the environment and your health.
Aside from using higher quality construction materials, green buildings promote clever design and engineering. Green construction utilizes durable materials, and innovative techniques like grid islanding, onsite energy management, generation, and rainwater collection, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
According to the EPA, location is a critical component of a green building. At the core of this principle is the location that helps reduce travel time, allows access to public transportation, makes walking easy, and reduces driving time.
Additionally, sustainable buildings help to preserve open space by utilizing already-developed construction sites and are well-connected to the greater region where they are located.
Green home design and engineering
Sustainable homes utilize fundamentally different design and engineering practices than traditional homes. Green home builders have an experience that allows them to build homes that minimize waste during and after construction and achieve maximum energy savings during intelligent design and innovative construction.
We already know that green homes fare better regarding the quality of construction materials. Another bonus is that the cost of these materials is often not much higher than that of traditional materials. This also goes on top of the fact that green homes have much lower operating costs, which helps you quickly recoup any extra money you have spent during the construction.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green buildings help reduce carbon, water, energy, and waste.
The Department of Energy reviewed 22 LEED-certified buildings managed by the General Services Administration. According to the findings, carbon emissions were 34 percent lower, consumed 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.
Alternative energy sources
Most green homes are built on the premise that they save energy and minimize environmental impact, which implies using alternative energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal.
This energy can either be created on the property by utilizing things like solar panels or geothermal heating/cooling systems or purchased from the grid.
Green Home Inspection
A home inspection is an essential part of buying and selling a home because a home inspection report outlines the exact condition of your home and helps potential buyers and sellers understand the value of your property.
A green home inspection is different from a regular home inspection because a home inspector has to take into account parts of a property that are intended to be energy efficient and save electricity costs. Since green homes are made from sustainable materials, home inspectors also need to understand how they affect the overall functionality of the house and how to identify “green features” in a property.
Property certifications for a green home inspection
Before examining a property, a home inspector must ensure that it has proper certifications to be considered green.
What’s inspected during a green home inspection
Like during a regular home inspection, every part of a green home should be checked. Although a green home inspection might not check all components thoroughly, its goal is to ensure that all “green” aspects are covered.
According to InterNACHI, these features typically include energy-efficient appliances and installations, sustainable materials, and a home’s features that promote human and environmental health.
Here’s what home inspectors typically look at in a green property:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Air vents
- Doors and windows
When to do a green home inspection
A green home inspection can be done anytime. However, it’s better to schedule it for warmer months. Summer is the busiest time for home inspections since most people do them during this time, but mid-to-late spring and early fall are ideal if you want to skip a hectic season when home inspectors have a high workload.
Since timing is critical for selling the property, make sure to plan it ahead of time to get your green home inspected while prepping it for the market. Don’t wait until the last moment to do your home inspection.