How to become an eco-friendly homeowner involves saving space, creating zero waste and using locally-sourced materials. This can be done by purchasing a LEED-certified or green home or making modifications to your existing home and the choices in products you buy. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to go green so that humans can sustain the wonders of Earth without depleting all its resources.

 

When it’s time to make a move to a new home, consider moving to an eco-friendly home. Construction take a drastic toll on the environment. According to the US Green Building Council, 40 percent of the world’s raw materials are used in the construction of buildings, which gobbles up 13.6 percent of all potable water. (Roughly equivalent to 15 trillion gallons per year.) Eco-friendly homes are designed to run on more sustainable energy practices, which include recycling, putting in skylights, and installing solar panels or solar assisted water heaters. Individually, these upgrades may seem small, but they’ll help you conserve energy and leave a smaller carbon footprint. Here are some tips to get started.

 

 

Tips to Get Started Going Green in Your Home

If the home you’re in now is not eco-friendly and you’re not planning on moving, there are many more options on how to become an eco-friendly homeowner

  • Install low-flow shower heads.
  • Opt for bamboo over hardwood flooring.
  • Garden with plants native to your area to protect your local environment.
  • Open up the blinds on south-facing windows and save an estimated 10 percent on heating costs.
  • Replace your old water heater with a new tankless water heater (choose a natural gas version if suitable for better savings).
  • Use LED and CFL light bulbs.
  • Get a programmable thermostat – Ecobee talks to Alexa and other Z-wave devices.

 

Rain Barrels with Planters at Target.com
High Sierra Low Flow Shower Head at Houzz.com
Bamboo Flooring from Home Depot

Outside, one of the most lasting ways to make a positive environmental impact is to utilize xeriscaping and create a rain garden in your front and backyards. Xeriscaping is an inexpensive (and beautiful) way to maintain your yard that requires little water to keep it lush. Rain gardens also help with conserving water, because they sit in sloped or low-lying areas and naturally absorb rainwater runoff, ensuring that rainfall isn’t wasted and no extra irrigation sources are needed to keep them thriving. Contact Clara Beaufort at GardenerGigs.com to find out about gardeners in your area who can help you make these modifications. clara@gardenergigs.com

Searching for Green Homes

If you are searching for a “green” home on the market, start by finding a green realtor. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) lists a number of sub-categories of realtors. One of these is the Green Designation and Accredited Buyer’s Representatives, who specialize in eco-friendly homes. They’ve been trained to assist you in identifying whether the home you have or the home you want to buy are true zero-energy properties. Even with the expertise of a green REALTOR® to help them, buyers looking for green homes are often advised to look and keep looking, because pinning down eco-homes and neighborhoods usually takes time.

Paying for Green Homes

Purchasing a green home is great for the planet and for your pocketbook because you’re saving a fortune on your energy bills over time. For now, though, keep in mind that the initial cost of building a green home can be 20-30 percent higher than its conventional alternative. And because eco-homes aren’t yet quite a mainstream purchase option, you may have to hire a special builder to install a whole-home water filtration system, or to build your home off the electrical grid.

The Future of Green Building

As the NAR states on its website, “Sustainable properties are the future of the real estate industry.” By some estimates, there are currently 370,105 LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) residential units in the US. That figure is only expected to rise in the future, especially since these homes are designed to gobble up 30-60 percent less energy than their conventionally-built counterparts.

Another plus is that they can be built for the same price as a regular home. And if you ever need to move, green single- and multi-family homes decked out with eco-friendly features usually sell for 3.5 percent more than homes without those features. Studies have also shown that the green-home construction market is projected to boom from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018. That’s red-hot growth of 24.5 percent.

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