Before you ever start looking for a home, it’s wise to get together your wish list, outlining all the things you would love to have in your new home (but, of course, might be willing to do without should the right place come along at the right time, sans some of your favorites.) But one thing you might want to keep on your list no matter what is eco-friendly homes.
Homes that have green and eco-conscious materials, features and additions can add up to savings – in some cases, there are tax incentives to going green – and make your home desirable if ever it comes time to resell in the future. But long before that happens, you’ll be living in it – and looking for green accoutrements could help your bottom line in the long run.
For example, if your intended home includes solar panels – which can either sit on the ground, or be installed on the roof – they can help a lot with your energy bills. If you want to get fancy and install them yourself (or have them installed), rooftop solar panels have dropped to less than $10,000 – and in some cases, you can get further financial benefits in the form of local and federal tax incentives if you take the leap. But if you find a home that already has them installed, you won’t have to worry about that.
Another money drain can be a home’s water heater – especially if it’s an older model, which is known for being a major energy hog. This is where solar energy comes in handy once again, as many new units are on the market featuring a solar system to heat the unit, meaning you no longer have to worry about jacking up your electricity costs to run them.
It’s also a good idea to check on your intended home’s insulation, and make sure it meets eco-friendly standards as you’re assessing its capabilities. Some more green alternative insulation is crafted from wool and fabric scraps, and anti-allergens. Consider making the switch if your home uses the old itchy pink stuff instead.
How do the windows look? They can be another major drain on your energy reserves, as they allow heat to escape in colder months, and lets the heat in when it’s hot out. Make sure your windows are air tight, with a solid seal. You may also want to check if the windows are double pane, or even triple, which can make a big difference in your monthly energy costs.
Some other things to keep an eye out for include newer, low-flow toilets, low-VOC paint on the walls, and updated air conditioners or heaters. Not only can you save on your bills, but you might also qualify for government tax credits and rebates. And if you’re totally off-grid? Tariff programs exist to benefit those who generate enough electricity to feed back into the general grid.
Doing good for the planet does well for your wallet, too. Consider this as you’re on the house hunt!