Even taking aside the motivation of wanting to be conscientious of the environment, there are good financial and practical reasons to make sure your home is green. Good insulation alone can save you 30% on your energy bills, and utility bills are likely only going to increase. Many are already feeling the pinch of those unnecessarily high bills every month. Further, global trends indicate a push for policies to standardise the sustainability of homes. Arguably, then, making the sustainability of your property a priority now already is worth the effort.
If you are buying a new home, you could either buy a home that is already green, or make the necessary modifications yourself. Say you opt for saving yourself the effort of renovation and want to buy a home that is already green. Before you reach for that home loan application, however, consider these few tips:
- Decide on the size of the house you want. The bias has always been that the size of your home is equal to luxury, but that need not be the case. Think about whether you really need all that empty, unused space. A smaller, well-designed home might suit your needs better, and would definitely waste less energy.
- Choose the location very carefully. To further enhance the sustainability of your move, try and find a home that minimises the need for driving. Either by being in walking distance of the places you would frequent, or by being close to public transport.
- In many places in the world, policy is in effect that requires certification of the sustainability of a property. Be sure to know what the regulations are in your corner of the world, and whether you can inquire about certification. And if there is, research what that certification entails.
- If this is something you would be interest in, inquire whether you qualify for an energy efficient mortgage, which allows you to credit the aspects of your home that saves energy in your repayments.
- Consider the materials the building was constructed with. A building might have been designed with being green in mind, or may have later been modified to be green. If the latter, the materials are unlikely to be as environmentally-friendly as the materials used in a building that was planned to be sustainable from the get-go. Think about whether this would matter to you.
- Get the professional help of a green realtor, who will know the local industry of energy-efficiency and can give invaluable advice and guidance.
- Consider organising for an energy audit, which is an analysis of the energy-efficiency of the property. A green realtor can organise this for you.
- Not all green homes are created equally sustainable. Check what additional modifications you might have to make yourself. Remember that this costs money and takes effort.
- When the time comes to furnish your new home, continue the theme of sustainability in your choice of furniture: recycle where you can and only buy items made from sustainable, non-toxic materials.
Finally, remember that even though sometimes a green home might cost you a bit more upfront, you would easily make up the extra cost in what you save on energy bills.