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What Defines a ‘Green Home’?

It’s Friday, and that means I am back again with another installment of posts about living green in San Diego. Though we often hear the term ‘green home’ thrown around when referring to new homes and materials being used in their construction, have you ever wondered what makes a home ‘green’? Surely not just some paint! In this post, we will explore what makes a property ‘green’, including some pointers on how you can either upgrade your home to earn green-status or what to keep an eye out for when looking at new properties.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear ‘green home’? Is it energy efficiency? Solar panels? LED lighting? Any of those answers would put you on the right track towards the full definition defined by organizations and agencies like the National Association of Homebuilders, US Green Building Council, ENERGY STAR, and National Association of Realtors.

Common elements of a green home include systems that lower utility bills, improve occupant health, and reduce impacts on the planet. Such upgrades include the integration of low-flow faucets, LED lights, programmable thermostats, and more efficient air filters for a/c systems. Others, such as improved insulation, high-efficiency water heaters, solar panels, and triple-pane windows, not only allow for bigger environmental gains but also provide bigger long-term financial benefits.

To the benefit of those looking into new properties, many new homes, apartments, and condos are being built to green home standards. Today’s new builds are being heavily influenced by green-design, ensuring the properties not only deliver the desirable layouts and comfort buyers need but also the efficiency and environmental friendliness that will make these properties meet and undercut future home energy usage standards.

Though additional information, links, and pointers can be found on this PDF, there are a few things I want to leave you with so you’re able to use a green filter when looking for your next home. As a realtor with the National Association of Realtors Green Designation, I make it a point to look out for:

  • low-flow water faucets
  • high-efficiency heating/cooling systems
  • high-efficiency appliances
  • non-toxic building materials, paints, finishes, and sealants
  • landscaping utilizing native or low-resource dependent plants
  • access to mass transit and other resources within walking distance
  • efficient/upgraded insulation
  • upgraded windows

By integrating this checklist into your new home search, we can work together to make sure your next home is a green one. Further, for all of you current homeowners looking to either maximize your home’s efficiency or prime it to be the best on the market, I hope this edition of LiveGreen helps provide pointers on how to ensure your home is green, inside and out.

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