Green homes typically use less energy, are built with sustainable materials and can even help with air quality. Because there is no single standard that makes a home “green”, it’s important to understand different features of an eco-friendly home and the potential benefits they offer.
Is your primary goal to reduce your carbon footprint? Or are you most interested in reducing your energy consumption and saving on utilities?
Narrowing down your green goals will help you be better equipped before you start the house hunt.
What to look for
Some basic energy-saving features or upgrades to look for when you visit homes include:
- Insulation – Good insulation holds in heat, which helps conserve energy. Because you can’t see the insulation, it may be something you’ll need to ask the seller about or cover as part of your inspection and general energy audit.
- Windows and doors – Check that they are properly sealed. A poor fit or cracked seal could be letting air enter and escape, reducing the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system.
- HVAC – A lot of energy goes into powering a home’s heating, ventilation and cooling system. Fortunately, there are ways to make it more efficient. Smart thermostats and zoning are just two examples of green technology that help regulate the temperature indoors.
- Orientation – The direction a home faces determines how much sunlight it gets, which can have a large impact on your heating and cooling needs.
There are certain labels you can look for as well. These typically indicate how energy efficient a home is overall. Some frequently used certifications to become familiar with include:
- NGBS (National Green Building Standard) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are two rating systems that measure a building’s environmental performance and sustainability.
- ENERGY STAR® homes are built, inspected, tested, and verified according to a set of high energy efficiency standards. ENERGY STAR® products perform just as well or better than non-certified products, but they use less energy.
- Indoor airPLUS homes incorporate design and construction features that control moisture, improve filtration, and prevent exposure to airborne pollutants and chemicals.
- WaterSense homes meet strict standards for water conservation while maintaining high performance.
As you research green home options, it’s important to factor in what you can afford. We have tools and resources available to help you assess your financial situation, so you can be prepared for the next steps.Visit My Home by Freddie Mac® to learn more.