Becoming a Green Homeowner

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on April 21, 2011

Eight Eco-Friendly Home Tips for Going Green

Incorporating eco-friendly measures in homes has moved beyond installing energy efficient appliances and swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents – going green is giving home sellers a competitive advantage. With luxury condos touting eco-friendly features like rain water recycling, and home builders incorporating energy saving features into new homes, it’s no wonder real estate professionals say more and more home buyers are asking about “green homes.” In the end, small changes to a home can help the environment and help a property stand out among the competition. 

“It makes sense on a number of levels to incorporate green principles into a home and many consumers are surprised at just how easy it is to do so,” said Ken Anderson, President, Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.  “Not only is it great for the environment, but homeowners are looking at ‘going green’ as an opportunity to have their home stand out from the crowd.”

The following eight tips outline how to make homes sustainable, energy- and cost-efficient now, and appeal to eco-conscious homebuyers:

1. A Ray of Light:  South-facing windows provide more natural daylight making a home more bright and cheery. But, more importantly, natural daylight can help keep the indoor climate comfortable during the winter months, allowing a homeowner to set the thermostat a bit lower. Alternatively, drawing shades during key daylight hours during the summer can help cut down on air conditioning needs.

2. Green Gardening: Sustainable landscaping is becoming all the rage to eco-conscious homeowners.  Planting native plants, vegetation and shade trees strategically around a yard can keep a home cool during the summer and block cold winds during the winter.  And native vegetation will thrive in its preferred environment without requiring excess water.

3. Switch to Green Power: The use of renewable energy in a home, such as solar, wind, water or geothermal, greatly helps reduce pollution. However, installing solar panels or wind generators property can be cost-prohibitive for some. Fortunately, many utility companies in the United States offer options to purchase a form of renewable energy that is cost efficient for the homeowner. 

4. Dial it Back: Lowering the settings on water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers and laundry machines reduces the amount of energy required to maintain the temperature. Installing low-flow sink faucets and shower heads also lessens water consumption.

5. Reuse Rain: We get a lot of it here in the Pacific Northwest.  Recycling rain water for gardening is another great way to conserve. For example, a water collection system under drains can catch the water and then reuse it for watering landscapes.

6. Less Lawn does More: Eliminate as much of the lawn as possible and plant native bushes, flowers, etc. Depending upon a number of  factors  homeowners can simply cut back on the amount of space that they have to mow to promote energy conservation in lawn care.

7. Turn Old into New: Refurbish the home’s existing materials when remodeling instead of buying new ones (cabinets, tiles, flooring). If brand new appliances are required, homeowners should make sure they are energy-efficient, and should consider donating their old appliances to be recycled or reused.

8. Insulation is Key: Insulating cold-water pipes will prevent them from dripping condensation, and insulating hot-water pipes will prevent costly heat loss and save on energy bill.

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