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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna Poppink, MFT May 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

For homeowners and anyone with access to a garden or bare soil.

For over a year I’ve been capturing all kitchen vegetable waste and burying it in my garden (away from roots of plants). It turns to lush soil fast. It provides nourishment to the land. My fertilizer costs plummeted as my garden grows more healthy and beautiful. My garbage bin for sanitary pickup is almost empty.

It’s so easy! A quart size covered plastic container on my kitchen counter fills up with potato peels, edges of broccoli, apple cores, etc. It takes five minutes or less to find a place in the garden, dig a hole and bury it.

I never run out of space because the small amounts compost fast. In two weeks I can use the same spot again.

It’s so easy and so economical for me, my garden and city sanitation.

Joanna Poppink, MFT
Los Angeles psychotherapist
author: Healing Your Hungry Heart
08/11 Conari Press


Ken Anderson May 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Joanna, thank you for your comments and insights. Very helpful, “hands-on” advice. We appreciate you taking the time to share.


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