Go Green! Eco-Friendly Home Tips

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on January 11, 2012

As we begin the new year, we’d like to again share some basic changes homeowners may incorporate to create a more eco-friendly home.  “Going Green” has moved beyond installing energy efficient appliances and swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents.  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 more home buyers are asking about “green homes.”  

“It makes sense on a number of levels to incorporate green principles into a home and consumers are often surprised at just how easy it is to do,” said Ken Anderson, President, Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.  “The Northwest is a leader in recycling and protecting our natural resources.  Homeowners are very conscious of utilizing the many recycling programs we have in the south sound.  These practices are leading buyers to look for ‘green’ opportunities when purchasing a new home and these tips will help your home stand out from the crowd.”

The following 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. Further, 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.  In addition, native vegetation thrives in its preferred environment without requiring excess water.

3. 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.

4. Reuse Rain: Recycling rain water for gardening is another great way to conserve. For example, a water collection system under drains can catch excess water that can then be reused for watering landscapes.  This is an easy, positive way to endure our wet winter and springs!

5. Less Lawn does More: Eliminate as much of the lawn as possible and plant native bushes, flowers, etc. In our mild northwest climate, simply cutting back on the amount of lawn space to mow can promote energy conservation. 

6. 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.

7. 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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