The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Web site conducted a “Living Green” consumer survey in 2008 that showed half of the consumers surveyed paid more money for an energy-efficient product in the past 12 months. The survey also revealed that one in three homeowners said they would be willing to spend $5,000 or more on green improvements to increase a home’s appeal to potential buyers. Consumers reported engaging in a variety of environmentally conscious activities, including recycling (73 percent), replacing standard lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (69 percent), conserving water (57 percent), adjusting the thermostat (51 percent) and purchasing energy-efficient appliances (30 percent).
Not only are the consumers going green, but so are new homebuilders. They are incorporating green features into new homes in response to consumer preferences for the cost-saving benefits of environmentally friendly homes. All products and construction techniques will create a more energy-efficient home with improved indoor air quality. Features include advanced framing techniques, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, Energy Star-rated appliances and closed-cell spray-foam insulation in every wall.
Some homebuilders have implemented an energy-efficient program that introduces high-end energy-creating systems in their homes, such as: using solar energy, geothermal heating and air conditioning, and wind power. It used to be that these options were only available in high-end custom homes, but they are becoming more affordable and are being introduced to homes in a variety of communities. Many builders are also offering a credit on new homes with these energy-saving options.
- Geothermal heating and air cooling systems extracts air from below the Earth’s surface, where it maintains a steady temperature, reducing the need to heat and cool the air.
- Wind power can be generated from a lightweight wind turbine on the roof of homes, which generates electricity for energy-efficient batteries.
- Solar photovoltaic power modules convert energy from the sun to electricity. Solar collection tubes, which sit nearly invisibly on the roof, absorb thermal energy, providing a continuous supply of hot water.
Energy-efficient and Green features include, but are not limited to:
- compact fluorescent light bulbs
- dual-flush toilets
- water-saving faucets
- Silestone counters and recycled building materials
- advanced insulation
- low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paint sustainable materials
- programmable thermostats
- Energy-Star rated appliances
- better quality air filters
- double-paned windows
- energy seals
While many energy-efficient homes now have elaborate systems in place, it actually takes very little effort and cost to begin transitioning into living a ‘greener’ life. Start with changing out your light bulbs or air filters… and you will immediately begin giving back to our environment.