Homes That Are Better For Your Wallet, Family, Health and Planet

wordlesmWelcome to the new home of GreenHomesPgh. If you have visited before then you will see that this site has been combined with my main real estate site. All the same content is still here, it’s just been moved around a bit, and updated with new information.

If you are buying or selling green you will find additional information that is common to all real estate, because at the end of the day, a green house is still a home, just one that’s better for you. So read on, and if you have questions you can give me a call directly.

While some homes are certified as green by housing or environmental industry groups, properties don’t necessarily have to carry a label to be considered green. What all such homes have in common is a desire by its owners to live in a property that incorporates systems and features that lower utility bills, improve health and comfort, and minimize the impact on the planet.

iStock_000009138474_ExtraSmall (2)For existing homes, there’s a vast array of strategies for achieving greater efficiency. They include small, inexpensive upgrades, like installing low-flow water faucets, energy efficient light bulbs, and programmable thermostats. In addition, less visible elements, such as efficient insulation and air sealing, create a more comfortable, less drafty interior environment. And bigger, more costly projects–high-efficiency furnaces, solar panels, and triple-pane windows, for example–often provide larger financial and environmental gains.

Newly constructed homes are being built to high standards that embrace green principles. Many builders now take a scientific, whole-building approach
to ensure that a property’s design, layout and systems work in concert to create a functional, comfortable setting that addresses environmental concerns.

If you are looking for a “green” home, here are a few things you will want to think about. For some, energy efficiency and cost-savings is most important, while for others it’s about the health aspects or the environmental impact of our housing.

  • Energy efficiency in home features like appliances, water faucets, lighting, heating, cooling and water-heating systems.
  • Efficient building envelopes with high performance windows and well-insulated walls, floors, and attics, like the kind required by the ENERGY STAR for homes program and LEED certification.
  • Non-toxic building materials and finishes, such as recycled or renewable woods and low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants. This may be especially important if indoor air quality or asthma is a concern for you.
  • A healthy home that has been tested for lead based paint, mold and radon.
  • A landscape featuring native plants that thrive without chemical fertilizers or excessive watering.
  • Location efficiency, meaning a community where public transportation and the needs of daily life are accessible without a car. Homes with a high Walk Score and in walkable neighborhoods fit this category.

Several organizations are also trying to make it easier to know just how green a home through certifications. ENERGY STAR is primarily focused on energy and cost savings, and the Indoor Air Quality Package takes it a step further. LEED and the NAHB Green Building Program both rate homes based on how they meet criteria for everything from energy use, water use, air quality, landscaping and efficient use of resources and materials.

Some of the content on this page is provided by NAR’s Green RESource Council. © REAL ESTATE BUYER’S COUNCIL. Reprinted from Green REsource with permission.