Michelle Gillespie, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
As energy costs have skyrocketed, more and more homebuyers are asking about energy-efficient “green homes.” Not only is it great for the environment, but going green is an opportunity to have your home stand out from the crowd, and can give you, the seller, a competitive advantage. Incorporating eco-friendly measures in homes has moved beyond installing energy-efficient appliances and swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents – and you may be surprised at just how easy it is to “go green.”
The following tips can make your home more energy – and cost-efficient – now, and more appealing to eco-conscious homebuyers.
Passive Solar Design: Your home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and to reject solar heat in the summer.
A Ray of Light: South-facing windows provide more natural daylight, making a home bright and cheery. More importantly, natural daylight can help keep the indoor climate comfortable during the winter months, allowing you to set the thermostat a bit lower. Alternatively, drawing shades during key daylight hours in the summer can help cut down on air-conditioning needs. Although windows provide our homes with light, warmth, and ventilation, they can also negatively impact a home's energy efficiency. You can reduce energy costs by installing energy-efficient windows in your home, or by making some energy-efficient improvements to existing windows, like adding weather stripping.
Green Power: Using renewable energy in a home, such as solar or wind, greatly helps reduce pollution and can lower energy costs. Many utility companies offer options to purchase a form of renewable energy that is cost-efficient for the homeowner. Many utility companies will also offer a free energy audit of your home, resulting in energy – and cost-saving – suggestions.
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 showerheads also lessens water consumption.
Green Gardening: Sustainable landscaping is becoming all the rage to eco-conscious homeowners. Planting native vegetation and shade trees strategically around your yard can keep your home cool during the summer and block cold winds during the winter. Recycling rainwater for gardening is another great way to conserve – a water collection system under downspouts can catch the water so you can reuse it for watering landscapes.
Turn Old into New: Refurbish the home's existing materials when remodeling instead of buying new ones (cabinets, tiles, wood flooring). If brand-new appliances are required, make sure they are energy efficient, and consider donating your old appliances to be recycled or reused.
Insulation Is Key: Properly insulating your home will not only help reduce your heating and cooling costs, but also will make your home more comfortable. The obvious places to insulate for the greatest savings are attics, basements, and crawlspaces, but more savings can be had in other areas. Insulating cold-water pipes will prevent them from dripping condensation, and insulating hot-water pipes will prevent costly heat loss and save on energy bills.
Small Changes Add Up!
In the end, small changes to a home can help the environment and help a property stand out among the competition. If you are planning on selling your home and would like to discuss other energy-saving improvements, or if you would like a market analysis of your home, contact me, Michelle Gillespie, at 508-934-9818, or e-mail [email protected]. Visit my website at www.michellegillespie.com for more information.
In next month's article, I will explain the important process of pricing your home for sale. Many factors are involved in finding the “right price” – one that will attract buyers, help you sell in a reasonable amount of time, and yield a fair return.
(This article was published in the Community Advocate as a paid advertisement.)