Michelle Gillespie, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
As energy costs continue to increase, 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. 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 home buyers.
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, such as adding weather stripping.
Green power: Using renewable energy in a home, such as solar or geothermal, 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. Mass Save offers assessments of your home’s current energy use and will provide a custom list of energy-saving recommendations for your home, which will help make your home more efficient.
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 with 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 conservea 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 (such as cabinets, tiles, and wood flooring) when remodeling instead of buying new ones. 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 of your home as well. 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, going green is good for all of us. Small changes to your home will help the environment, make your property stand out among the competition and hopefully add savings on your utility bills. To me that’s a winning combination.
Let’s make the most of the fall season.
If you want to sell your home this fall, let me maximize first impressions by helping you stage and prepare your house, and price your property competitively to sell in the shortest period of time.
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