January 22nd, 2015 10:09 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
If you’re looking into buying a home,
consider going green.
The cost of a green home may not differ
greatly from that of a nongreen home, but the energy-efficient model
should provide savings almost immediately. With the cost of water,
electricity, and gas fluctuating, finding ways to protect the environment while
saving cash each month is a win-win situation.
If you want to be green, here are some things
to look for in a home:
The most powerful energy savers are solar
panels. Installed on the roof or on the ground, they collect the rays of the
sun. The DC electricity produced by the solar panels runs through a special
inverter that converts it into usable voltage for household appliances.
The price of solar panels has dropped, and
federal and local tax incentives can cut the cost of a rooftop
system to under $10,000, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. For most folks, the bulky
panels can be tricky to install, so any home with panels already in
place lets an eco-conscious buyer soak up the sun and save money.
Heating water accounts for more than 20% of
residential energy use in the U.S.
Old, electric water heaters are energy guzzlers,
and most are being phased out. A solar water-heating
system eliminates the need for electric water heaters and radiators. Many products are available to save you money and ease
the environmental impact.
Proper roof and wall insulation keep heat
inside during the winter and outside in the summer.
Green insulation can include
an eco-friendly production or be made of wool, recycled textiles, or
anti-allergen material. If the house you’re considering doesn’t include
eco-friendly insulation already, you can always update it yourself.
Windows can save energy, too. Heat escapes
from windows in the winter, while glass lets it in during the summer. Windows
with a proper seal and double or triple panes help regulate the home’s
temperature, which in turn reduces energy needs.
Other green items include the following:
air-conditioning and heating systems. Old units consume a tremendous amount of
Newer toilets. Older units
consume about a third of all water used in the average home.
New paint. At
the very least, avoid old lead paint, which has been banned due to health
reasons.Low-VOC paint is
friendly to the environment.
Get a break
In addition to government tax credits, rebates, and
savings, plus lower utility bills, you may be able to get money back
on your new green home. Tariff programs in many parts of the U.S. offer owners
of grid-connected solar-powered systems a premium for electricity produced by
the house that goes back into the general electric grid.
Buying a green home doesn’t just help lighten
your environmental impact; it’s a sound investment, too.
By: Anne Miller | Updated from an earlier version by Cina
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