If you’re looking for a new home, or you’re preparing to relocate, there are several steps you can take to embrace greener living and protect the planet. As more and more of us look for ways to reduce carbon emissions and waste, here are some top tips for house hunters.
Choosing a location
Many buyers prioritize location as a result of wanting to be close to relatives and friends or to be in the catchment areas for good schools. While these factors may be critical to you, it’s also beneficial to consider location in terms of your carbon footprint. If you can buy close to your place of work or your kids’ school, for example, this will enable you to save money on commuting and travel costs and to embrace greener ways of getting around such as cycling and walking. If you have an area in mind, look for properties that are available within your budget, and consider nearby neighborhoods if you can’t find exactly what you’re searching for. The smaller the search area, the lower the probability of securing the property of your dreams, especially in sought-after suburbs and streets.
Focusing on energy efficiency and cutting costs
When it comes to your finances, it’s important to be aware of how much you’re spending up-front, how much you’re borrowing and how much you’re going to spend running your new home. As well as looking for the best home loan, it’s wise to consider ways to lower longer-term living expenses. Check energy efficiency certificates and take a look at building projects that have already been completed. There are all kinds of incredible eco-friendly homes popping up all over the world and you could take inspiration from them to increase energy efficiency and create a greener home. Look into possibilities like building and decorating with sustainable materials, adding insulation and using green weather-proofing concepts. You could also consider adding solar panels to switch to renewable energy.
In years gone by, you might have been greeted with a confused expression when asking real estate agents about finding a green property, but today, the world is a very different place and demand for eco-friendly homes has soared. If you do have designs on a property that is sustainable and energy-efficient, it’s beneficial to discuss your preferences with your realtor and to outline the issues that matter most to you.
Size and space
Many of us have got used to living in houses that are too big for us. We have living rooms that we use once a year, attics that lie empty and more bedrooms than we know what to do with. If you are moving, be mindful of how much space you actually need. Bigger homes take more energy to heat, so consider downsizing. Think about how often you use each room in your current home. If you don’t need five bedrooms or two formal living areas, look for a smaller property, which will cost less to run.
If you’re planning on taking on a project, and you’re preparing to get your hands dirty and carry out renovations, try and recycle as much as you can. Take old furniture to salvage yards or donate it to charity if it’s in good condition. You could also consider embracing the upcycling trend and using your creativity and DIY skills to create new pieces. Separate recyclable materials when you’re clearing out the property and take them to a plant. When redecorating, look for furniture made from sustainable materials and opt for eco-friendly paint.
For many house hunters, outdoor space is an essential. If you’re looking at gardens and backyards, consider the level of upkeep required and look for potential to create vegetable patches and wildlife-friendly zones. You can use your garden to provide a safe haven for feathered or furry friends, to add greenery and to provide food for your family. Even if you’re not a green-fingered guru, you should be able to grow your own produce, provided you’ve got a sheltered area you can turn into a designated vegetable patch. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with salad leaves, peas, runner beans and radishes.
If you’re concerned about the environment, it makes sense to think about how you can embrace greener living when buying a new house. Most of us will move a few times in our lifetimes, and it’s beneficial to consider these tips if you are house hunting, and you’re keen to do your bit. Think about the location carefully, figure out how much space you really need and look for ways to create a more cost-effective, energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly home.