Buying a home can be an exciting time in your life. Maybe you’re celebrating financial security or you’re ready to start a family. But for the eco-conscious among us, house hunting can be a little bit more challenging. Fortunately, more homes have green features in them now. But it’s up to you to know what to look for. Here are a few features to keep your eyes peeled for.
When you’re looking at houses, roofing should be one of the first things you check regardless of whether you want a more eco-friendly home or not. The state of a home’s roofing can tell you a lot about what kind of issues you may or may not have to deal with upon moving in. Under normal circumstances, a roof should be inspected once or twice annually. An asphalt shingle roof should be replaced every 10 to 15 years or so, as well. So when you’re looking at a home’s roofing, make sure you ask when it was last replaced. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, look for homes with metal roofing. Metal roofing not only lasts for upwards of 50 years, but it can help lower your overall energy costs because of its ability to reflect sunlight and heat away from a home.
Insulation might not seem like a great indicator of a home’s eco-friendliness, but the truth is that it makes a world of difference in energy usage. When a house is well-insulated, interior temperatures will remain more consistent with less need to use artificial heating or air conditioning. Having poor insulation means that not only are you using these utilities more often, but also that when you do, that warm or cool air is escaping through your walls, doors, and windows. Essentially, poor insulation means wasting precious energy. When you prioritize good insulation in your search for a home, you’re ensuring that you’ll use and waste less energy.
Did you know that almost 10% of homes in the U.S. have water leaks that could waste up to 90 gallons of water per day? Whether it’s a dripping faucet or a shower head that isn’t fitted properly, the water efficiency of some homes is less than ideal. If you’re looking at homes as an eco-conscious buyer, make sure you inquire about water-efficient plumbing. For example, ask when the plumbing was last inspected. Any recent leaks or pipe problems could be indicative of underlying plumbing issues. In addition, don’t be afraid to take a look in the bathrooms of the houses you look at and test the plumbing for yourself. Does the faucet drip after being shut off? Is there a low-flush toilet or does the toilet run for a long time after flushing? These are the kinds of inspections you need to make if you’re set on learning whether or not a home is eco-friendly.
The presence of solar panels on a home should clue you in almost immediately that you’re looking at an eco-friendly property to some extent. In most cases, homes will have solar panels installed on the roof or independently somewhere on the lawn. While they’re a good indicator of eco-friendliness, it’s still important to ask about how often they’re maintained, when they were installed, and how much energy they supply on average. The answers will give you a good idea on what kind of output you can expect and when you may need to consider replacement.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly home, you’re not alone. Most people move almost 12 times in their lives, which means others are likely searching for some of the same things you are. With your eyes peeled for these features, you should be able to find the eco-friendly home of your dreams in no time.