Usually when people talk about living a healthy lifestyle, they emphasize diet and exercise, not their home. But, according to OC Realtor Magazine (March/April 2018), people should get their home certified green because it can sell for 9 percent more than homes that are not certified. That's a great reason to celebrate green.
If that insight got your attention, and you want to research how to make your home green and sustainable, but you’re not sure where to start, read on.
First, know that small steps can make a big difference. Small steps could include: plugging holes, patching or replacing roofing or siding, add weather-stripping around doors and windows.
You could install skylights: Artificial lighting accounts for 40 percent of your home’s energy use. Skylights bring natural light in (especially windowless rooms), and that can dramatically reduce electricity cost. Plus, skylights that open help ventilate a home, which can save money on air conditioning. More good news: there are Energy Star qualified skylights, which can trim a home energy bill by 7 to 15 percent.
You could rehab parts of your home with sustainably harvested woods, reclaimed lumber, or salvaged fixtures. Or, you could embrace one of these money-saving, energy-efficient options:
- Use Energy Star appliances, which can be 20-30 percent more efficient.
- Use an on-demand water heater.
- Insulate walls, attics and other spaces to keep heat inside and cold out (and vice-versa).
- Insulating a garage door can decrease the amount of cold or hot air that is let into your home from common walls. An upgraded, environmentally friendly garage door adds curb appeal and has a 91.5 percent ROI.
- Replace single-pane windows with double or triple pane windows.
- Replace your grass for cash: BewaterWise.org reports that turf removal will save 44 gallons of water per square foot per year, which translates into more money for you. RealEstate.com says spending as little as 5% of your home’s values on landscaping may result in an ROI of mush as 150%.
- Develop a green wall with live plants.
If you wish to do a "Green Renovation," visit dsireusa.org. That site is sponsored by the Department of Energy, and it provides state-by-state breakdowns of incentives and rebates.
If you’d like to have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified home, visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Green Home Guide. There you’ll find free resources and recommendations on its LEED guidelines.
One last thought: If each of us comes up with one sustainable goal, together, we can improve our environment, and that's another good reason to celebrate green.
OC Realtor Magazine (March/April 2018)