Reducing energy costs is the first that comes to mind when building a “green” home. Increasingly, buyers are looking for “green” features and even the National Association of Realtors have created the Green MLS Toolkit that helps realtors identify homes that are “green.” Read the article.
There is still somewhat of a debate about whether or not your house will appraise for more if the house is “greener” but we expect this to change rapidly. Here are some things to consider when shopping or building a custom green home:
• Install a programmable thermostat. Using pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat will save the average homeowner $180/year in energy costs. Don’t pay for energy you don’t need when you are not at home.
• Seal your heating and cooling ducts to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems by as much as 20% or more. Ducts that run through attics, crawlspaces, unheated basements and garages are the biggest offenders of waste. Use duct sealant or metal-backed foil tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. Then wrap them in insulation.
• Change your heating system air filter every 3 months. Dirty filters impede air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm or cool. It also helps with indoor air quality and alleviates allergy symptoms caused by bad indoor air
• Install Energy Star-rated appliances in your home. Just replacing your washing machine can save you $135/year on your utility bills.
• ENERGY STAR qualified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning and peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent, saving you an equal amount on your Xcel bill.
• Check and see if your new home has “green-label” carpet installed in your home. We spend on average about 90% of our time indoors and green certified carpeting can help provide clean indoor air quality by reducing VOCs produced by the carpet and adhesives used.
• Improve your insulation and get a tax credit a much as $1,500 + up to 40% in ongoing energy savings using a spray foam insulation like http://www.sprayecofoam.com.
• Gas tankless water heaters that heat water on demand vs. holding heated water 24/7 are 22% more energy efficient on average than the gas-fired storage-tank models.
• Insulated walls by Superior Walls provide more than double the insulation of the original R-5 Superior Wall system. http://www.superiorwalls.com/
• Toilets account for nearly 30% of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Replacing them with WaterSense toilets, you can save 11 gallons per toilet in your home every day!
Denver residents can enjoy a bunch of benefits like rebates on qualifying washing machines, water efficient fixtures, high efficient toilets, smart irrigation nozzles, and even rain sensors. If you want to learn more about the rebates and to determine if you qualify, visit the rebates section of Denver Water’s website here: http://www.denverwater.org/Conservation/Rebates/
There are also a variety of tax breaks and credits that you can apply for from items like ENERGY STAR certified windows and solar panels. Information on the Federal tax breaks can be found here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index
Whether you are building a custom home or buying a new home that is already built, the value of a “green certified” or “green-mindful” home cannot be understated. Save money and increase the value of your home while give you peace of mind by considering low cost alternatives to standard home building/owning practices. If you one day decide to sell your home, make sure you show how your house performed before the improvements compared to your “greener” home.