Finding a Green Home

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Home Green Home

You consider yourself to be environmentally savvy: you recycle, ride your bike to work, and your reusable water bottle is always in hand. You’re always looking for ways to be more eco-aware. 

You may have heard about the green home trend, but do you know where to start? With the right information, it’s possible to find a home that is just as green as you are. 


Why a green home? 

A green home has features that reduce energy and water consumption, maintenance costs and waste. A green-constructed home provides a healthy living environment and has a minimal impact on the earth.

Your eco-friendly home saves you money because it requires less upkeep over time and lasts longer than a traditional dwelling. Reduced water and power usage means lower utility bills. 

The governments of Canada and Alberta offer environmental tax deductions. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation offers those buying or renovating eco-friendly dwellings a mortgage insurance premium refund. A green home may even earn you a discounted home insurance premium.  

When it is time to sell, a green home commands a higher resale price making it a smart investment in the long run.

What to look for in a green home 

When searching for a green home, consider the following: 

  • Building materials. Durable materials don’t need to be replaced or repaired as frequently. Look for siding that doesn’t need painting or a roof that lasts for 20 years or more. Alternative framing such as bamboo is not only harvested sustainably, but it retains heat and cold much more efficiently. 
  • Windows and doors. An energy-efficient home keeps energy from being lost through drafts. Look for ENERGY STAR windows and insulated or fibreglass doors.
  • Heating and cooling methods. Traditional oil heating systems depend on non-renewable energy and emit ozone-depleting carbon dioxide. Solar and geothermal energy sources are clean, renewable and use the earth’s natural heat to increase your comfort. 
  • Appliances. When purchasing a kitchen or laundry appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR rating. Old appliances can be an energy drain that drives your electricity bill up. Also check for low- or dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower and faucet fixtures.
  • Location. Is the home located near public transportation and amenities? Close proximity to grocery stores and bus stops means less time in the car and reduced CO2 emissions. 
  • Wants versus needs Does your family really need four bedrooms and three bathrooms? A large home requires more energy and has a bigger environmental impact than a townhouse or smaller home. 

Work with a “green” agent

An eco-conscious agent has the same values you do, and knows what to look for in an environmentally friendly home. You will find a directory of Alberta agents on the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers  (NAGAB) website. Be sure to choose a professional with a great reputation, a history of selling eco-friendly properties, and the REALTOR® designation. 

Now that you have the right information and qualified help, you’re ready to begin your search for a green home that reflects your personal values and eco-conscious goals.

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