This article re-posted with permission of Kathy Maguire, REALTOR® GRI, ABR®, GREEN, EcoBroker Certified®:
Whether your client is a seller, in the market for a new home, or considering making home improvements, they may ask you what it is that makes a home green. According to the Arizona Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, there are elements, or green measures, in six broad categories that a home must employ in order to be green. Homes that emphasize only one or two categories may be energy or water efficient but are not considered “green.” The six categories are:
• Location and Linkages – Walkable communities are thriving, livable, sustainable places that give their residents safe transportation choices and improved quality of life. Studies show that a large percentage of the energy a family uses is determined by the location of their home and the transportation energy needed for commuting.
• Sustainable Site – Conventional thinking about land design and development is shifting toward approaches that conserve and restore natural systems and offset development impacts.
• Water Efficiency – A typical household uses approximately 260 gallons of water every day. We can reduce this amount and save money by using water more efficiently. A water-saving home has structures and landscapes designed to safely hold rainwater on the property as long as possible.
• Energy Efficiency – Energy-efficient homes are designed to use less energy, cost less to operate, and generally have less of an impact on the environment and atmosphere. Recent technological improvements in building elements and construction techniques allow most modern energy-saving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into house designs while improving comfort, health and anesthetics.
• Materials and Resources – Environmentally preferred building materials offer specific benefits to homeowners, including reduced maintenance and replacement costs over the life of the building, energy conservation, and improved occupant health and productivity.
• Indoor Environmental Quality – Strategies for addressing indoor environmental quality include those that protect human health, improve quality of life, and reduce stress and potential injuries. Better indoor environmental quality can enhance the lives of inhabitants and increase resale value of the home.
Whether building a new home or renovating an existing home, there is now a wide range of greener options in construction techniques and materials, appliances, lighting, flooring, countertops, furnishings, paints and finishes, and other aspects of construction.
Implementing these green elements will add value to a home, reduce energy use and energy costs, fight climate change, and help protect our health. And a bonus—green homes sell faster and for more money!