6 Things You Didn’t Know About "Green" Homes

Everyone knows that “green” homes use much less energy to operate the household and can reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. While more and more Americans are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon every day, there are certain facts about the green movement that might not be well-known as far as homeownership is concerned.

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Here are 6 things about green homes you might not have previously known until now.

1. They’re Not as Expensive as You Think

The words “energy-efficient,” “green” and eco-friendly” conjure about ideas of expensive dwellings that only the affluent can afford. But these days, that can’t be further from the truth. In fact, green homes can be constructed for the same cost as conventional homes, and sometimes even less! 

Aside from the building price, green homes cost considerably less to operate. These types of homes are designed to use anywhere between 30% to 60% less energy than traditionally-built homes. Such an impact of energy savings can eventually reduce the cost of homeownership.

Not only that, green homes command 9% higher prices come resale time compared to traditional homes with conventional systems and materials. More and more savvy buyers are increasingly willing to pay more for green features. Every dollar that a home saves in energy costs translates into an additional $15 to $20 come sale time.

2. They’re Popular in Many Other Places Other Than California

The Golden State is well-known for being innovative as far as home construction is concerned. It’s also no secret that California’s government has been enforcing some of the most stringent environment regulations in the country, not to mention the fact that Californians have long been encouraged to save water.

Sure, there are plenty of homes that are currently Energy Star-certified at the moment in California: 168,608 to be exact. But other states are just as serious about building green homes as the Golden State. In Arizona, there are currently 152,104 Energy Star-certified homes, and Texas is the leader of the pack with 465,836!

3. Solar Panels Don’t Reduce Energy on Inefficient Homes

When people think of energy-efficient homes, the idea of solar panels tends to come to mind. There’s no doubt that solar panels help to drastically cut back on the costs associated with the energy needed to operate a home. But they are much more effective on structures that are already efficient. 

But according to experts in the renewable resources industry, adding solar panels to a home that is not energy-efficient does not necessarily lower the amount of energy being used. All it means is that energy is coming from the sun versus other sources, such as oil or natural gas. Experts instead suggest making the home more efficient through various measures, including installing efficient windows, high-efficiency lighting, or effective insulation.

4. PV Solar Panels Are Recyclable

If your home does have solar panels, they don’t have to add to the pile of trash when they get too old and need to be replaced. Instead, they can be recycled and reused for other purposes. There is a tiny amount of toxic materials in these panels, which can seep into the earth if they are left in a landfill. Recycling PV solar panels is always a more eco-friendly option, as is recyclying just about anything else.

5. Old Homes Can Be More ‘Green’ Than New Homes

If you think that homes can only become ‘green’ during initial construction, think again. Even older homes can be updated to become energy-efficient. In fact, retrofitting an existing home is actually a lot more environmentally-friendly than constructing a brand new Energy Star home. The reason? New green homes can take decades to beat out any harmful effects on the environment from the construction process. There are a lot fewer materials needed to reconstruct old homes compared to building new ones, which means a much smaller impact on the environment.   

6. Local Building Materials Are Best

Any materials that are coming from far away – no matter how natural they are – are more harmful to the environment because of the shipping process. The oil and gas used to have these materials transported here have a much more harmful effect on the environment compared to materials that are locally grown and harvested, and therefore require no transportation at all.

The Bottom Line

We are all responsible for doing our part to care for the earth and environment. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to be environmentally responsible, from something as easy as reusing and recycling, all the way to owning and maintaining an energy-efficient home.