We’re usually all about the little things, from recycling to buying eco-friendly home décor and taking little steps to add up to big impact. But what about when it comes time to buy a home? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a downsizing empty-nester, there is a lot to consider. Don’t forget to add green qualities to your list of things to think about. It may sound obvious and simple – of course, a greener home is a better home. True, but what type of greener home is right for you?Buy or build?
There are pros and cons to each. When you build a new home, you are using resources, however, you can choose to build with more eco-friendly materials and build a home that is better designed and integrates green qualities like solar, passive heating and other features. Buying an older home is certainly following the reduce, reuse, recycle concept and uses fewer resources, but if creating an energy efficient home is your goal, it may be a bigger challenge.
Location, location, location
Seriously consider your lifestyle for the next several years. While owning a piece of land out in the country may sound appealing, it may not be the right choice if you need to be in the office five days a week, like to eat out on a regular basis and or have children who are engaged in a variety of extracurricular activities. If you live in the country, you have to drive to all of those things. Look at your day-to-day activities and choose a location that means you’re not trekking across town every time you need to get to yoga class.
How big is too big
You don’t have to embrace the tiny house trend, but it’s a good idea to really consider the amount of space you will actually use. Do you really need giant walk-in closets and a bathroom for each family member? Take a realistic look at your lifestyle, and consider the impact of all those extra spaces. They’re going to cost more to purchase and maintain, and they’re going to use more resources as well.
In most places, water makes up a large portion of the utilities, so it makes sense to conserve for financial reasons as well as ecological ones. Check taps and pipes in older homes to ensure there are no leaks, and consider installing smart water systems if you are building. Is a gray-water system legal in your area? What about landscaping? How much water will that take up? If you are building new, you can design what you want. If you’re buying an older home, you might have to redo the landscaping to more water-friendly options.
Buying an older home where the appliances convey? That may not be such a great bargain if they’re older and not energy efficient. Whether you’re building or buying, it makes sense to install the most energy efficient appliances that you can. The money you save in the long run will be worth it.
Whether you build or purchase, make the greener choices that are right for you. You’ll save money and contribute to a healthier environment.