ALEXANDRIA, VA, Feb 17, 2011 – For buyers looking at houses or condos to purchase, buying green may be something you want to consider. There are many benefits to “going green,” including an increased boost in energy efficiency; however, it’s important to know what to look for when house hunting.
The first important thing to check is the home’s heating and cooling system. “The heating and cooling system of a house is a dead giveaway,” says Mary Lynn Stone, President of Century 21 New Millennium. “Depending on the climate, a radiant floor heating system is more efficient because it pumps heated water through tubing under the floor surface, rather than traditional hot air or water units.” Radiant heating allows for more even heating and may even result in cleaner air due to less dust moving.
Having an on-demand water-heating unit also helps with efficiency since it only heats water as needed instead of keeping it hot all hours of the day. The more “Energy Star”-rated appliances, the better the efficiency of the home.
Ask if the home has had a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) audit recently. “A HERS report will fully reveal a home’s energy efficiency and tell you where it works best and where it may need work,” says Stone. “If a report isn’t available and the home is touting its green aspects, ask for an audit to be conducted.” If the house scores poorly on the report, you can use it as a starting point to negotiate on price.
The outside of the home matters as well – examine the materials used to build the home. Products that have been processed as little as possible are better for the environment and for the health of your family. “Look for products containing zero volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These materials don’t emit gases like some other traditional ones,” says Stone.
By narrowing your home-buying search to meet green standards, you are not only helping the environment, but also providing a safe and eco-friendly home for your family to live in.