There are things you need to look for in an eco-friendly home to make sure that it is green, and that it was built using environmentally sustainable methods. Just because a builder or construction company labels a house as green or eco-friendly does not mean that it is so. In fact, there may be builders who are labeling houses eco-friendly, and they do not even know what a house needs to be certified as environmentally friendly.
The fact is that more and more people are looking for eco-friendly homes because they want to help the environment, and because they end up saving money in the long term. A typical eco-friendly home will warrant paying a premium between 3% and 5% as the market stands right now, which is a whole lot better than just five short years ago when premiums were around 11% to 25%.
With prices the way they are, you should be able to recover the extra price you pay for the house in energy savings over the long term. Simply having an energy efficient furnace or boiler in the home can save over $550, and that is just a start. If you use Energy Star certified appliances, you can expect a further 5% or more in energy savings.
Therefore, be wary and very skeptical when a builder tells you that a home is eco-friendly because it is 5% more energy efficient. That might simply mean that there are Energy Star appliances in the home, or the builder may not even know what he/she is talking about.
The fact is that the U.S. Green Building Council has set up guidelines so that a home can receive eco-friendly, green, or environmentally friendly certification. The guidelines lead to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, and they call for more than just 5% better energy efficiency.
The home must have been built so that it might cause a minimal impact on the use of natural resources and the environment. Furthermore, certification would mean that fewer toxins and pollutants were released, less wasted building material was produced, and less energy was used during the building of the home. If your builder cannot stand up to that type of scrutiny, then the home is not truly green.
Eco-friendly also means that you and your family have to use less resources such as energy and fuel in your daily living. If the home is too far from schools, stores, entertainment, public transportation, and other amenities, then you will be driving more, which means that you will still have a negative impact on the environment.
Builders who are truly green take all of these things into account when they are planning a development. They are well aware that eco-friendliness does not stop at your front door, and they make amenities available so that you can cut down on your driving distances.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly home, you need to take a look at how you, your family and your home are going to impact the environment. It is only when you take this overall approach that you will begin to have a positive impact on the environment, which is why you would be looking to go green in the first place.
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