Having an eco-friendly or “green” home is key toward saving money on the costs of utilities while also respecting the Earth and its inhabitants, notes both Austin Energy and the local government website of Lake County, Calif. But determining whether a home truly is green can be a challenge, so it’s a good idea to learn exactly what to look for when you are renting or purchasing a green home.
Before buying or renting that green home, thoroughly check the landscaping of the property, advises Austin Energy. The irrigation system should conserve water with at least one device and preferably several. Find out if the valves are designed to save water, if the valves automatically shut off while it’s raining outside and if the irrigation system runs on a timer. Also, you should make sure that only water-efficient grasses, such as Bermuda or buffalo, are used on the property. Check out the gutters and downspouts; a true green property will have these devices directing excess water away from the home. A nice touch that should also become part of your green home is the presence of native plants growing on the property. Keep in mind that if the home is erected on some types of farmlands, habitats geared for endangered animals or wetlands that the property isn’t following the green lifestyle, according to the Lake County, Calif., government website.
You can’t truly live eco-friendly if your new home is not within walking distance of stores, notes the Lake County, Calif., government website. Before moving in, make sure you can use your car as little as possible. A good rule of thumb is to check out how many errands you can get done using a bicycle or walking. Ideally, you and your little ones should be able to walk to parks and schools. Living close to public transportation for longer trips is also an important tool toward truly maintaining a green home lifestyle.
The water heater in a green home should come with a 10-year warranty, according to Austin Energy. All exterior lights also need to have motion detectors and timers to conserve energy and also keep those electric bills as low as possible. Keep in mind that any appliance you buy or is already in the home should have an energy-efficient label.
Unless you have a large family, avoid an overly large home when a smaller one will do just fine, notes the Lake County, Calif., government website. A 4,000-square-foot home will use twice as many resources as a 2,000-square-foot property; your utility bills will also probably spike higher than you’d really like.
- the green isolated green note image by laviniaparscuta from Fotolia.com