Financial and Environmental Benefits of a ‘Green’ Home
The benefits of owning or buying a green home far surpass that of any traditionally constructed home. When building a green home, it can put a dent in your wallet, but it will quickly be regained in savings from day to day home usage (anywhere between two to seven years, however the installation of solar panels can take longer to recoup). The same is true for buying a green home, due to the costly efficient upgrades the sellers may have installed in the home. But with the poor shape the housing market is in as of today, you may find a great deal on a green home. The benefits of a green home can be separated into two categories: Financial and Environmental.
Green homes are built with high-quality building materials so they are more durable and require fewer repairs. Proper insulation, air sealing, and design will keep your heating and cooling costs lower. Such as straw-bale constructions that provide extra thermal resistance, and home designs that maximize sun exposure to winter sun and minimize summer heat. Efficient windows, energy efficient appliances, lighting systems, HVAC equipment and other household equipment will lower your energy consumption by better distributing heating and cooling throughout the home which will reduce your electricity bills. Such as a properly sized HVAC unit, this will use less energy to condition spaces in the home. Dependence on public utilities can be reduced by installing photovoltaic panels for solar electricity and water heating. Effective storm management and landscaping could mean less money and time used to maintain the outside of the home. Drained foundations, water spouts on gutters, and flashing around windows and doors can reduce system failures within the home due to moisture intrusion.
Green homes use toxin-free building materials, low emitting products, and utilize natural ventilation, which results in fewer problems with mold, mildew, and off-gassing. Green homes use less energy than comparable standard homes and use alternative energy sources, reducing the dependence on conventional energy sources. Reducing water consumption can be achieved by installing low-volume toilets or rainwater filtration systems. Increased energy and water efficiency through the home will lead to energy and water conservation over years to come. Many materials used to construct green homes are from recycled products (i.e. salvaged wood, steel made with reused rebar, insulation made from paper products) and sustainable products (i.e. wool carpeting, bamboo flooring, cotton insulation) which reduces the impact on natural resources.