Energy efficient homes, also known as green homes have been around for quite some time, but haven’t always been advantageous to own. The movement began in the early 1970’s and it wasn’t until The Energy Policy Act in 2005 that homeowners could benefit from tax reductions, when living in energy efficient homes. More then 10 years later, its time for people to learn the numerous advantages of energy efficient homes and to take them into consideration when remodelling.
A green home is one that is designed to be environmentally friendly while also being as self-sustainable as possible. It’s a home that focuses not only on the efficiency of energy and water, but also the building material. Many of these building materials are made from recycled resources and can sometimes offer more benefits then the traditional building materials. Green Affordable Housing for instance shares the same views as traditional green homes but emphasise affordability.
So What Makes a Green Home?
The International Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders began writing a standard for Green Homes in 2006. The parts that make up a green home are, funny enough, still not universally agreed upon. There are still no national standards on what constitutes a green remodel.
In general, a green home is a type of house that is built or remodelled in order to conserve "energy or water; improve indoor air quality; use sustainable, recycled or used materials; and produce less waste in the process."
The typical features to look for in energy efficient homes:
- An Efficient Home Envelope; effective wall, floor and attic insulation, comprehensive air barrier, and high-performance windows.
- Efficient Air Distribution; ducts are installed with minimum air leakage and are effectively insulated.
- Efficient Equipment; heating, cooling, and water heating.
- Efficient Lighting; high efficiency bulbs.
- Efficient Appliances; high efficiency dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers.
These energy efficiency features will say you about $200 to $400 per year on utility bills. More importantly, monthly energy savings can easily exceed any additional mortgage cost for building with the energy efficient products, resulting in a positive cash flow from the first day you move into your new home.
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