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Sustainability is becoming an important feature for homebuyers, so we’ve put together this guide to help you in your search for a green home.

The real estate market and sustainability market are both seeing a boom right now. According to HSH, 68% of homebuyers want an environmentally-friendly home.

The definition of a “green” home is any type of house that is designed to be environmentally sustainable. That could include anything from solar panels to a rain barrel irrigation system for an outdoor garden. The sky’s the limit when it comes to eco-friendly options.

Thankfully, because sustainability is becoming such an important feature for homebuyers, it’s becoming easier to find features that matter to you. If you’re feeling stuck in your search and you need a green guide, we’ve got you covered.

Keep these tips in mind on your sustainable journey, and you might be able to find your ecologically sound home sooner than you think.

Be “Smart” in Your Search

Smart homes are becoming just as popular as sustainable properties. In Europe and North America, the number of smart homes reached 102.6 million in 2020.

These homes typically feature automation systems that control operations such as: 

  • Lights
  • Security systems
  • Heating/cooling
  • Entertainment systems
  • Appliances

Smart homes and sustainability tend to go hand-in-hand for a variety of reasons.

First, you can program almost everything in a smart home to be more energy-efficient. Consider installing a smart home thermostat, for example, that won’t waste as much energy excessively heating or cooling your house.

Or, install a smart water system that will give you clear data on your water usage. Knowing how and where you’re wasting water will make it easier for your family to change your usage habits.

Most smart homes also feature the latest and greatest in appliance technology. Energy-efficient appliances are modern upgrades that will add value to your home and save you money on your utility bills almost immediately.

Technology is at the forefront of sustainability nowadays. So, if you see a modern home listing with major upgrades, or even see a listing advertised as a smart home, be sure to give it a second look. 

Look For Obvious Sustainable Signs

With sustainable homes becoming more popular, owners are doing what they can to make eco-friendly changes that boost appeal and value. You might end up looking at homes with a higher asking price because of those updates. But, the reward will certainly outweigh the initial price tag.

So, what features should you look for when you’re searching for a sustainable property?

There may be some things that are more important to you than others. For example, if you have a large family that tends to eat up a lot of energy, solar panels can cut down on your electric bill and waste less energy, too.

You should also consider the size and location of whatever home you’re interested in. Size matters. The larger the home, the more resources will need to be used.

Look For Obvious Sustainable Signs

Again, if you have a large family that might be unavoidable. No one wants to be crammed into a house like sardines. But, you may want to find a large place that offsets the energy use in other ways.

Location is also important when you’re buying any house. But, it’s especially meaningful when you want to live sustainably.

Do your research on cities and areas with low ecological footprints. You might be surprised to find that even some of the busiest cities in the country have a lower gas and energy consumption than other areas.

Another good rule of thumb is to look at green real estate websites.

Sites like ListedGreen are dedicated to showcasing sustainable homes for sale all across the country. This way, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of traditional real estate listings just to find an environmentally friendly place.

Understand Your Upgrades

A home doesn’t necessarily have to be completely eco-friendly when you make an offer. If you’re willing to put in some of your own work, you can find your dream house at a reasonable price, and then make your own sustainable upgrades afterward.

Some of those upgrades will be simple and inexpensive, like blocking any gaps, using draught-proofing strips on the windows, and switching out the lighting for LED bulbs (they’re 90% more efficient.)

Some upgrades might be a bigger undertaking. You should consider that in the price of the home and what you’re willing to offer. If you’re going to have to put thousands of dollars into sustainable upgrades, you don’t want to blow your budget on the mortgage.

Things like solar panels, new windows, or energy-efficient appliances can cost quite a bit, but they’re still a worthwhile investment. And besides, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

Understand Your Upgrades

Even installing new insulation or having a new roof put on can help you reach your sustainability goals sooner.

Also, if you do decide to get rid of the home’s existing appliances for newer models, consider appliance recycling to dispose of them safely so they don’t end up in a landfill.

If you’re not sure where to get started, consider making a checklist of your green priorities. It might include items like:

  • Renewable energy production
  • Cool roof
  • Drip irrigation
  • Natural shading
  • Low-flow faucets and toilets
  • Solar water heater

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the sustainability upgrades you can make, all the way down to choosing natural, non-toxic cleaning supplies.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re just starting your house hunting journey or you’ve been looking for a while, it’s important to narrow your search to properties that line up with your sustainability goals.

Keep the ideas in this article in mind on your house hunting journey. Understanding what a green home looks like to you is the first step. Don’t be afraid to set standards and make lists of features that are important to you.

But, even if you can’t find your perfect home from a listing, let your creativity and sustainability motivation be your guide as you add to an existing home to meet your needs.

Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic.

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