I recently commented on a question posted on the Trulia web site regarding Going Green when making upgrades to your own house. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of issues and choices, and a recent survey showed that 90% of homeowners thought Going Green was important. The person asking the question simply wanted to get an idea of where to start that would get give the most practical impact for their home?
There are many levels of green homeowners and home buyers:
The Trulia posting was from an Economizer, so I tailored my response since I had replaced an old heating system with an energy efficient heat pump that paid for itself over a few years. And I had replaced windows with high efficiency Anderson Renewal windows. This not only made the home warmer in the winter, but dampened the noise level making the house more peaceful.
Some of my clients have fit into the Lifestyle category. They may not have deliberately bought their homes to fit into the green trend, but the exemplified a key issue. They bought homes where they could either walk to work, ride their bikes on the W&OD trail to work, or walk to the metro station. So they actually fit into the sub-category regarding Smart Growth.
The Environmentalists are maybe the true idealists in the green movement. A few years ago I developed a rainwater collection system with my neighbor Chuck to divert water off his roof into a new flower garden between our homes. People in this category may buy tank less hot water heaters, compost their food scraps and coffee grounds, or use shredded-paper cellulose insulation. They look for native plants to plant when landscaping around their homes.
The other day I spoke with a local builder friend, J.P. Sorrell of Clear View Homes, LLC in Vienna about green-home-building since so many builders are looking for the “eco-chic” buyers. He told me about redesigned heating and cooling vents, using more sustainable building products, and building homes that aren’t McMansions anymore, the not-so-big-house concept. There are also tax incentives established to use Energy Star rated equipment that help the new home meet Energy Star ratings as well.
You may just want to start with a new light bulb or cutting two minutes off your shower everyday. Or there are energy/power settings right in the control panel on your computer under “Performance and Maintenance”. If you have an old refrigerator in the basement or garage it is probably using 20% of your energy each month, unplug it! You can act in a manor that will reduce your impact on the environment with a little planning. So now it is time for you to start Going Green!