Green Homes for Sale

If you were looking at real estate ads and saw one that stated “green homes for sale”, you may at first wonder why anyone would a listing stating the color of their home. This is not what this type of ad means. It is just stating that the homes for sale are earth friendly and energy efficient. Green homes for sale are being built in an effort to less the carbon footprints we leave behind.

When you purchase a green home they will contains all or some of the following features that are earth friendly.

• Fiber cement siding

• Alternative power system like wind and solar

• Recycled building insulation

• No VOC stains and paints, which stands for volatile organic compound. It is any compound that is carbon-based and will vaporize at standard room temperatures. Some of the more prevalent ones are formaldehyde, acetone, and methane.

• Solar powered hot water heating

Even if you do not live in a green home, there are things that you can do to increase your energy conservation. It will even help contribute to saving our environment. Making your home a green home can help to reduce global warning and save the homeowner money. It will significantly better the environment and require little effort for the homeowner.

Making a green home

• Instead of using the standard incandescent light bulbs start to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). When you switch to the CFL’s you can save per year over a hundred dollars. You can find these lights in the same aisle as your regular bulbs but they are little more expensive. In the United States, if every house switches the type of light bulbs they were using to CFL’s there would be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of one trillion pounds.

• Install a thermostat that is programmable-with this type of thermostat the homeowner can program the thermostat so that the air conditioner or heater is off when homeowners are not at home. The programmable thermostat can be programmed so that it will cool or heat your home shortly before the homeowner arrives home. This change could save the homeowner ten percent or more on cooling and heating costs

• Plug air leaks-this will help the homeowner save money and practice conservation. You can do this by installing weather stripping, keep the temperature in your home from rapidly fluctuating, and caulk windows correctly to stop air drafts.

• Energy StarĀ® rated appliances-these reduce the amount of electricity that is needed to operate them so they have less of an impact on the environment. They will also save on your energy bill.

If you are buying a home, choose energy efficient green homes for sale.

Environmentally Friendly Homes – What to Look For When Investing in Green Property

It is not enough that you know you want to dwell in an eco-friendly house. It is not enough that you settle on the first house you see that is up for sale and available for occupancy. Not all homes are the same. Even when they are tagged environment-friendly, the tag alone doesn’t mean that you are about to get the benefits you want. Here are some common factors that you should look for when investing your money in a home that is both eco and family-friendly.

Use of recycled materials

Green homes aren’t that plentiful yet. Although builders are slowly catching on the demand, years are still to be counted before they become mainstream. As such, one of the things you could look for when scouting for that eco-friendly home of your choice is by looking at the construction materials used. If your eyes are not that keen on differentiating recycled or salvaged from new materials, you might ask the seller on the types of materials used in the construction. If you are lucky, you can find a fitting choice that might have utilized recycled steel and wall panels. The insulation might be old clothes like used denims. Or better yet, there are fabricated construction materials that make use of more recycled materials than the raw ingredients making them more eco-friendly than their other counterparts.

Advantageous use of the natural environment

Developers are now growing wise with the erection of new construction homes by using the natural environment where they are built. Look for homes that have grabbed the advantageous use of the natural setting. The windows should be built where natural light from the outside environment can adequately enter. This should minimize the use of your lighting fixtures even at the earliest times of the day. Never settle in a house that claims it is eco-friendly when the windows are poorly built attempting to resolve the aesthetics only and not the functionalities.

Pre-installed alternative sources of energy

Another factor you should look for when buying an environment-friendly house is associated with the methods being used to lessen the use of commercial electricity. The installation of solar panels and wind turbines may be too costly. Yet, in the long run you are about to reap the return of investment in form of savings on your utility bill.

Investing in an eco-friendly house is typically costly than standard construction homes. The number of its kind is not that huge as compared to other housing units. But by considering the factors discussed above, you are one step away in purchasing the environment-friendly house of your choice as commensurate to your budget and preferences.

Choosing the Best Green Home Builder

Today many people are “going green”, which means that they are becoming environmentally friendly in how they live their lives and minimizing the harm done to the earth. When some people decide to build their home from the bottom up, they decide to have a green home builder build their home. This contractor would build their home with low environmental and energy efficiency in mind. To find a green home builder you should talk to the contractors in your area. Some that will travel to your area to build your home but their services will add more expense to the cost of your home.

To ensure that you will have the best green home builder ask them what type of building material they will use. You should also inquire about their disposal methods to make sure they are in compliant with sustainability practices. The materials that they should use are non-toxic when possible, and environmentally friendly. They should also be materials that come from renewable sources, or sustainable material. This can include materials from homes that have been knocked down. This material can include old doors, cabinets, some of the wood to accent the home such as using the material for ceiling beams, and more. They should try to avoid using plastics and choose their wood carefully. You should ask to see examples of the green projects they have completed. Their construction philosophy should focus on green building. It should not just focus on using green techniques as a secondary technique. Make sure that the contract you sign states that it will be constructed from sustainable and green material.

A home builder may tell you that they are using green building techniques but it could be easy for them to start using less environmentally friendly techniques and designs to save money on materials so they can put more money in their pockets. This is why you need to be sure that they are a reputable home builder and have good references as a green construction company. They need to be knowledgeable about green techniques and processes and committed to green construction and design. If you want your new green custom built home to be built using unconventional techniques make sure the home builder can demonstrate they understand the techniques you want and can do them correctly.

Before you choose a green home builder, you should educate yourself on what constitutes a green home and the process to build one. This will help you to determine a good green home builder and to know if they are cutting corners using non-environmentally friendly material. Having a green home can save you money on heating and cooling costs, and if sustainable material is used it can save these materials from being disposed of improperly.

GRIHA: All You Need to Know About This Green Rating in India

Getting your home a green rating can help increase its value by a lot. GRIHA rating is one of the rating systems that you can use in India. Keep reading to find out about the GRIHA rating system and how you can apply for it.

What is GRIHA?

GRIHA or Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment rates the performance of a green home in energy consumption, waste management, and renewable energy resource management.

Eligibility to Apply for a GRIHA Certificate

Any building under the design stage and covering more than 2500 square meters can apply for a GRIHA certificate. These buildings include residential buildings, office spaces, institutions, hotels, shopping complexes, hospitals and so on, but exclude any industrial units like factories and plants.

Process of Application for a GRIHA Certificate

First, you have to register your property on the GRIHA website by filling up the online registration form. Register at the pre-design stage to clarify any construction issues.

Next, you need to submit soft copies of the documents pertaining to the criteria. The final step is the evaluation, which is conducted by the Association for Development and Research of Social Habitats (ADaRSH).

How GRIHA Certifies a Building

Under the GRIHA system, the ADaRSH team evaluates green homes in India based on 34 criteria and rates them on a scale of 1 to 100. The 34 criteria fall under four sections, each section dealing with a particular aspect of building a green home. Each criterion has a number of points allotted to it for scoring purpose.

1. Site Planning

GRIHA rates green homes based on the various phases of site planning. This includes site selection, preservation of landscape, soil conservation, minimizing air pollution, provision of proper sanitary facilities for construction workers, and so on. There are 24 points allotted for this section.

2. Building Planning and Construction Stage

The building planning and construction stage is the most important criterion. This includes regulating water usage and water quality, optimization of energy demand and the performance of the building, implementation of renewable energy systems, proper waste management system using environment-friendly construction materials, and so on. GRIHA has allotted a total of 68 points for this section.

3. Building Operation and Maintenance

This phase has only 8 points and includes the preparation of the energy audit report and the protocol regarding operation and maintenance of the building infrastructure.

4. Innovation

The final criterion is innovation. Four extra points are allotted to this section. A green home can score these bonus points if it can implement new, innovative ideas on modes of alternative transportation, environmental education, and so on.

GRIHA Star Ratings for Green Homes

A green home needs to have a minimum of 50 points to be GRIHA-certified. A home is awarded a particular star rating depending on the number of points it scores.

Points Scored by a Green Home & Star Rating

  • 50-60 – 1 star
  • 61-70 – 2 star
  • 71-80 – 3 star
  • 81-90 – 4 star
  • 91-100 – 5 star

Green Certificate: What Are Its Benefits?

Are you thinking of getting green certification for your property? Do you think it’s worth it? Have you thought of the advantages or the benefits it can give you? How would you like to be in the 79% of property owners who are expected to build green properties by 2018? If you answered Yes to these questions, read the rest of the article and know the benefits of getting your property green-certified.

  • Lessened Operating Costs: The high amount of operating expenses always burden the pockets of property owners. And to think that owning a property is something that can help shape one’s future, reducing the operating costs can clearly help save more. There are many studies that support the fact that green buildings are known to have a payback of about seven to eight years depending on the types of enhancements done relevant to energy-efficiency, sustainability, and aesthetics. According to one study, the operating costs can be reduced to as much as 13%. And if an owner converts his property to rental, he can reap an increased profit of margin by charging premium rents over competitors which are not green-certified.
  • Decreased Vacancy Rates: Owners who want to secure the future of their children are likely to opt converting their homes as property rentals. And by doing green retrofits, there is an increased chance of the property always being rented. The tenants are also likely to renew their leases because of the benefits they have experienced in their first months of tenancy. Again, studies show that there is a lower vacancy rate for green buildings. They are 4% lower as compared to property rentals which are not green-certified.
  • Surge in Investor Interest: Green buildings show consistent high scores in terms of energy efficiency. They also show consistently high rates of tenant retention causing investors to be driven closer to them. If in such instance an investor wants to add your property in its portfolio, it becomes an instant proof of their company’s commitment to sustainability. It scores them a point to shareholders who always look up for the ways that the company they invest into has a social responsibility. Thus, be sure to get your property green-certified. It is a proof more than the features you’ll brag that it is green!
  • Avoid Being Tagged of Green Washing. With green buildings come the closely associated term of green washing, This term refers to labeling the building green when in fact it is not. It is a direct manifestation of lying to clients. When proven, it can bring headache to the owner and property manager. But when you’re green-certified, you are instantly get rid of this tag and won’t be labeled as such because you have proof.

Booming Green Building Market Continues to Grow

Make no mistake: the “green building” market is not only here to stay, but it’s also the wave of the future. In just the next five years, the market for buildings that incorporate alternative energy and conservation techniques will increase some $10-20 billion dollars. Yet the green building market only constituted about two percent of new construction in 2004. By 2010, that figure is expected to jump to 5-10 percent, which still represents only a tiny fraction of the immense potential of the green building market.

A recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of the architects, engineers, contractors and building owners interviewed expect a significant increase in their income from green building. Of those surveyed, some 60 percent of those industry professionals are now regularly including green techniques in their new construction projects.

Although they cost a bit more to construct, once the buildings are completed, they can save their occupants 8-9 percent in operating costs vs. conventional buildings, which can add up to significant savings over time. Recognizing the trend, builders, architects, and manufacturers are rushing to get in on the boom, which will ultimately bring down prices for consumers.

This is no longer just a few environmentally-minded homeowners placing solar collectors on their roofs to heat water. The boom is being driven by giant corporations like Ford, GM, and Adobe, companies that have incorporated green techniques into their buildings to improve their overall bottom line through increased energy savings. That trend proves that green buildings are no longer just a fad, and are definitely here to stay, because if companies can realize a quick return on their investment, they’re also quick to jump on the green building bandwagon.

Green building isn’t just the wave of the future. Green building is also the hottest “new” thing in current construction. There’s an organization called the U.S. Green Building Council that actively promotes the usage of green building techniques. If you or your company are interested in incorporating green features in your next building project, you’ll find lots of information at http://www.usgbc.org.

It all adds up to a win-win situation for everyone concerned. The building industry gets increased business, occupants save significant amounts of money, and the environment is impacted less and less. And the trend should only gain momentum as new technology makes green buildings even more efficient and less expensive.

Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

Benefits Of Going Green In Real Estate

There are a number of reasons why you should go green. A green lifestyle is not only good for you but also for the environment. Moreover, making eco-friendly changes in one’s life is not as costly as many people believe. For instance, walking instead of driving whenever possible is an easy green lifestyle alteration that does not cost anything, but still helps in saving the environment. Some of the most important benefits of going green are listed below –

* Home value – The value of your home would increase, if you consider using sustainable and eco-friendly materials in your house. For example, water saving toilets and solar panels can save you a lot of money on the utility bills.

* Water bills – Using appliances with energy star ratings can help you save a lot of water and cut back on your monthly water bills. The newer low flush toilets are also highly efficient and use lesser amount of water.

* Energy bills – If more and more buildings are updated with energy saving green units for water and electricity, then people would apparently consume lesser energy annually. By making such upgrades, you can also enjoy deductions and refunds on the taxes by the government.

* Durability – Eco friendly homes tend to last longer, as compared to traditional homes. Moreover, green homes do not really need painting or treating for the outdoor projects, such as decks.

* Less toxicity – Materials that are toxic in nature come out of cleaners and paints that have volatile organic compounds in them. Green or eco-friendly houses do not support the use of such materials and thus, have a good indoor air quality.

* Less waste – By building or renovating a home, using green products, the waste can be significantly reduced, as eco-friendly products are recyclable.

* Adaptability – Green homes last for more number of years, in comparison to traditional homes. Many eco-friendly houses incorporate big open areas, which are easy and simple to rearrange and remodel.

* Preserve the surroundings – Green homes have the least footprint on the surroundings and thus, work towards safeguarding the nature.

* Conserve the natural resources – The green building practices focus on conserving the natural resources by supporting the use of recycled materials, rather than new trees.

* Affordability – Majority of the green building materials and products available in the market are available at more affordable rates, than the traditional materials. Moreover, the green alterations that you make in your life also help you save a great deal of money.

To summarize, going green offers a lot of benefits and thus, it is important for each one of us to support the “green movement” and lead an environment friendly life. By going green, you would not only be able to have a better health and improved lifestyle, but also save a great deal of money. Above all, you would be able to play a significant role in protecting Mother Nature.

Simple Ways to Make Your House More Green

Going green is not just meant for Earth Day. You don’t need to join rallies. Inside your house, there are simpler ways to contribute to a greener and healthier environment. Here are simple ways towards a greener home.

Energy savers

Make your house greener by saving energy. The more energy you save, the less you contribute to greenhouse emission. Instead of using incandescent bulbs, why not switch to CFLs or compact fluorescent lights. They have longer life spans than the incandescent. Unplug appliances when not in use. Make schedules on when to use the washing machine, dryer, and flat iron. Do not use them on few pieces of clothes. It’s more advisable to use them on full load.

Lights are necessary but you don’t have to turn them on all day. Let natural light from the sun enter your doors and windows. Open your curtains, drapes, and blinds. The sunlight can also help lessen the running times of your coolers.

Air refreshers

The quality of indoor air should be cleaner than the air outside. When possible, smoking should be avoided when inside the premises of the house. If there are smoking family members, encourage them to stop the habit.

Utilize the air-sieving capabilities of plants. It will help if you have plants and some trees in your lawn or garden. Their leaves can sieve pollutants and prevent them from entering your house. They also play essential role in the oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle.

Go natural

Sometimes it really pays to use natural things than artificial ones. This is particularly relevant when cleaning agents are talked of. There are many commercially-available cleaners but most of them contain chemicals that are harmful both to the health of your family and to the environment. Baking soda is a popular alternative to cleansers because it is nontoxic. It can serve as a multipurpose cleaner. If you can’t refrain from buying commercial cleaners, it is better if you’ll inspect the labels to see if they contain natural ingredients. There are detergents, soaps, and dishwashing pastes and liquids that are made from natural fruit extracts. Within your kitchen, you can make use of readily-available natural ingredients like citrus fruits and tea tree oil. Vinegar is a very good toilet-cleaning agent when mixed with borax.

You don’t have to spend much just to make your house greener and healthier. You don’t even need to possess fantastic powers to make your house an amazing headquarters of comfort, convenience, and relaxation. Sometimes, it’s all in your hands and minds!

Green Building – Sustainable Materials For Home Construction

There are prominent issues in the contemporary society especially those that tackle the massive impact of things in the environment. In the real estate industry, preferring technologies and systems that cater to the preservation of the environment is becoming a trend. One of the concerns prevalent today is on the use of sustainable materials for home construction.

There are innumerable criteria you can actually consider when talking about sustainable materials and how such items are qualified under this category.

One of the main properties that sustainable and green buildings must be eligible with is its less environment impact. Since such real property entities account for many effects on the use of land, water and energy consumption as well as the alteration in the air and the atmosphere, buildings must primarily reduce its consumption of natural resources which are slowly depleting and eliminated without chances of renewal.

Sustainable materials are the ones that are recycled and reused in order to build or renovate homes and buildings. This way, you are not contributing to the exhaustion of the natural resources in order to answer the demands for new materials and items to use for construction and renovation of your property. There are numerous industries in the world of real estate that cater to the notion of recycling and refurbishing materials instead of producing new ones for constructing new properties or improving old ones.

In general, bear in mind that the process of building construction is definitely producing a lot of wastes. Hence, the materials that are recycled and reused must have the ability to reincorporate whatever scraps or wastes are made and remixed or reused it for other building construction purposes.

Another important criterion to consider is to look into the sustainability features of the material and to know if it is truly sustainable from the very moment it was harvested or gained as a raw material up to the time of its eventual disposal.

The material must have very minimal impact to the environment especially in terms of the waste, emission, energy consumption and its capacity to replenish itself in order not to deplete the resources taken from nature due to its production. The energy consumption especially in terms of the harvesting process of the material, its actual processing and the transportation required are all considerable qualities to tag a material that is truly not hazardous to nature.

There are different types of resources which are not recyclable however are still considered sustainable because these primarily have the capacity to highly replenish. Examples of such materials are straw, hay, bamboo, cork, adobe and clay among others. They are tagged with this kind of quality because they can quickly replenish and renew their quantity after they have been harvested. These materials also have low or very minimal rates on emission and are highly deemed for energy conservation.

Hence, if you want to build an eco-friendly and healthier property, you must consider using all natural materials which are sustainable and renewable in nature in every corner and foundation of your home.

A Green Home Buyer’s Guide On Choosing An Eco-Friendly Home

Eco-friendly living is the way forward, and it is currently the best time for you to follow this trend. So go ahead and own a green abode that reflects your personality. Below, are a few points that you should consider on your pursuit to acquiring a green home.

Building A Home Vs. Buying One: How Do They Compare?

Every house is energy efficient and eco-friendly one way or the other, which usually saves a considerable amount of money. But buying a home does not give you the freedom to use your own ideas on the house from the ground up, as opposed to building a house according to your plan.

Renovation Can Do The Trick

If you have a non eco-friendly house and you want to convert it into an eco-friendly unit, you can spend money on modifying the house based on your ideas. For instance, you could replace an old light bulb with the latest LED ones, which are proven to consume less energy. Note that reworking on your house could cost a significant hole in your bank account, but in the long run, it is definitely worth it.

Other Important Priorities

Living green will likely be next to impossible, if you are on a budget and looking to stay close to popular hubs. The same could be said, if you want to have restaurants and other recreational facilities around your neighbourhood.

Be Ready To Relocate If Necessary

Is living in an eco-friendly house a top priority for you? If the answer is yes, then you need to consider relocating to a location where it is possible, I.e, a place where there’s plenty of sunlight and a place that suits your budget. But most times, this would mean that you would have to relocate to another region. You would have to settle in an entirely new location, where you will need start all over again, which is a bad idea if you are not looking forward to change.

Get Hold Of A Green Agent

Now that green living is becoming more and more popular, there is a rise in the number of real estate agents specialising in the scouting process of such houses. Get in touch with one of them to get a tour of affordable alternatives that are available.

Although eco-friendly living is a great step towards a self-sustaining life, it also requires you to invest a lot of time, effort, and money that is usually not a sound alternative for working-class families. You should go for this lifestyle, only if you are absolutely sure it is a serious decision, and not just a hobby.