The Natural Home Guide to Buying a Green Home

In the market for a green home? Here’s what to look for and what to ask.

| July/August 2007

  • First prioritize the green-building issues that are most important to you, then try to find a home that meets those needs.

Danielle and Gavin Craig of Lansing, Michigan, found an affordable first home but didn’t want bank-breaking utility bills. So, they got an energy-efficiency mortgage, which helped them upgrade the furnace, add attic insulation and seal leaky windows. The result? Their utility bills are about one-third less than those of their neighbors.

“No one expects people to make home-buying choices to benefit the environment alone,” says Kim Calomino, director of Built Green Colorado, “so we hope homebuyers recognize the direct benefit to themselves: reduced costs to operate and maintain the house, higher quality indoor air and improved comfort.”

Sound good? Here’s how you too can be a smart home shopper.

1. Know Your Developer or Community

• Look for signs that the land has been respected. A lot happens before ground is ever broken. “When we plan a community, we start with the natural systems,” says Kitty Green, president/CEO of the Bonita Bay Group, whose Verandah community earned Florida’s first “green community” designation. “We make sure nature is protected or enhanced.”

• Ask about water-wise systems, including separate water systems for potable and non-potable water and the use of native vegetation, yards and greenways.

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