Green Tips & Facts

What Makes a Home Green

REALTORS® should know how to identify a green home for their clients. Below is a list of characteristics from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to look for when searching for your buyer’s perfect home. These things will help your buyer save money and the environment. To see the full list, click here.

  • Location - A green home should not disrupt wildlife and should be in a densely populated area close to public transportation.
  • Size - Generally, smaller homes are automatically greener.
  • Design - A green home should allow for plenty of natural light to enter the interior so as to reduce the need for electrical lights. Its design should keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • Building Materials - Look for homes with non-toxic building materials and furnishings.
  • Insulation - A non-toxic insulation will help prevent cool air leakage in the summer and warm air leakage in the winter, saving your buyer a significant amount of money in utility costs.
  • Windows and Doors - The USGBC suggests looking for EnergyStar rated windows and doors. Also, make sure they are sealed tightly to prevent heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
  • Energy Efficiency - EnergyStar rated lights, heating and cooling, and water systems.
  • Renewable Energy - The home should be able to produce some of its own energy, such as the use of photovoltaic systems (solar panels).
  • Water efficiency - A green home has a water-conserving irrigation system and water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Look for a rainwater collection and storage system.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality - There should be plenty of natural light and ventilation.

How to Sell Green

Long-term cost savings: A common misconception about green homes is that they cost more. However, one of the biggest reasons a homebuyer would opt for a green home is the amount of money they actually do save in the long run. While the higher cost of building a green home is passed on to the buyer, the long-term savings outweigh the initial cost. In addition to the savings in utility bills, green homes are built with high-quality materials which make them more durable than a traditional home. This means the buyer will spend less money on repairs. Talk to buyers about the monetary value of going green.

Smart investment: According to the National Association of Home Builders, the market demand for green homes is continuously rising. In fact, they say by 2010, 40-50 percent of new homes are expected to be green. New York State offers tax credits to builders and developers who create green buildings, which will further contribute to this upward trend. Talk to your buyer about the benefits of investing in a green home as the value will increase in the future.