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What Is A Green Home? A Green Home Guide For Beginners.

Katie Ziraldo4-Minute Read
November 30, 2021

As people grow more aware of human impact on the environment, it makes sense that society would begin to look for ways to live a less destructive lifestyle. One major way that homeowners can lower their environmental impact is by creating a greener home.

But what defines a green home? In this article, we’ll explain the key elements of green homes and what you need to know before you embrace this environmentally friendly lifestyle.

What Makes A House A Green Home?

A green household is one that works to minimize its impact on the planet. This is often done by reducing the number of resources required to keep a home running.

While there are a number of small ways homeowners can live more sustainably at home – like winter proofing with weatherstripping and caulking – the term “green home” typically refers to a house that has been specifically built or remodeled with a focus on reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency.

What Are The Main Elements Of Green Building Construction?

So, what can you expect to find in a green home? Houses that are constructed or converted to be green take steps to ensure energy efficiency, improve air quality and reduce water consumption.

While some of these require an upfront cost, they all reduce long-term expenses and the home’s environmental impact. They key elements of green buildings include:

  • Energy efficiency/renewable energy: Using less traditional energy leads to less air pollution and reduces the home’s carbon footprint. In addition to relying on renewable forms of energy like solar, energy-efficient homes also utilize added insulation and windows and doors specifically designed to keep the house comfortable at a lower cost.
  • Indoor air quality: Researchers are finding more links between indoor air quality and illness, so green homes focus on improving air quality by reducing or eliminating the use of fuel-burning combustion appliances, deteriorating asbestos-containing insulation, cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products and more.
  • Water conservation: Water shortages and droughts are experienced across many parts of the U.S., so green homes do their part to reduce water usage when possible.
  • Environmentally friendly building materials: From utilizing sheep’s wool as insulation to making good use of reclaimed wood, green homes rely on sustainable building materials throughout construction.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Green Home?

If you’re planning to build a new house, you may have the perfect opportunity to protect the environment by making it a green home as opposed to a code-built traditional home.

But keep in mind that this is a long-term investment, and while you may save money overtime, constructing a green home from scratch will likely cost more than a traditional one. This is because green builders use different guidelines, technologies and materials – swapping out harsh resources for environmentally friendly alternatives.

The exact cost of building a green home varies significantly based on location and the homeowner’s specific desires. However, on average these homes cost about 5% more to construct than code-built homes, with the average green home build costing $274,000, excluding the cost of the property itself.

If you prefer to skip construction and upgrade your current home to go green, the FHA and Fannie Mae offer loans to pay for green home upgrades. Homeowners can also pay for green upgrade costs with a cash-out refinance or a home equity loan.

The Bottom Line

While green living may seem like a passing trend, choosing to live sustainably can have positive long-term impact on both your wallet and the environment. Embracing an eco-friendly home can even increase the value of your home over time.

If you’re interested in learning more about green living, explore our guide to the different types of eco-friendly homes.

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Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo found her love of writing through her experience working with various newspapers, such as the Detroit Free Press. Her financial literacy stems from her four years as a Recruiter, when she learned the details of every role in the mortgage process. As a writer, she uses that knowledge to create relevant content for homeowners to help them reach their goals.