These days, it seems as if everyone is growing more concerned with protecting the environment and going green; especially home buyers. Because of all the great benefits of owning a green home, there is an increasing demand for eco-friendly, green friendly homes in the housing market. According to a recent survey constructed by McGraw-Hill, "70 percent of buyers are either more or much more inclined to purchase a green home over a conventional home in down housing market."
The benefits of owning a green home are innumerable: green homes are safer for your health, much cheaper and easier to maintain, and better for the environment. Buyers are looking to make that switch to gain peace of mind, and to drastically cut utility expenses.
How can a green home benefit the home seller? Being able to state your home is eco-friendly is a huge draw for buyers, giving your home a leading edge in the tough housing market competition. Buyers are also willing to pay more for a home with energy saving additions; the Earth Advantage Institute has determined that homes with third-party environmental certifications (such as a LEED certification) sell for 30 percent more than conventional homes without such ratings.
Avoid getting stuck in the stagnant housing market! If you want to sell your home faster, consider making these green changes:
Home solar panels are able to convert thermal energy that is produced courtesy of the sun, into real electricity. Solar electricity can be used to power anything in your home from your TV to your kitchen appliances. Although the investment is expensive, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, solar panels can potentially boost home sale prices by 3 to 4 percent.
Lighting accounts for 20% of all home energy use. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's) use 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs. Replace old light bulbs in permanent fixtures to add value and boost your homes efficiency.
To lower heating and cooling bills, buyers look for walls and roofs that have adequate insulation. Uninsulated walls can lose up to 33% of a homes heat, drastically increasing energy costs. For bonus points, consider insulation made out of alternative materials, such as Cellulose, which is mostly made out of recycled newspapers.
Check for air leaks and apply new caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows where necessary. This will not only improve your homes appearance, but will also lower heating and cooling costs.
If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows to reduce heating and cooling costs up to 25%.
Typical household paint may contain upwards of 300 known toxic chemicals (half of which have been linked to cancer) and a total of more than 10,000 total chemicals. These toxic emissions linger in the air for years after any paint job is complete. Volatile Organic Compounds are the worst offenders in the paint chemical category. VOC-free paint is free of the noxious odors that are usually associated with painting; resulting in safer, healthier air quality.
Not only for their beauty, eco-friendly buyers are opting towards bamboo flooring and cabinets also for the endless sustainability. Hardwood trees can take up to 80 years to reach the height and density large enough to harvest, whereas bamboo reaches its maximum height in less than a year, and becomes dense enough to harvest within four to six years. Like a grass, bamboo quickly regenerates and can be cut without harming the plant.
The kitchen can make or break a home sale, especially if the appliances are outdated. Besides the aesthetic appeal, modern appliances have a distinct advantage: energy efficiency. Energy efficient appliances that hold an Energy Star label have been found to use up to 50% less energy and water than older, standard models.
In order to obtain maximum water conservation, replace your old toilet with a dual-stage flush toilet. Stage one, a low volume half flush, is for liquid wast. Stage two performs a full tank flush to wash away solid waste.
According to the EPA, letting your faucet run for five minutes uses as much energy as it takes to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for 14 hours. By installing low-flow shower heads and faucets, water consumption associated with bathing will decrease by up to 70%, and you'll also use less energy heating up the water.
To add to your homes curb appeal, plant native and drought resistant plants that require less water and maintenance.
Even if your home already has a heating and cooling system, ceiling fans can maximize its effectiveness. In the summer, they can pull the warmer air up and away, and in the winter, push warmer air down.
For more information on selling or converting your eco-friendly home, contact your real estate agent and visit U.S Green Building Council for specific guidelines and resources.