There’s nothing quite like turning the key to your new home for the first time and taking in the aesthetic pleasantries of the whole thing. Beyond your eyes, there is another perk to newly constructed living and that is the opportunity to go green from the beginning. Tax benefits, monthly savings, a smaller carbon footprint, and increased home value are all reasons to consider green additions to your home. The added bonus of green additions to a home as it’s built is the chance to easily adjust design elements to be eco-friendly that otherwise would be very difficult in a home once it’s built. Check out our list of suggested green additions below that are worth the money.
Beyond the Walls
While your future home stands bare boned, ask about energy efficient insulation. Insulation stands to resist heat flow based on the way the material convects, conducts, and radiates heat. The best fitted insulation for your newly built home will depend on the climate conditions in which you live. The better your insulation works, the more money you will save in heating and cooling costs.
Before you lay your sod or plant grass seed in your new lawn, consider what type of irrigation system you may use. An addition of a drip irrigation system instead of a more traditional sprinkler system will help to target the plants that you need watered at the point where it matters the most: the roots. These systems are a little more money up front, but are well worth the savings in water bills. Not only that, try installing a rainwater collection tank to use the runoff from downspouts and gutters to lower your bill even more. Things like weather sensors are smart enough to tell the irrigation system when the most appropriate times to water are and will stop watering if there is already enough moisture in the air.
No More Money Flushing
The porcelain thrones of the home are responsible for 26 percent of water use. That’s a lot of water which translates into a lot of dollars down the toilet. Today’s standard toilet may use around 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), but there’s still room for a greener bathroom experience with more efficient models that use as little as 1.28 gpf. Not only that, but with the advent of intelligent toilets that can do things like clean you (and let’s not get into details here), you are saving money on paper products and doing your part to reduce waste. While in bathroom design, discuss options with your builder for water saving faucets and shower heads to further help conserve water in your home.
Let the Light Shine
Replacing windows on the home is an expensive endeavor and much better done before the residents have moved in. While your new home is being built is the best moment to opt for energy efficient windows. The availability of energy efficient window models runs the gamut for climate specificity and will quickly pay for themselves through heating and cooling savings, and, at times, savings on your light bills, too. Websites such as energy.gov provide more information on what type of window is right for your home or ask your builder for his or her recommendation.
Keep It Cool (or Hot)
The HVAC system is the king of the home, especially during a sweltering hot summer day. It will pay in more ways than one to invest in a green system from the get-go to ensure your home stays adequately heated and cooled, while saving you cash in the process. Taking up the supportive roles of this system are things such as programmable thermostats and duct systems. The winding network of ducts hiding in your ceiling, flooring, and walls is responsible for taking the hot and cold air where it needs to be, which means that the proper seals and materials are crucial. Programmable thermostats and smart systems that can be controlled from your smartphone will eliminate the wasteful age-old practice of accidentally heating or cooling an empty house.
After all of the added expense of being a friend to mother nature, your head may be spinning, but relax and take a look at energy.gov. Here you will find great tools such as energy savings calculators, state and federal tax credits, and other ways to conserve energy and save money. Now those are some green upgrades for your brand new home that are well worth the extra money!