Green is the big buzzword in homes right now. From renovations to new construction, everyone is talking sustainability. A cynic could say it’s all about marketing, and in truth, the wise consumer should be on the lookout for greenwashing. But that’s not the whole picture. The fact is, going green is not only good for the environment, it’s good for you as well.
Buildings account for a large percentage of carbon emissions, and it’s easy to see their impact on the environment. Green homes are becoming a popular alternative to traditional construction and provide benefits like lower operating costs and better indoor air quality.
HOMEOWNERS CASH IN ON THE GREEN
Opting for green construction can come along with a number of tax incentives and rebates as well. In Canada, green homes can qualify for a 10% mortgage loan insurance premium refund. In the US, homeowners can apply for a 30% tax credit when they buy geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, solar energy systems, or fuel cells through the Energy Star program. The UK has the Green Deal program that offers loans to homeowners who can’t afford to perform insulation upgrades. What’s more, studies from The Earth Advantage Institute found that sustainably-certified homes sell for up to 30% more than their traditionally built counterparts.
GREEN IS HEALTHY
Green construction also means better air quality with fewer VOCs thanks to low/no VOC paints and formaldehyde-free carpeting and flooring. Green homes usually have better insulation, ventilation, and natural light, all good things.
GREEN IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONEMENT
Green homes are made to be more energy efficient and emit fewer greenhouse gasses in construction and operation. According to the US Green Building Council, the average LEED certified building uses 32 percent less electricity than its non-certified counterparts. Most green home builders will search out and use recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials, reducing the amount of landfill waste from construction. Choices should be made based in part on durability as well. A home built to last will require fewer remodels, reducing its global impact even further over time.
GREEN IS NOT NECESSARILY PRICIER
In Seattle, achieving LEED Silver Certification raises the cost of construction by an average of 1.7 percent, and in California, the cost increase is about 2 percent – offset that by an average life cycle savings of 20 percent, and suddenly green becomes a bargain. Straw bale construction is incredibly inexpensive, and there are more green options coming to market every day.
The bottom line? Green is good.
Inspired Habitat is written by local environmentally-conscious lifestyle website Bambeco, a company committed to advancing a more sustainable world.
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