Real Estate Tips

6 Energy efficient features for homes

6 Energy efficient features for homes

6 Energy efficient features for homes

Whether you’re an investor in residential real estate, a Realtor, or a homebuyer looking for a new home to purchase, it is valuable to understand the features to look for that make a home more energy efficient. Many of today’s homeowners have an interest in preserving the environment, decreasing energy usage, and reducing costs. A home with energy efficient attributes will do just that, and, as a result, be more appealing to potential buyers. Identifying the energy efficient features available that benefit the environment and boost a home’s value will help buyers and investors make more well-informed home purchasing decisions.


Why homeowners should want an energy effective home

An energy efficient home is appealing for many reasons. First, energy effective homes do exactly what they are intended to: they save energy. Using energy efficient building materials, systems, and home appliances within a house can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate.


Additionally, energy efficient features can save the homeowner money through lower utility bills. Older, more ineffective systems (HVAC or heating) in a house are likely to use more energy and generate higher utility bills. Features such as double and triple paned windows and higher levels of insulation help reduce the cost of heating and cooling a home. These systems use a significant amount of energy and streamlining their effectiveness lowers costs substantially.


Six energy efficient home features

  1. Insulation

Having effective sealing and insulation can prevent unintentional airflow and energy waste. Spray foam insulation is the best way to conserve energy and creates a strong air seal. For exterior walls, R-13 to R-23 are the typical insulation recommendations. Attics and ceilings should be insulated with R-30, R-38, or R-49 insulation. Installing quality insulation prevents the buildup of heat and helps keep a home cool in the summer and warm during winter.


  1. Heating system

Even with proper insulation, a poor-quality temperature control system can prevent a home from being energy efficient. In houses with duct systems, about 20% of air is lost due to leaks and poor seals. Fixing those seals and leaks saves a substantial amount of energy- and money. When assessing a system, look for properly sealed equipment with no leaks. To assess heating equipment, inspect the flue piping for rust or disconnections and check all gas or oil connections. Improper burner operation can also decrease energy efficiency and safety.


  1. Air conditioning

If you’re buying or selling a home in a warm climate, the age and quality of air conditioning equipment is a serious consideration. Summer heat can be dangerous and cooling a home can be expensive. Even in traditionally colder climates, energy efficient air conditioning systems are increasingly more important as temperatures across the U.S. are rising. When assessing the air conditioning unit, ensure that indoor and outdoor coils are clean and that the refrigerant charge aligns to manufacturer specifications. Additionally, check the age of the unit and the SEER rating. Higher SEER ratings indicate an energy efficient system, with a rating of 13 being the minimum.  Finally, make any adjustments necessary to the blower components to provide proper airflow.


  1. Windows

You can easily use natural light through windows to help reduce electricity cost. Windows and skylights bring in substantial sunlight and can alleviate the need to rely on artificial light, cutting the electricity cost. However, the type of windows a house has is important to consider for a more energy efficient home in terms of insulation and temperature control. Replacing older windows with newer low-E double or triple paned windows can significantly help regulate the temperature in a home, reduce energy costs, and protect furniture and floors from sun damage.


  1. Solar energy

There are other ways to harness natural light that can help a home operate more efficiently. Homeowners that install solar energy only spend about half of the cost of other electricity. Not only does solar power increase a property’s value, but it is also more cost effective and substantially better for the environment than other options. In addition to solar panels, there are several other ways to harness the benefits of solar energy. South-facing windows, shade trees, drought resistant vegetation, are all energy efficient factors involving solar to consider.


  1. Roofing

You might not think a roof would be relevant to energy efficiency, but the color and materials can make a big difference in a home. Most roofs in the United States are a dark color and are therefore low reflective. They can reach temperatures as high as 150°F to 190°F during hotter weather. This contributes to a high utility bill. In contrast, lighter colored roofs are extremely energy efficient; they reduce expenditures and the demand for electric power, preventing excess heat from entering a home. A light color with a minimum 0.25 solar reflectance is ideal for a roof.


New energy efficient technology

In addition to the existing features of a home, it is helpful to consider all the new technology available. Appliances and HVAC systems use the most energy in a home, so finding energy efficient options can make a difference. For example, there are several high-tech thermostats that are easily programmable to plan an energy efficient heating and cooling cycle. Smart appliances, like thermostats or refrigerators, are easy to use and cost effective. Besides smart systems, there are also different products that simply run more efficiently, like tankless water heaters. If you’re looking for energy efficient products, any ENERGY STAR certified appliances are particularly energy efficient and high quality.

Once you find an energy efficient property to purchase, Landmark Title can help with the closing process. Our team of seasoned professionals are experts in title and escrow. Contact us to have a member of our team help you navigate complex transactions or answer any questions you may have.


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