The Eco-Friendly Features Home Buyers Want Most
Yes! As a “greenie” – an advocate of eco-friendly homes – you are not alone, according to the National Association of Realtors. They’ve gathered information to prove many house buyers are actively looking for green features that will reduce their future home’s carbon footprint and help save the planet. (Of course, most of these features will also save these prospective homeowners a few bucks, but that can’t hurt either, right?) Find out the environmentally aware features most in demand by new home purchasers which you can add to your house for sale.
84 percent of house hunters want green heating and cooling
Today’s prospective home buyers show up at open houses already armed with facts and figures, the result of their research on the internet. They know that heating and cooling together account for the largest portion of residential energy use by far – close to 50 percent – and they are interested in both saving money on utilities and protecting the planet. If you’re about to put your home up for sale, improving its energy efficiency will translate to added curb appeal. Here are practical changes you can make, even in an older home:
- Install or upgrade insulation in areas such as the attic and crawl space.
- Make sure your ductwork is in top shape to prevent loss of heated or cooled air.
- Install programmable, zoned thermostats.
- Replace poorly fitting or damaged windows, doors, and other sources of air leaks.
- When you need to replace your HVAC system, choose an energy-efficient type, such as a geothermal heat pump.
67 percent of home buyers want energy efficient appliances and lighting
Prospective buyers are also well aware that electrical appliances can be major “energy hogs,” which account for some 13 percent of a home’s monthly utility bill. Are you, as a potential seller, thinking of replacing any of the following appliances?
- Water heater
- Washing machine
- Ceiling Fan (with or without light)
If so, consider energy-efficient models. Versions of all these appliances are available complete with Energy Star certification, verifying that the devices reduce energy consumption, while at the same time they provide the high standard of features and performance that contemporary consumers want. Energy Star certified appliances are clearly labeled, as proof that they comply with the program, and add value to your home.
47 percent of purchasers want landscaping for energy conservation
House hunters who’ve done their homework have learned that the right landscaping can contribute more than just a “pretty face” to a property. Carefully chosen plantings are capable of conserving energy, saving as much as 50 percent on summer cooling and 10-30 percent on heating in winter. Here’s how:
- Trees and shrubs which are planted surrounding a home (at a distance of approximately 15 feet, so their roots won’t harm the foundation) will protect against exposure to extreme temperature, whether due to strong winds or to intense sunlight. At the same time, deciduous plants will shed their leaves in time to allow winter sun to warm the house. Both these factors will permit you to reduce the amount you need to use your heating and cooling system.
- Xeriscaping and planting species native to the region will also reduce the amount of water required to sustain your landscaping. For a further energy savings, use low-water ground cover in place of grass, which means that you will be able to reduce or completely eliminate mowing.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.