Green homes are gaining popularity in the greater Triangle area, but what is a green home exactly? Homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes more environmentally friendly; a green makeover can happen gradually or all at once!
Environmentally-conscious home buyers are seeking the benefits of purchasing a green home. Bottom line? Green homes seek to reduce the impact on our natural environment by using fewer resources, more eco-friendly materials, and reducing waste.
Green homes have sustainable systems with many environmental, economic, and social benefits, such as reducing emissions, conserving water, reducing operating costs, and improving health.
You might also hear green homes called high-performance, eco-friendly, green energy-efficient homes. Multiple factors contribute to a home being “green.” There are certifications granted by housing or environmental groups, but these are not required for a home to be considered green.
The good news is that in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area there are more and more energy-efficient homes being built to satisfy growing demand.
There are very real benefits to living in a green home! Green homes are durable, needing less maintenance work because of their higher-quality building materials and construction processes. They are also healthier and more cost-effective than traditional homes.
Building a green home uses less energy than a conventional home, and using recycled and reused materials to reduce waste is encouraged. Green homes are also built to be more durable than conventional homes, resulting in less waste over time. Green homes use less energy and water than traditional homes.
Air quality in a green home is superior to other homes. Safer products - those that emit fewer chemicals than are often used in conventional homes - are used in the construction of green homes. Green homes utilize natural and mechanical ventilation to bring fresh air in, filter it, and then vent stale air outside. The better indoor air quality will keep you breathing easily!
Green homes are built for energy efficiency, which minimizes your utility bills. Homeowners can choose Energy Star-rated appliances to help to decrease a home’s water and energy usage. Added bonus? Energy companies often give rate discounts to Energy Star-rated houses.
In addition to these savings, various incentives, such as rebates, tax credits, and savings programs, are available to green homeowners.
Your home does not need to have all these certifications to be considered “green” or for you to gain the benefits of having a green home. The certifications offer standardization of green building principles for areas of site design, energy and water efficiency, and environmental factors like indoor air. This is helpful for potential homeowners looking to purchase a green home as well as for resale.
The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification is one of the best-known green building standards in the United States. A home that is NGBS certified has been inspected by an independent third party. There are four certification levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald. Homes with NGBS certification feature high performance in six areas: site design, resource, water, and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and building operation and maintenance.
Energy Star-certified homes are designed to save up to 30% in energy efficiency savings compared to typical new homes; they must meet requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star-certified homes feature:
The EcoSelect program was developed by Southern Energy Management, a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company. Designed as an alternative to more stringent green certifications, the EcoSelect program allows more flexibility than other green certifications. It minimizes administrative work while offering third-party verification to ensure consumer confidence. Certified EcoSelect homes have energy-efficient lighting, programmable thermostats, high-efficiency HVAC, reduced water usage, and advanced air sealing.
Homes that comply with the High Efficiency Residential Option (HERO) building code are 30% more energy efficient than homes built to North Carolina’s current code. There are rebates available in this program for builders as well as home buyers who buy a house built to this code.
The HERS Index provides a standard measure of home efficiency, rating homes against a “Standard New Home” that meets current industry standards. The Index ranges from 0 to 150, with 0 being the most energy efficient.
Think of the HERS Index like an MPG sticker on a new car. The MPG tells you how many miles/gallon you can expect from your vehicle, while the HERS Index gives you an idea of your energy costs in your new home.
Here’s what you need to know about a home’s HERS Index:
Now that you know the answer to “what is a green home,” browse our listings below to find your green home. Enjoy all the benefits of a green home - health, economic (via lower energy and maintenance costs), and reducing environmental waste.
If you have any questions on green homes in the Raleigh, Durham Chapel Hill area, please contact us today!
Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2023 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .