With climate risks rising, an increasing number of homeowners are trying to do their part to improve the environment by investing in green and sustainable products and systems. Following are the top eco-friendly features most homeowners want in their homes.
Content sponsor Quicken Loans for REALTOR Magazine reveals the energy-saving products most in demand right now.
By Rachel Burris
What Are Eco Homes?
Eco homes are designed to promote greener lifestyles by minimizing the greenhouse gases they emit into the atmosphere. These homes reduce their environmental impact by including sustainable materials and technologies that reduce homeowners' energy and water needs.
Each of the following eco-friendly home features helps limit the waste produced by households.
Energy Star-rated appliances. Homes with high-efficiency appliances are in demand because they offer enhanced performance with reduced energy usage. Not only do Energy Star-rated appliances lower homeowners’ carbon footprint, but they also look good and reduce utility costs.
Programmable thermostats. Homes with older HVAC systems are wasteful and costly because they pump hot and cold air throughout the home without regard to when and where it’s needed. Conversely, programmable thermostats provide homeowners with increased control over their climates.
Radiant floor heating. With heat directly transferring from the ground to the individuals standing on it, radiant heating uses much less energy than traditional heating methods. Commonly found in luxury bathrooms, radiant heating requires electric coils or water tubing to be installed under the floors. It’s pricey to install, but this technology ultimately contributes to lower energy expenses.
Solar panels. Instead of relying on the utility company to provide electricity, homeowners' are interested in generating clean energy themselves. Now that capturing the sun’s power is far more affordable, everyone's looking to deck their homes out with solar panels.
Recycled materials. Building and finishing homes with recycled materials is a trend that’s on the rise. Producing new materials depletes many natural resources, so reusing them eliminates waste and diminishes the environmental impact. Reclaimed materials, like barn wood and recycled quartz, also are more affordable and can furnish homes with striking textures.
Geothermal systems. “Geothermal systems use the ground’s relatively cool temperature to cool a home in the summer and relatively warmer temperature to heat homes in the winter,” says Chris Fisher, manager of solar product development and marketing at CertainTeed. “They’re eco-friendly because they can displace heating loads, which currently rely on the burning of fossil fuels to produce heat.” While this method is more efficient than traditional HVAC systems, it’s also more expensive to install. Since it regulates temperatures by transferring heat from the earth into your home, installation requires extensive drilling.
The Benefits Of Eco Homes
With their environmental and financial advantages, it’s no wonder everyone's seeking eco homes. The benefit of homes with eco-friendly features are they're highly coveted, so they’re likely to sell faster and possess a higher resale value in the future.
Rachel Burris is a writer for Quicken Loans’ Publishing House, covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders.