February 21st, 2020

How to Make Your Home More Sustainable

Residential real estate’s growing focus is becoming all about sustainability and environmentally friendly home concepts. Buyers are becoming more attracted to sustainable features and the level of “green” their house is considered. According to the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Sustainability Resource Guide, 61 percent of surveyed members said their clients are interested in sustainability and want more of these types of features in their homes. Luckily, there are many ways to improve the efficiency of a home and what’s inside. 


The World Commission on Environment and Development has defined environmental sustainability as “a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.”


According to Forbes, green building really kicked off in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until about a decade later that the idea became much more mainstream. Now, many expect a certain amount of sustainability in their homes and commercial buildings. More recently, governing bodies and housing authorities are even requiring resource-efficient measures to be in place while building new construction or obtaining permits to alter an existing home.


If you’re looking to update your current home in a more sustainable way, there are some easy ways to make sure your home is environmentally friendly. One of the easiest things to do is to ensure exterior windows and doors are caulked and insulated properly. Homeowners can experience a huge waste of energy due to improper insulation and air slowly leaking out. Also, considering smart home technology can improve your home’s sustainability. Products like a Nest thermostat can save money and energy because it learns the homeowner’s behavioral patterns and lowers temperatures when they are away.


Installing energy-efficient appliances and lighting, like eco-friendly HVAC systems and LED light bulbs, are other simple ways to be more mindful of the environment. Paint can also include lead and other unsafe chemicals so next time you are switching out paint colors, opt for the more eco-friendly paints with no VOC emissions. Exposing natural daylight into your home is the least expensive form of light and should be maximized in new construction and renovations. But when it comes to artificial lights, LEDs are the preferred choice. Energy Star–rated products use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


Aside from the physical construction of your home, making changes to your everyday habits can have a positive impact on the environment. Line-drying clothes and washing them in cold water are two simple tasks that can be done at home to help. Also, do your research on ways to save energy and waste when shopping for groceries, clothes, and cosmetics/beauty supplies.


Promoting energy-efficiency has been growing in popularity among homeowners and potential buyers. People want to know that the space they’re living, breathing, and sleeping in is not only beneficial to their own personal health but to the health of the world around them. As this home trend continues to outpace others, sustainability in real estate can no longer be considered a niche but a necessity.