Reinventing Green Real Estate

It's all about ugly solar panels and cold houses, right? Turn down the heat! Put a sweater on! God, those solar panels are an eye-sore! Not any more. Green building has evolved into much more than simply slapping some solar panels on the roof of your house and calling it a day. It can include such basic concepts as: the proper orientation of your house, sealed air ducts, high efficiency windows, improved insulation, high efficiency HVAC, and tight construction.

Check out The US Green Building Council for more information. A comprehensive rating system called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has been developed whose goal is to provide "a road map for delivering economically profitable, environmentally responsible, healthy, productive places to live and work."

Too late, I've already got a house

Not really, LEED provides a document called "16 Ways to Green your Home" which advises that you:

  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs

  • Program your thermostat

  • Plug air leaks

  • Tune up your HVAC system

  • Choose Energy Star appliances

  • Reduce water use

  • Switch to green power (could be as simple as calling your energy company and asking for wind power)

  • Buy local

  • Use low VOC products

  • Use wood-alternative or FSC-certified wood products

  • Use rapidly renewable flooring materials

  • Plant trees to provide shade and wind protection

  • Use native plants

  • Use non-toxic garden techniques

  • Carpool

  • Buy a high-efficiency car

  • While it's true that certain areas of the country are more open to the green building revolution than others, you can certainly see from this information that taking a step in the "green" direction is not overwhelming.

    So go ahead, give it a try.