Keeping up With the Joneses: Better Ways to Green Your Home


Are you intrigued by the Joneses and want to know what they’re up to? If they’re like many forward-thinking homeowners then the Joneses are greening their home for better re-sale value this spring. Those that care about their investments are making the shift to renovate or buy green houses. Green building is more than a mainstream trend. There are many reasons the Joneses choose this method of home design. They feel a social responsibility to their families; their communities; and on the largest scale, to our planet. Your progressive neighbors may also be doing it because of implemented community policies or legislation forecasts in our future. As a matter of fact, many people are taking it to the next level by combining green energy into their renovations or home design with the goal of achieving the coveted “net-zero” status. Healthy building products and product disclosure declarations are a hot topic in schools across the globe and they should be for you when choosing your new home or opting for home renovations.


Top 3 Trends Sustainable Green Building Forecasts in 2014

Green building guru, speaker, and author Jerry Yudelson put together a top 10 list of green building trends for 2014. The trends are geared towards the entire construction industry with a major focus on commercial building, however there are a few forecasts that apply directly to residential real estate. The ones you should be aware of as a homeowner are:

  1. Green building in North America will continue with strong growth in 2014. Commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. “Green building is the future that will inundate the entire real estate industry.”
  2. Strong focus on energy efficiency practices.
  3. Better design and operation of zero-net-energy buildings.

You may be wary of “greening your home” because of its initial cost or maybe because you associate it with tree-hugging free spirits.  Environmentally conscious homebuilding has exploded worldwide as has the awareness and concerns about our water supply and the urgency of finding sustainable solutions.

Nearly 23,000 homes across the U.S. have some function that includes Energy Efficiency and Environmental Design certification. There are many accredited certifications like LEED or BREEAM. Your home does not need to be certified for it to increase in value. Building or buying homes to these certification standards are what a lot of government agencies, cities and businesses are doing. It’s true that some of these certifications have created painful red tape and regulatory nightmares that the costs to homeowners or builders leave them with an ROI of next to none. But as a homeowner you can still make a difference by following some simple guidelines curated by consultants, educators, and certification experts to green your home which will increase its marketability to potential buyers and investors or to ensure it meets impending codes. These consultants can also show you which renovations to pursue first, saving you utility costs in the long-term.


Ways to Sell Your Home for More Money in the Spring Real Estate Market

If you’re contemplating doing some environmental upgrades to your home consider these factors:

  • Was the lumber sustainably harvested?
  • How much energy does your home use monthly?
  • Do you have low flush toilets installed?
  • Have you swapped out your old light bulbs for new energy efficient ones?
  • Are you using lead-free paint?
  • Does your home have proper ventilation, heating and cooling?
  • Are your cabinets adhered with formaldehyde-free glue?
  • Do you use natural products like recycled glass counter tops?

Your city website should have resources at your disposal to help you make smart renovation decisions. Many municipalities have grants and rebates to encourage sustainability in your home or business.

It is never too late to do the right thing. Now you can make financial sense in terms of resale value. Researchers at the University of California found that green-home labels increased single-family home prices by nine percent. Green was once seen as a high-fashion way to pour money down the drain. Today green is becoming ever more affordable.


The Economics of Green. Image via Tate Inc.

Tips on How To Renovate Green While Adding Value to Your Home

A recommended resource is Green Building Remodeling for Dummies. Making one or some of the following changes to your home can reduce your utility expenses and add value to your home when it comes time to sell.


Market value of green construction materials. Image via Environmental Leader.

Why You Should Green Your Home

Here’s a recap of the value of green home renovations and design for the homeowner and why it’s important to make sustainable changes.

  • Be forward thinking – your community likely has rebates and incentives to help
  • Impending legislation – stay ahead of the curve
  • Social responsibility – feel good knowing your home is reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • ROI – increased asset value and marketability
  • Long term investment – reap the pay-off for years to come with lower monthly utility bills (up to 30% savings)

If you’re serious about doing green design the right way then you might consider hiring a consultant who will get to know your goals for your home and can offer you the right kind of advice. You can also refer to the Living Building Challenge for case studies and certification resources. Contact us for more information about finding a green design consultant in your area.

About The Author

PowerHouse Growers
PowerHouse Growers teaches you how to sustainably integrate urban agriculture into your cities, businesses, and homes. We provide clear solutions and benefits for better health, increased productivity, and lower environmental impact. By connecting you with experts, we bring awareness to solutions that may not be top of mind.