Home buyers are increasingly interested in features that make a home eco-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, according to the REALTORS and Sustainability 2019 Report, 59% of respondents found that residential consumers were very or somewhat interested in sustainability, and 69% said energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable. When you’re listing or showing homes, here are some eco-friendly features that you can bring to the attention of prospective buyers:
1. Tankless water heaters
Instead of heating and storing water until it’s used like traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters heat water on demand, which increases energy efficiency. Tankless heaters also take up less space and usually last longer than traditional water heaters. While homeowners with tankless heaters can often save on utility bills, the systems can be significantly more expensive than traditional water heaters and may require installation upgrades.
2. Rainwater collection system
Storm water runoff can be collected and stored to be used for lawn and landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, clothes washing, and other purposes. There are many different ways that systems harvest rainwater, but they often channel the rain and snow melt that comes from roofs. Rainwater collection systems can sometimes help mitigate drainage issues in certain cases. In some states, rainwater harvesting is regulated or restricted, so be sure to familiar with your state’s laws.
3. Low flow toilets and shower heads
Toilets are the main source of water use in the home, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using nearly 30% of the average indoor water consumption of a home. Older, inefficient toilets can use as much as six gallons per flush, while the current federal standard is 1.6 gallons per flush. Likewise, low flow faucet and shower aerators can also reduce water consumption.
Due to its rapid growth and spread, bamboo is a highly renewable resource. This sustainable building material is being increasingly used in home construction. Bamboo is popular for flooring, furniture, window treatments, fences, and even roofing.
The type of landscaping that a home has can contribute significantly to energy efficiency. Wind breaks can protect structures from cold air, reducing heating consumption during winter months, while shade trees can cool structures in the summer, decreasing the need for air conditioning use. If a yard has drought-resistant plants and turf, less water will be needed to nourish the vegetation. Sprinkler systems can help make watering more efficient.
6. Solar outdoor lighting
Often used to line walkways, pathways, or gardens, this type of lighting uses solar cells to convert sunlight into an electrical current. Available in a wide range of styles, solar lighting conserves energy and helps to keep energy bills down, while providing a safe source of exterior lighting. Most outdoor solar lighting is easy to install and requires little maintenance.
7. Built-in recycling centers
When a home has a dedicated, convenient spot to deposit recyclables, family members are more likely to be consistent in their efforts. Recycling centers are often found in the kitchen, laundry room, mud room, or garage areas of the home. There are usually bins, containers, or slots for disposal of paper, plastic, glass, or metals, depending on local recycling guidelines.
There are other low-cost, low maintenance ways to make a home eco-friendly. For example, installing a programmable thermostat and LED light bulbs can help reduce energy consumption without the need for a big cash outlay or expensive, disruptive upgrades. It’s also easy to simply turn off lights when leaving a room, or to unplug electronics when they’re not in use.