As the eco-conscious movement sweeps through the nation, individuals search for climate change prevention techniques. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan amplifies the national effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. He established a carbon-neutral goal for the coming years.
America can work together and limit adverse ecological effects by investing in sustainability. Eco-friendly real estate is on the rise, helping residents significantly shrink their carbon footprints. The government may control the efficiency of mass systems like public transportation, and individuals can contribute to ecological conservation from home.
Residential Environmental Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic left residents house-bounding, facing challenges of garbage accumulation and utility emissions. Before the lockdown, individuals could leave their homes, turning a blind eye to their pollution problems. Since the increase in awareness, many homeowners look for more sustainable living options.
When you evaluate the real estate market, searching for an eco-friendly property, there are certain features you must consider. Before examining the aspects of an efficient home, we must evaluate residential sustainability challenges.
A significant portion of residential greenhouse gas emissions derives from heating and cooling systems. When powered by fossil fuels, they create an enhanced greenhouse effect. During combustion, the fuel source releases pollutants into the environment, altering the atmosphere’s organic composition.
Traditionally, Earth absorbs solar radiation, creates heat, warms the surface, reabsorbs extra energy, generates more heat, and sends unnecessary elements to space. When greenhouse gases invade the atmosphere, they alter the natural process. They have a higher solar radiation-to-heat conversion rate.
Additionally, they contain excess heat in the atmosphere for extended periods. The overproduction and entrapment of warm energy raise the global temperature over time. Higher temperatures decrease the conservation of Earth’s resources, increasing the evaporation rate and degrading the global ecosystem.
Conventional home systems also increase water scarcity rates. Nearly 785 million individuals lack access to clean drinking water globally. Exploiting freshwater resources through inefficient sprinkler, faucet, or shower systems can decrease the sustainability of a home.
Reliance on the Grid
Another ecological challenge deriving from residential buildings is their grid reliance. When you power your property using grid electricity, you contribute to fossil fuel emissions. You also decrease your resource stability during major storms and outages.
Unsustainable homes also create adverse ecosystem effects from runoff. When you use growth-enhancing products in your yard, like synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, they can travel to the ocean during storms.
In the ocean, chemical pollution increases algal blooms. As algae grow, it depletes local aquatic oxygen levels, decreasing the stability of habitats. The generation of dead zones leaves marine species vulnerable, reducing their food security and protection.
Residential chemical pollution is 100% preventable, like carbon emissions and water exploitation. With the right appliances and practices, homes can decrease their adverse ecological impacts. When searching for a low-impact property, you can evaluate four different features.
Eco-Friendly Home Features
1. Smart Devices
Homes that utilize smart devices are more efficient than conventional properties. Smart thermostats significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions deriving from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The device maintains a low power reliance on the indoor temperature at all times.
It also uses motion detection sensors, turning off the device’s power supply when a vacant property. Individuals can access the system’s control settings from their smartphone, adjusting the temperature when they work to save energy. The device also accesses weather information, conserving air conditioning energy on cool summer nights.
2. Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Sustainable homes also reduce water exploitation by repurposing stormwater. When searching for an eco-friendly property, you can look for one with a rainwater harvesting system. The device collects rainwater and snowmelt, recycling them for residential needs.
Some systems transfer the water directly to irrigation systems. Other versions purify the stormwater, creating clean sources for bathing, cleaning, and drinking. Rainwater harvesting systems prevent pollution-generating runoff and freshwater exploitation.
3. Renewable Energy Devices
Investing in properties with renewable power is also beneficial to ecological conservation. Solar paneled homes can eliminate electricity-derived greenhouse gas emissions. They also attain significantly lower utility costs.
Fossil fuel-generated energy costs up to 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar power reaches as low as three cents per kilowatt-hour, making it the more cost-effective power option.
The real-estate market views solar panels as an upgrade like a renovated bathroom or finished basement. Because of the perception effects, solar-powered homes sell for $15,000 above their traditional market value. The increased rates can stress a buyer financially, and saving for a mortgage down payment can help.
You can access a renewably powered home when using the 50-30-20 technique. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck or saving all their income, individuals may develop a financial balance and support a solar purchase. Over time, the investment will pay itself off, eliminating your electricity bill, helping you allocate that money to paying off a mortgage.
4. Eco-Friendly Materials
Buyers should also evaluate the ecological impacts of a home’s materials. Reducing element pollution is essential to the sustainability of a property. Conventional insulation materials can cause adverse environmental effects.
Eco-friendly homes may contain cellulose insulation generated from recycled paper. Companies treat the material with borate, decreasing its flammability and mold development. Buyers can also search for homes that include eco-friendly paint.
When volatile organic compound (VOC) paint particles pollute the environment from chipping and runoff, they generate ground-level ozone. They combine with nitrogen oxide from vehicle emissions, creating fine particulate matter. The combination develops smog, limiting visibility and degrading air quality.
Fortunately, researchers identified the ecological issue and created non-VOC paints. When searching for an eco-friendly home, buyers should stay away from toxic and pollution-generating paints. A realtor can access the home’s material information, ensuring its sustainability.
Where to Start
When you are ready to invest in a sustainable home, you can start by hiring an eco-conscious realtor. The professional can act as a guide, filtering through ecologically degrading properties before scheduling a showing. You can also develop a list of features your future home must-have, ensuring the success of your purchase.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.