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What to Look For When Buying an Energy-Efficient Home

Posted by Justin Havre on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 12:10pm.

How to Purchase an Energy Efficient HomeWhen you decide to purchase a home, what are you putting on your wish list? Do you consider the type of schools and shops in the neighborhood? Perhaps you are just looking for a house with a large backyard, plenty of bedrooms and an open floor plan? One other must-have that more and more people have put on their list of desired amenities is energy-efficient features.

The term, "energy-efficient home" has been a buzzword for decades for people who are looking for a place that lowers their carbon footprint and is environmentally friendly. Yet, nowadays, it is gaining more popularity as a concept. People are not only looking for a home that uses sustainable materials, they are also in search of a property that will provide lower utility bills so a person can save more money.

If you are on the search for an energy-efficient home to purchase or renovate, check to make sure it has the following aspects:

LEED Certification or Energy Star Certification

One of the easiest ways to locate an energy-efficient South Calgary home is to look for those that have received certification through the LEED or Energy Star programs. A LEED home has to meet all environmental regulations specified under the U.S. Green Building Council to get LEED certification as a sustainable home that lowers your energy dependency. An Energy Star home has to meet all EPA Energy Star requirements and pass inspection to receive an acceptable home energy score.

Water Efficiency

You are using water inside as well as outside your home. You are watering the lawn and plants, washing the car, or have water features such as fountains and pools in outdoor spaces. Inside your home, you are using water to cook and clean with on a daily basis.

Lowering the amount of water used can help to better conserve this natural resource. You can look to see if the home has energy-efficient water heaters, water-efficient landscaping features and low-flow fixtures.

Electricity Efficiency

Depending on how large your household is, and when everything was built, you may find that your energy bills are astronomically high. Lowering your electricity usage to power your home is one way where you can save more money in your bank account while reducing your carbon footprint.

Your appliances are often the major culprit with high electric bills. Older appliances simply can't compare to the energy-efficient qualities of newer products out on the market today.

If a home has newer appliances with the Energy Star rating label, then you can breathe a little easier that the utility bill will be more manageable. You should also look for low-energy lighting systems and timers in the home.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows

Although they are often beautiful, old windows are a major source of energy loss in the home. In the summer, heat enters the home through single paned windows. In the winter, heat is lost through these same windows. Replacing old windows with modern, energy-efficient models is an excellent way to save money on heating and cooling costs.

When replacing old single-paned windows with modern, energy efficient windows, the homeowner must consider the following:

  • Number of panes. The more panes of glass in a window, the more energy efficient it is likely to be.
  • Gas filled or air filled. The space between panes of glass must either be filled with gas or filled with air; gas filled models are more efficient.
  • Special coatings. Modern windows often come with low-e coatings to prevent heat loss or heat gain, depending on the time of year.

Not all old windows are energy inefficient. Well maintained wooden windows in historic homes can be adequate. Homeowners must know the signs of energy inefficiency, including: 

  • Windows are drafty in winter, and sitting near windows can be uncomfortable.
  • Rooms with south or west-facing windows get very warm in summer.
  • Windows become frosty or icy on the inside at the coldest times of year.

Homeowners who want to know if their windows need to be replaced should contact a window contractor in their area. 

Heating and Cooling Efficiency

Heating and cooling efficiency works in two ways for a homeowner: it lets your mechanical systems use less energy at a more efficient rate, and the home structure holds in the conditioned air better without allowing the outdoor air to decrease the comfort level of the indoor environment. There are numerous efficiency aspects to look for when you are looking to purchase a home.

Check to see if the home has new energy-efficient windows and doors that prevent air leakage. Also check out the efficiency of furnaces and heaters to see if they are well maintained. Another key aspect is that you want a house that has proper insulation in the walls and roof to act as an adequate barrier to heat flow.

An efficient home can provide you with lower utility bills and a more environmentally friendly impact. Decide on the features that are most important to you when you start looking for homes on the market.

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