Looking to buy a new or existing home? Most buyers today want to be sure they are getting an energy efficient house, but how can you be sure? Here are 6 suggestions that should help ease your mind.
1. Get Copies of Past Utility Bills
This makes so much sense, it’s a wonder more people don’t do it. Ask the seller for a copies of the electric, oil, gas and propane bills for the past year. Prices go up and down, but the bills should tell you how many gallons or cubic feet or kilowatts the house actually used. If the seller doesn’t have the actual monthly statements, the utility companies usually have this information readily available. If the seller is reluctant to provide the information, that may be a red flag telling you to beware.
2. Be observant
While you are inspecting any house you are thinking of buying, ask if it has Energy Star rated appliances and energy efficient windows and doors. You can check for air leaks around windows and doors with a candle. Look for low-flow plumbing fixtures, a digital thermostat, proper insulation, low-energy lighting systems, and tankless water heaters. Also take time to inspect the heating and cooling systems. Are they energy hogs or modern high efficiency units?
3. Consider The Extra Factors
Many newer homes are LEED certified, which means they meet standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council. Also look for solar panels, wind turbines or other alternative energy sources. If the property has any of these items, ask to see the maintenance records and ask about any local or state tax credits that you might be eligible for.
4. Size Matters
Smaller homes usually cost less to heat and cool They are also less expensive to maintain. The trend toward larger houses is changing. Ask yourself if you really need all the rooms in the house you are considering. If not, your money might be better spent on a home that is more in line with your needs and lifestyle.
5. Invest in an Energy Audit
The important word here is “invest.” An energy audit will cost you a few hundred dollars, but if it uncovers unseen weaknesses in the total energy usage of the structure, it may save you thousands of dollars down the road. Just like with a structural inspection, you can ask the seller to correct any deficiencies the audit uncovers as part of your offer on the property.
The inspection will measure the home’s air leakage, determine how much insulation there is and identify problem areas. Not only will it give you a better understanding of the property you are considering buying, it will also help you estimate how much money you will want to spend to increase its efficiency once you own it.
6. Build New With Eco-Friendly Construction
If you plan to build a new house, hire a contractor with a proven reputation for using eco-friendly building techniques and sustainable materials. An experienced builder will know about eco-friendly flooring, carpet made from recycled or sustainable materials, low- or no-VOC paints and finishes and how to add the maximum insulation to your new home.
Buying an energy-efficient home will pay dividends each month in lower energy bills. Use this checklist to make sure you get a home that meets all your energy requirements.
Source: Credit.com News : Photo Credit: Shutterstock