Last Updated on September 26, 2021 by Thomas Z
5 Energy-Efficient Features to Look for When You’re House Hunting
House hunting involves lots of important decisions, from finding the best long-distance movers to choosing the right home. Many homeowners are increasingly prioritizing sustainability with their new homes. If you want to make sure your new home is energy efficient, then keep a lookout for these features.
High-Performance, Energy Saving Windows
You may not realize it, but having the right windows in your home can make a big difference in terms of energy efficiency. For perspective, consider that almost 50% of the average home’s heat loss comes from traditional windows. High-performance or energy-efficient windows rely on improved frames, extra panes, and protective coatings to reduce this figure.
Smart Thermostats Are Worth the Buy
Smart thermostats are an important eco-friendly feature that is also very easy to use and saves you money on your electric bill. For reference, Energy Star estimates that if every house had a smart thermostat, we could offset 13 billion pounds of emissions from greenhouse gas every year. This is the equivalent of 1.2 million vehicles’ worth of emissions.
Smart thermostats rely on features like remote sensors and geofencing to automate heating and cooling and do so efficiently. The systems also tend to be easy to use, with many working via apps and/or smart home devices.
Solar Panel Systems
As solar panels become more affordable, more and more homes now feature them. The great thing about solar panels is that not only are they good for the planet, but they also help you save money. At the very least, you’ll consume less energy, reducing your electric bill.
Depending on where you live, you may even be able to sell excess energy to your electric company. Just be sure to evaluate a home’s solar panels before you buy it. Confirm that they are in good shape, that they meet your needs, and whether they are paid off.
Tankless Electric Water Heaters
Every modern home has hot water, but the system used to heat it varies. Tankless or instantaneous water heaters are the most energy-efficient option, as they just heat the water you need. Assuming you use 41 gallons of hot water (or less) each day, using a tankless water heater instead of a traditional one with a tank will save 24% to 34% of your energy consumption. The savings drop slightly to 8% to 14% if you use about 86 gallons per day.
You can also take this in the other direction and choose a house with a separate tankless water heater by each of its hot water outlets. Doing so will save you between 27% and 50% on your energy consumption.
Water Harvesting Systems
If you really want your home to be energy efficient, then look for a water harvesting system. This may not seem like it directly relates to energy conservation, but remember that electrical systems pump water to your house and purify it before it even gets there.
The simplest method is to just have a rain gathering system, such as a plastic barrel by the gutter. It can also be more complex and sanitize the water as well. There are also gray water harvesting systems that reuse water for your toilet or sprinkler. Some will even filter the gray water.
Whichever options you decide to look for, this should help you choose a house that can help the planet and your wallet.