Green Living

It’s easier than you think to be green

Home improvements don’t have to be epic to relieve utility costs. Here are ideas to start your clients and customers thinking green:

  • Turn up the air conditioner thermostat.
  • Change air filters often.
  • Plant trees on the south and west sides of the home to provide shade and reduce interior temperatures.
  • Landscape with drought-resistant orindigenous plants, which retain more water.
  • Add motion sensor lights, to save electricity.
  • Install a gas fireplace in an addition, such as a den or sunroom, which will extend heat to that room.
  • Replace appliances with Energy Star–rated versions. Energy Star appliances exceed government energy-efficiency standards by 10 percent to 25 percent.
  • Invest in new, more efficient heating and cooling systems.
  • Paint your home’s exterior a light color. Darker colors retain more heat.
  • Plug up air leaks, which are the equivalent of leaving a window open all year. Sealing leaks can save more than 10 percent on energy bills.
  • Install double-glazed windows with low-emission glass, which allow maximum light while keeping out heat and cold.
  • When replacing roofing, install light-colored shingles made of metal or tile to reflect heat.
  • Add insulation in walls.

If new-home buyers like a lot that faces the afternoon sun, encourage them to design the house with a shading porch and windows that are higher up on the wall than normal—near the overhangs—to minimize the sun’s heat. The windows will be shaded by the overhang and will allow more desirable reflected, rather than direct, light to penetrate.

From issue of Realtor® Magazine

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