Sustenance and sustainability…buzzwords of the 21st century? Well, not really so. Rather, they have gone on to take epic proportions wherein every new construction is being looked at in particular from the point of view of whether or not it confirms to green norms. Clearly, as a global city, these expectations are as true for San Francisco as they are for the rest of the world…
Keeping this background in mind, it becomes imperative that we look at ways and means by which homes really become green homes in the truest sense…surely we don’t mean they are simply green in color, inside or outside, do we?
Green Home Certification
Without a doubt, certification matters. Today, you have the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the U.S. Green Building Council among a whole host of numerous such entities which certify properties on their “greenness”. Having such a certification can be a reassurance about the green nature of the green home that you are looking to buy.
Like a lot of things in life, size matters – albeit in inverse proportion, when it comes to greenness of properties. Quantifying things, we find that a 100% increase in home size is likely to lead to increase in energy usage anywhere in the range of 15% to 50%. Therefore the need of the hour needs to be to choose homes which are “right sized” rather than gargantuan.
A green home is one which is very well insulated. This would of course be especially true for green homes in cold places where poor insulation would lead to increased consumption of energy used for heating. At the same time, given the moderate climate seen in San Francisco as a result of the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean, this may not be so much of a factor here. Yet, there is no denying the fact that optimal temperature maintenance – heat in winter and cool in summer, can be a challenge from a green perspective, in the absence of suitable insulation.
An important point here to note would be that when considering the purchase of an older home, insulation is something which you should particularly check for; newer homes typically confirm to insulation norms which is in turn ratified by agents. It is older homes where this can be an issue, so make sure you double check the insulation on any older property that you are contemplating to purchase.
Efficient Water Usage
No home can truly be a green home if it does not use water efficiently. After all, inefficient water usage has been the anomaly behind insufficient water supplies in a variety of places across the world. Aspects to check for in this regard would include a landscape that minimizes water consumption, plumbing fixtures that are water efficient across the property, as well as provision of rainwater harvesting if any. Check out this video from renowned architect and green living advocate Michelle Kaufmann for a very good perspective on efficient water usage in our homes.
Roofing is another very important consideration when it comes to green homes. Check for lighter colors on the roof; these will reflect heat leading to more efficient energy usage, vis-à-vis dark colored roofs that absorb heat, straining energy efficiency.
Together the aspects mentioned above should serve as very good pointers in your quest for green home buying. Remember this is not a passing fad; collectively, we really do not have a choice other than to go green, not only in our homes but virtually every aspect of our lives – the cars we drive, the way we dispose of our trash, and so on. Otherwise, we clearly risk leaving behind a world for our children and a future for all our future generations, which is simply unsustainable.