As a buyer interested in learning about a home’s green bona fides, there are several simple questions you can ask – and things you can look for inside and around the house – that will help you quickly determine how environmentally friendly it is… and how much effort it may require to bring it up to your environmental commitment.
Here are a few:
- If possible, ask the sellers directly – or ask your real estate agent to find out for you – specifically about any and all investments they’ve made in their home to save energy or promote conservation. Ask them to list all items, large and small.
- You can tell quite a bit about a home’s green status from its energy bills; politely ask if you may review several months’ worth.
- Examine any appliances that may stay in the home if you decide to make an offer; do they carry the Energy Star label?
- Linger by windows and doors; do you feel a draft? If so, that’s energy literally going out the window. If you detect any drafts, be sure to ask your real estate agent to help you get an assessment on how bad they are and how easily they can be remedied.
- What are the home’s flooring, cabinetry and countertop materials made from? Are they eco-friendly?
- Are the toilets, faucets and showerheads low-flow?
- Ask when the heating and cooling system (HVAC) was last checked and cleaned.
- Check to make sure the pipes are well-insulated, and then check the water heater: Is it an energy-friendly tankless variety?