Qualities of a Sustainable Home

People who want to reduce their impact on the environment have more options than ever for green and sustainable homes. There are better materials available that reduce the home’s impact during construction as well as ones that make it more energy efficient while you live there. If “green” is on your list of qualities you want in a home, look for the following:

Recycled materials used in construction

Greenhouses often using recycled content for the concrete slabs beneath to cut the use of new materials. Countertops and floors may be made from recycled timber.

Energy-efficient lighting

The lighting in your home should be engineered to cut down energy consumption. Motion detectors can turn on lights when you enter a room and can turn lights off automatically when a room is empty. Modern dimmer switches allow you to change the lighting in a room as desired while using less power than older models. Pairing these with long-lasting LED bulbs can cut the energy used to light your house.

Energy Star appliances

A home that comes equipped with up-to-date Energy Star appliances significantly cuts your energy use. Energy Star appliances can be up to 40% more efficient than their standard equivalents. When looking at a house, take the time to learn about the appliances and which ones will be included in the sale.

Well-insulated windows

Windows should be double-glazed to keep heat in during the winter months and keep your home cool when you run the air conditioner in the summer. If you have skylights to bring more natural light into the home, these should be triple-glazed.

Blown-in cellulose wall insulation

Blown-in insulation can work its way into every gap to make your house far more energy-efficient than a home with sheet insulation. Cellulose is a non-toxic product that is more ecologically sound than other options. As a bonus, a house with cellulose insulation has far more fire resistance than ones with other types of insulation. Buyers are more likely to see this come with new construction but it is possible to add it in after the fact as well.

Local energy generation

Solar panels are the most common type of home energy generation. In most places, tax credits make them a cost-efficient addition to the home. Other options for power generation can include wind power and micro-hydro power generation.

Passive solar design

Well-designed energy-efficient homes use passive solar to keep the home environment comfortable. Here in the northern hemisphere, north facing glass can keep the home cooler in the summer to cut the use of air conditioning significantly.

Certified Sustainable Wood

When recycled wood is not an option, choosing materials from sustainable forests can help. These are managed forests that are actively renewed to ensure that future generations will have access to materials and that trees can continue to do the job of filtering carbon dioxide from the air.

Sustainable landscaping

A xeriscaped yard uses native plants or ones from similar climates to reduce or eliminate the need for additional irrigation in the yard. Rain gardens filter storm runoff naturally to ensure that the water that runs off your roof is clean and safe. If the landscaping does need irrigation, a system that uses timers or a satellite controlled sprinkler system cuts down on water usage.

Ask about these and other green features when looking at homes in your area. By choosing the most sustainable options, you can have a home that cuts your impact on the environment and reduces your costs.


Gary Ashton and his team have been helping home buyers in the Nashville real estate market for more than 16 years now. In addition to having 80 professional Nashville REALTORS® on the team, Gary has assembled some of the best associates in the industry to help make your next real estate transaction a breeze. These include the professionals at Ameris Bank, who can answer all your mortgage questions and the closing attorneys of Tennessee Title Services, who can guide you through the entire closing process. The elite of Realtors in Nashville at RE/MAX Advantage will help you find your next home.


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