Living in a green home
The beautiful thing about the word "green" is that it captures two of the most important things that most people care about: their health, and their money. And there is a wonderful third reason to go green: The community benefits in the long run, because it is better for the planet.
Since we recently got our home LEED Gold Certified (I wrote about that whole process in my blog), I feel I have a good handle on the benefits of living in a green home. Here are our top five:
- Lower energy bills. Green means better insulation, tight ductwork, sealed doors and windows, efficient heating and cooling, efficient lighting and appliances. All of those together pay us back over time with lower electric and gas bills.
- Lower water bills. Green means low flow faucets and showerheads, dual flush toilets, efficient irrigation systems, and managing the storm water on site — all of which lead to lower water bills.
- Healthy indoor air quality. Green means paints, adhesives, sealants and finishes are low VOC so they don't stink and cause respiratory illness. It means fresh air is brought into the house, air filters are working, so we breathe clean air. It also means mold prevention, non-toxic pest control and non-toxic household cleaners. All of these lead to better indoor air quality and a healthier home — which also saves money.
- More durable. Green means quality building that lasts longer than a comparable product. Over time, we save money in maintenance and replacement costs.
- Increased the value of the home. While we haven't yet tested this because our home is not for sale, studies have shown that a building's value increases by 3-5 percent when it is green. This can make a big difference in today's market.
Your home is typically your biggest asset, so it makes sense to invest in it wisely. Green investments, in my opinion, are some of the best you can make.
Melissa Rappaport Schifman Melissa provides sustainability consulting services for businesses in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Melissa is also the founder of Green Intention LLC, where she writes and blogs about her experience in getting her own home LEED Gold certified--and then trying to live more sustainably in the home. She chairs her congregations Task Force for Sustainability, has her MBA, Master's in Public Policy, and is a LEED AP for Homes. www