Tips for a Sustainable House-Hunting

The summer season is full of activity. In addition to vamping up your summer wardrobe and planning your next vacation, you might be thinking about moving. That’s right, peak moving season has arrived, and we’re here to help take some of the heat off your house hunt!

Whether you’re looking for a new rental or hoping to purchase a home, there are a few things you should look for before you take the leap:

  1. What’s the Story?: How old is the property you’re interested in? Ask when the property was built and how recently it was renovated. Newer homes are often better insulated, which can improve comfort and reduce energy bills. They are also more likely to have efficient heating and air conditioning systems. Older homes, on the other hand, can require fewer natural resources than new construction because they make use of an existing structure.
  2. Keep Your Cool: Pay close attention to heating and cooling systems to make sure they’re in good condition. If the home has A/C, check the SEER – the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating – of the system: 10 is mediocre, 18 is great. You can find the SEER on the air conditioner label. Check other appliances, such as water heaters, for a yellow Energy Guide label where you’ll find helpful information comparing the annual energy cost of the appliance to others like it.  Wall and attic insulation and double- or triple-pane windows can prevent sticker shock from your first monthly bill. And don’t overlook the humble ceiling fan, an energy efficient way to make a space comfortable year-round.
EnergyGuide Label
  1. Location, Location: How close is your new home to public transportation options? Are there schools, banks, grocery stores and spaces for outdoor fun located close-by? Living within a walk-able, bike-able mile of the things you need can cut down your carbon footprint and increase the chances you’ll get to know your neighbors in the process.
  2. Shine a Light: How much natural light will pour into your new digs – and from which direction? Natural lighting can cut down on your need for electric light and reduce electricity costs. But in warm climates, look for fewer windows on the west side. Too much direct sun, especially strong afternoon rays can drive up indoor temperatures and give your A/C a run for its money.
  3. Renewable Residence: Research renewable energy offerings in the area you’re hoping to move to. Chances are your local electric company offers a clean energy option so that you can power your home with renewable resources. Check out this map to learn more about where Green Mountain offers electricity service. If you’re thinking of installing solar, see if the rooftop faces south (or, alternatively, west) and make sure it’s not shaded. You also can learn if your electricity provider or utility offers net metering, an arrangement in which households with solar are paid for excess electricity their systems generate. Learn more about how Green Mountain can help you go solar and about Renewable Rewards®, our solar buy-back program for Texas customers.

Want more tips to help make your summer move more sustainable? Just visit the Eco Tips page of our website to get a move on!