Current market estimates value the green construction and renovation market between eighty-seven and one hundred and fourteen billion dollars, five times its 2011 market value and trending upward with no signs of slowing down. If you haven’t yet found the push to invest in home renovation, this is it! Even if you don’t sell your home in the near future, what you will save on energy costs (and conscience costs) in the meantime will make these four green updates well worth the up-front time and cost.
- Bamboo flooring
The first structure most potential buyers notice is flooring. An otherwise pristine home with a dirty carpet is a serious blemish in the eyes of any discerning home buyer, and even floors in fair condition are one of the first updates suggested by experienced realtors. Whether you have carpet, tile, laminate, or existing hardwood, swapping them out for bamboo is an attractive, long-lasting substitution sure to make the most earth-conscious buyer happy. Be sure to keep the switch low-impact by donating your old wood or laminate flooring to Habitat for Humanity. If you don’t have a ceramic tile recycling facility in your area, consider checking with your city’s public works department—sometimes broken tiles get used for road aggregate. If you are upgrading from carpet, check out the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) network for connections to recyclers who turn old carpet into composite wood, carpet padding, or other materials.
- Water filtration/Air purification systems
You may already have a water filtration system on your sink, or perhaps you use refillable water bottles with filters. Unfortunately, water from the faucet isn’t always the best in taste of quality, but bottled water is an expensive, natural-resource-draining alternative. By installing a whole home water filtration system, you can ensure the water you use is safe and clean for everything from drinking to bathing, and your future home buyers will appreciate it, too. You can save money and time by installing a ten-year (or million gallon) system and never have to worry about remembering which filters are ready to replace.
The cost for installing a central air purification system will run you similarly to less than what it would cost to place multiple free-standing systems in your home, and the benefits are two-fold. Not only do you get to breathe cleaner air, but a whole-home system cuts down on pet and outdoor odors that invade your home, protecting both your nose and your health by reducing the need for camouflage with chemical scents. More homeowners are recognizing the need for healthier living spaces, so a central purification system will add future value by appealing to potential buyers.
- Solar Water Heater
Even high-efficiency gas and electric water heaters can run upwards of four hundred dollars annually to run, not to mention their unnecessary drain on precious natural resources. Solar water heaters are a favorite at Modernize, and for good reason. More consumers are choosing to upgrade to these high-efficiency, planet-friendly systems in order save money and reduce their carbon footprint. You won’t lose any tub time, but you will gain excitedly raised eyebrows when you tell future buyers what they’ll be gaining by making an offer on your home. Depending on your regional climate needs, you’ll need to decide between a batch, flat-plate, or evacuated tube collector system. If you don’t mind using a bit of electricity to pump water through (or if you’re already outfitted with solar panels), you might decide on an active circulation system, or you can choose a passive circulation system, which uses the heat generated from the heating element to pull water down through the pipes. Both are efficient, eco-friendly, and far more economical than traditional systems.
Landscaping is an attractive boost to home value, but not all verdant terrain is good for the earth. No matter your region, avoid non-native species that require additional care and water resources. If you’re in a drier area, consider xeriscaping your lawn—although not all HOAs permit this!—or at least plant drought-resistant trees, bushes, and wild grasses. You can take your outdoor haven even further and expand your lot’s livable area by updating your yard with decking made of reclaimed or ethically harvested materials or permeable paver stones. Outdoor living space is a big selling point, and in the meantime you’ll have plenty of space to enjoy out-of-doors.
Experts report that consumer interest in eco-conscious living has been a driving factor in the recovery of the real estate market, both for new and existing sales. Over seventy-three of single-family home buyers have expressed a preference for green living. Take just a few steps now and you can ensure a healthier family, planet, and resale value.
By: Kelley Walters
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