Think you really know how to go green at home?
Sure, you’ve swapped out those incandescent bulbs with fluorescents. You have a new thermostat. You’ve stuffed your attic with insulation. Winterization plugs and seals have already saved you a bundle.
You’ve been trading up to Energy Star emblazoned major appliances and those not-always-on tech gadgets. And gas prices are forcing you to trade in that gas guzzler.
Still, chances are, you’ve only scratched the surface of saving the planet.
Going green at home is more than just tossing one energy hog for a more efficient replacement. To really shrink your households’ carbon footprint, going green must be more of a lifestyle than a trend-induced fad.
Here are some green steps you may have overlooked.
• Hire a green broker. When shopping for a home, hire an EcoBroker.
Around since 2003, EcoBrokers are licensed real estate agents, additionally endowed with eco-savvy certification from the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals.
As an education outreach partner with a national green builder network, BuiltGreen.org, EcoBrokers help the home building industry sell green homes, but they also assist home buyers who want to buy green homes — new and resale.
At an open house they can point out features that save energy costs or where you can improve the green status of the listing. Schooled in energy efficient technology and sustainable energy issues they can also help you land an Energy Efficient Mortgage, which, if you are really serious about being green, you won’t buy a home without.
• Buy a green home. The U.S. Green Building Council, the folks who developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system for all kinds of structures, residential and not, help take the guesswork out of buying a green home. The council’s Green Home Guide includes links to green multiple listing services (MLS), ListedGreen.com and GreenHomesForSale.com offering new and resale sustainable homes around the globe.
To help you shop green the council also offers a Green Home Checklist a detailed analysis of what features to expect in a green home.
• Regreen. “Regreening” is green remodeling, renovating and home improving and new guidelines from the LEED people, Green Home Renovations help you, well, go for the green.
• Buy a green home in a real Emerald City. Two studies point you to green location gems. BestPlaces.net and Country Home magazine teamed up to produce Best Green Place To Live and SustainLane.com offers Greenest U.S. Cities.
And if you really want to get down to the green nitty gritty, location-wise, you can plant your green being in specific communities and neighborhoods noted for green living.
The LEED for Neighborhood Development program, offered by, the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for sustainable neighborhood design.
• Fill up with green. When it’s time to send a thank you gift to your Ecobroker or to fill that new or resale green home with stuff, buy green. Consumers Union’s GreenerChoices.org brings the consumer advocate’s time-honored goods and services ratings scrutiny to environmentally sustainable and healthy goods and services. From the foods you stuff in the fridge to the car you park in the garage GreenerChoices.org has ratings for numerous household goods.