How to Buy an Eco-Friendly Home If You Can’t Afford to Build One

We’d all love to live in environmentally-friendly housing. Not only because doing so cuts back on the amount of precious resources taken from the Earth, but because in so doing, we cut back on the money we spend on energy. But if your wallet is smaller than your eco-friendly ambitions, a green home may be hard to successfully obtain. Converting your home to a more environmentally sound one can be expensive, and the only thing more expensive is to have one built. But if you know what to look for in real estate leads you can purchase a relatively eco-friendly homestead without spending tons of money.

1. Insulation, insulation, insulation

Nothing is going to matter more in making your home an energy saver. While insulation is more or less the central issue in all following factors, the substance your house’s walls are filled with is the most important eco-related issue to sort out. Make sure it’s blanket insulation like fiberglass, even though less synthetic material like wool is becoming the norm for environmentalists.

2. Brick

If you have the option, always go with a brick structure. It insulates heat during the winter and keeps it out during the summer. Durability aside, you can count on a brick home to be more welcoming in the event of a future eco-friendly interior overhaul if you ever choose to commit to one.

3. Lighting

This one doesn’t relate to insulation but it’s as important when saving electricity. Many older homes are built with absolutely no consideration paid towards the way light use conservation can be affected by the dispersing of the fixtures and switches throughout the home. One ceiling light in a big room can mean three localized lamps that waste energy. A poorly placed switch can mean a light is harder to remember to turn off. When walking through a potential home to buy, pay attention to the way the lighting is set up to see if a purchase is such a bright idea after all.

4. Exposure

Windows, especially big ones, are fantastic additions to the aesthetic style of your home and can be a big part in why one home is sold over another. But windows can allow energy to get sucked out at a rate that can cripple your electric and gas budgets as well as any effort on your part to maintain an environmentally responsible home. If you fall in love with the windows make sure they’re properly insulated and provide adequate insulation.

5. The Neighborhood

The right location encourages walking, bicycling, recycling, and using windows for fresh air. The wrong location inhibits all of these things and encourages excessive vehicle use and reliance on artificial heating and cooling. Centrally located housing that rests in a safe neighborhood can obviously be pricier, but the returns can be as much every year when the extra cost is paid only once.

If you follow these simple steps you’ll be sure to find a home that’s eco-friendly as well as wallet-friendly. Putting yourself in the position where the most simple of energy reduction techniques are already employed by the very design of your home encourages the decision to further make the property green when funds become available. That’s definitely a foundation worth investing in.


How to Buy an Eco-Friendly Home If You Can’t Afford to Build One — 13 Comments

  1. You can change a lot in a house except for the location! Location is the most important and then the price. If you find a good location and can buy it at the right price, you can fix it up to be eco friendly.

    • @Krantcents. I totally agree. Location is everything. We bought a little house in a good location that we are fixing up. I don’t mind doing the renos and I love living in the area we live in.

  2. I would also add, go with LED or CFL bulbs. Though the initial costs are high, they are highly energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs.

    Excellent tips T!

    • @Money Cone. Yes they are good. We have been slowly converting our house over as each bulb dies. They are great. My only issue is that there isn’t a huge selection of dimmable options which we need for our house.

  3. Location is so important! Being able to walk, cycle, or commute to work not only helps the environment but it really saves on transportation costs. Having grocery stores closeby or on the way back home helps too, so one can commute to these places ‘on the way’.

    • @ Young and Thrifty. I agree. This is the reason why we bought a house in the area that we did- for it’s central location. We can walk to many places including for groceries if we want. It’s great.

  4. Location….if your house is on a hill, in the Midwest, facing north you are going to be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer.

    We have an earth berm with the north side up against a hill, deciduous trees on the south side where all the windows are – these provide cooling shade in the summer, yet let the winter sun into the house.

    • @Family Money Values. Sounds like the perfect location to me. Our house faces south which is great in the winter but not so good for the summer although my veggies do really well which saves us money on groceries.

  5. We were lucky to buy our home during the oil crisis of the 1970s. It was built with extra insulation, energy-efficient windows, & a design that saves energy. The design is a 2-story house that looks like a big rectangular block, but our bills are very low. We learned to landscape it to soften the straight lines. We have saved so much money over the years because of all of this. If you are looking to buy a home, I’d say to ask to see the energy bills to help you decide. We have had so few repairs needed & I think our home would still be a good buy. We put in energy efficient appliances & furnace/AC recently. That sent our bills down even further! Thanks for some good tips!

    • @Square Pennies. What an awesome story. It is hard to believe that there was this kind of insight in the 70’s. You are definitely one of the lucky ones who has gotten ahead in the game. I really like your idea about asking for the energy bills when looking at purchasing a house. That is a really good idea. I have never thought of that before. Thanks for sharing.

  6. THis is a really nice post and helpful. Sure, it’d be cool to build an eco-friendly house of my own design, but who has the money for that? This lets peopel see how they can pick the most eco-friendly home with what’s already there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I appreciate your readership and really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different topics. Thank you for contributing to the discussion.