If you’re interested in purchasing a new home, and you’re thinking about looking for a property that’s Earth-friendly, efficient, and sustainable, you may want a Green Home Inspection. A Green Certified building is a home that has been verified and certified as environmentally-friendly, and has a number of features which can contribute to a lower environmental impact, and better human health. Read on, and get more details about what is involved in a green home inspection.
What Is A Green Certified Home?
There are three basic components to a Green Certified Home:
Energy and resource efficiency– A Green Certified home should use modern appliances, technologies, and building practices to reduce the cost of energy, water, and other resources.
Sustainable materials and practices– When possible, a Green Certified Home should use sustainable materials that are non-toxic, renewable, and environmentally-friendly.
Promote human and environmental health– A Green Home may incorporate features that help protect human health, such as wood flooring that helps reduce allergens and the spread of microbes, air filtration systems, and other such features that help improve the comfort and health of residents.
While there are other things involved with Green Home Certification, these are the primary areas of focus. To be a Green Home, a building must promote the health of residents, and focus on both sustainable materials and energy efficiency.
What’s Involved In A Green Home Inspection?
A green home inspection is different from traditional home inspection. A traditional home inspection is only used to verify the structural integrity of a home and check its major systems to ensure that they are functional. While efficiency and other such topics may be brought up during the inspection, they are not the focus of a traditional home inspection.
For a Green Home Inspection, though, your inspector will focus on things such as:
Visual and systems inspection – First, your inspector will perform a visual inspection of the home, to assess the overall condition, and verify the presence of any “green” systems like photovoltaic panels, solar showers, skylights, and other such systems. In addition, the HVAC, water heating, and other such systems will be checked.
Efficiency checks – Your inspector may test the insulation of the home, and ask for documentation related to utility costs. They will also check for things like low-flow sinks and toilets, and check the efficiency of appliances like stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and other such appliances – they may look for ENERGY STAR® certifications, for example. They will also look for drafts, gaps in insulation, and other such things that may reduce energy efficiency.
Documentation from homeowner– In some cases, documentation from the homeowner may be required to prove hard-to-verify claims. If the homeowner says that the kitchen was remodeled with renewable wood and low-VOC paint, for example, this may be nearly impossible to test for. Instead, your inspector will gather documentation related to these claims, and assess them to see if they are true.
Home air quality testing– Multiple tests may be done to check for VOCs, dander, allergens, and chemical compounds in the air, to ensure that the home has an adequate filtration system, and that the air is healthy.
Depending on the home, the specific services offered may vary – but this is a good overall outline of what you can expect.
What Are The Components And Features Of A Green Building?
What makes a building “green?” Here are a few of the most common features of a green building.
Sustainable building materials – If a home has been built new, with sustainable materials such as new-growth trees and responsibly manufactured components like recycled steel and plant-based foam, it will have a lower carbon footprint, and be more environmentally-friendly.
Renewable energy (photovoltaic, geothermal, etc) – Solar panels are the most common type of renewable power source, but geothermal energy may also be used in some areas of the country. These systems can help reduce power bills, and dependence on fossil fuels.
Low-flow or water-efficient appliances – Low-flow sinks, showers, toilets, faucets, and other appliances like washers and dryers are common features in “green” buildings. Some homes may even have features like solar water heaters.
Energy-efficient appliances and systems– An energy efficient home will use modern appliances, such as HVAC systems, furnaces, washers and dryers, and other such appliances, based on the SEER rating system.
LED lighting and skylights – LED lights last for a decade or longer, and consume only 1/10th of the required power, making them the lighting system of choice for Green Homes. In addition, where practical, skylighting can help reduce energy bills dramatically.
Insulation– A green home uses modern doors, windows, and insulation designed for maximum R-value. This keeps the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, lowering power bills and increasing resident comfort.
High indoor air quality – Indoor air quality must be good, free of most VOCs and any other potentially harmful compounds.
Why Are Green Buildings Important?
Green buildings are important for a number of reasons. First, for personal reasons, a homeowner may wish to purchase a home that’s been sustainably built, in order to reduce their impact on the environment, and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
In addition, the lower utility costs and extremely high efficiency of a Green Home can dramatically reduce utility and maintenance costs. In the long run, a green home can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Green homes may also have a higher resale value, especially as home buyers become more conscious about their impact on the environment.
Schedule An Inspection Today
Whether you want to find an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly home near you, or you are interested in having your own home certified, schedule an inspection with TruScope Inspections right away.
We inspect Green Certified homes all over Edmonton and the rest of Alberta, and we’re always happy to help. And if you have further questions about what we do, or want to learn more about Green Certified homes, please feel free to get in touch.