When it comes to buying a home, you have a lot of options, including whether to buy an older property or a new home. But if sustainability is near the top of your priority list, the newer options on the market are far more likely to be better for the environment than older homes.
So what are some of these newer options, and how can they impact your home’s carbon footprint? A recent article from realtor.com outlined some of the new types of homes and communities that are significantly better for the environment than traditional homes, including:
- Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH). ZERH properties use 40 to 50 percent less energy than the average home. Plus, if you add a renewable energy source to the property — like solar panels — you can easily transition it into a Zero Energy Home. (Currently, there are upwards of 12,000 ZERH properties in the US, but that number is sure to rise in the near future, in part thanks to a recently announced tax incentive that encourages builders to focus on building ZERH properties.)
- Microgrid communities. Not only are builders building more environmentally friendly homes, they’re also focused on building more environmentally friendly communities. This includes microgrid communities, a new building concept that creates a community of interconnected properties that pull from an energy microgrid (generally solar panels) located within the community. While the homes in a microgrid community may also be connected to traditional power plants, relying primarily on the community’s microgrid can reduce total energy usage by up to 40 percent.
- 3-D printed homes. Building a traditional 1200-square foot home produces an astonishing 2.1 tons of construction waste. Because they only “print” the materials that are actually needed, 3-D printed homes eliminate nearly 99 percent of that waste, making the building process much more sustainable.