Features to Look for in a “Green” Home

For many people, the image of an eco-friendly home is a cabin in the woods that lacks plumbing or a connection to the electrical grid. However, green homes in the 21st century are more likely to be located near major urban centers. A green home is a residential structure that meets certain certifications related to construction, sustainable materials, and energy efficiency, but there are also factors associated with the overall carbon footprint of the structure and its functionality.

If you’re looking for a green home in California, here are the factors you should consider, brought to you by American Tri-Star, one of the leading providers of property insurance in San Diego.

California Green Building Standards Code

The Golden State is a pioneer of American green building standards. Part 11 of the Building Standards Code, also known as CALGreen, deals with the construction practices that must be followed when developing new residential properties. CALGreen inspectors ensure code compliance with new construction projects. If your California home was built after 2009, it is more than likely compliant.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification

LEED standards of residential construction have been around since the mid-1990s. They are similar to the Energy Star certification of household electrical devices, and they feature four levels. Homes with LEED Platinum certifications are very energy efficient.

Multifamily Urban Dwelling Structures

Condominium towers in downtown districts are more likely to have a lower carbon footprint compared to single-family residences located in suburban or exurban communities. Studies published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate that transportation and energy consumption tends to be less in areas of higher population density, and this is related to the availability of public transportation, electrical consumption schemes, pedestrian sectors, and use of common areas. The EPA also notes that recycling and salvage programs tend to be more effective in urban centers than in the suburbs.

In-Fill Development Versus Suburban Sprawl

When new gated communities extend beyond the suburbs, the first step usually involves breaking ground in former forest, farming, or desert areas. Even though developers these days set aside land to convert into nature preserves within gated communities, in-fill development is an eco-friendlier approach. It’s better to convert a former shopping mall or car dealership into a residential community than it would be to purchase undeveloped land. Suburban sprawl has never been good for the environment.

Green Features and Appliances

Homeowners can lower the carbon footprint of their homes with smart investments. First of all, low-flow water fixtures conserve water, particularly in drought-prone regions such as Southern California. Rainwater catchment systems are also helpful in this regard. Rooftop solar panels that connect to the grid help local utilities conserve resources, and smart thermostats lower overall electricity consumption. Similarly, skylights and vents designed to increase air circulation can greatly enhance energy efficiency.

After purchasing a green home, don’t forget to get the home insured. Reach out to American Tri-Star for a free quote on homeowners insurance. We also provide health and car insurance in San Diego. Call us today at 619-272-2100 to talk to one of our knowledgeable agents.