5 ways buying a new house can be better for the environment (and your budget) than buying an old one

5 methods shopping for a brand new home will be higher for the surroundings (and your finances) than shopping for an outdated one

Whereas shopping for one thing model new isn’t the eco-conscious selection, shopping for a home now greater than ever will be.

Present houses usually lack most of the most superior, energy-saving options obtainable right now. And whereas these eco-friendly upgrades have a tendency to extend the value of a brand new residence, a rising variety of homebuyers are glad to pay. They see these options as investments that may save them cash on vitality payments for years (and even a long time) to return.

This rising demand for energy-smart houses has allowed extra builders to embrace earth-friendly improvements from the bottom up, quite than seeing them as area of interest extras which may not flip a revenue on gross sales or make sense for his or her backside strains.

For years, firms have struggled with a spot between what shoppers stated they valued with environmentally aware merchandise and their precise buying conduct, says Dan Bridleman, senior vp of sustainability for KB Dwelling. However now, as an alternative of seeing sustainable housing as a barrier or price to beat, it’s a lever to keep up affordability. Clients haven’t got to decide on between a inexperienced residence and their dream residence.

Whether or not you are frightened about local weather change or your checking account or each, it pays to know what choices can be found when purchasing for a brand new residence. Preserve these things in your new development want listing for a double dose of advantages for your self and The planet.

Zero vitality prepared residence

Simply add solar energy! The panels on this Zero Vitality Prepared Dwelling will assist the house owner save on the electrical energy invoice.

(KB Dwelling)

America’s practically 130 million residential and industrial buildings use 74% of its electrical energy, in response to the US Division of Vitality (DOE). And that vast spending is chargeable for a staggering 35% of all U.S. carbon emissions, both these launched instantly from houses and workplaces heated with fossil fuels or not directly from energy vegetation that generate electrical energy to energy these buildings.

To ease this local weather burden, builders are inspired to construct Zero Vitality Prepared Houses (ZERH), that are buildings constructed to extremely environment friendly vitality requirements that use 40% to 50% much less vitality than regular. And if a renewable vitality supply (similar to photo voltaic panels) is added, these houses improve to turn into a completely designated Zero Vitality Dwelling (ZEH), which may scale back month-to-month vitality payments to $0.

There are at present greater than 12,000 zero-energy licensed houses throughout the nation. However that quantity is certain to rise in January 2023, the DOE introduced new tax incentives to encourage builders to make ZERH their foremost providing. At a coverage stage, vitality rules for builders have turn into extra stringent in recent times, main many development firms to undertake ZERH necessities as their customary development observe.

What all of it boils all the way down to for residence patrons is that many builders are actually providing these vitality environment friendly houses at aggressive costs. You’ll want to ask any builder you are contemplating in the event that they’re ZERH licensed, or take a look at this DOE map for Zero Vitality Compliant builders in your space.

Micronet group

California’s first microgrid communities are self-sustaining and energy-smart.

(KB Dwelling)

To take zero-energy houses a step additional, some builders have expanded this idea to create whole interconnected communities of houses that every one contribute to and draw from their very own native microgrids. Which means that though these communities are related to the normal state-run energy vegetation (also called the macro grid), additionally they have their very own unbiased vitality sources (usually photo voltaic panels) on premises inside the group.

The primary totally purposeful microgrid communities in California had been just lately launched by KB Dwelling in Durango and Oak Shade, close to Menifee, CA. In these communities, every residence is supplied with its personal photo voltaic panels and battery and is related to different houses within the improvement by means of a shared group battery.

With our microgrid group, we anticipate to considerably scale back vitality consumption by 40% in comparison with the nationwide common, says Jacob Atalla, vp of sustainability for KB Dwelling, which has partnered with the Division of Vitality to assist future microgrid builders. The thrilling factor about microgrids is that they’ll function independently when bigger methods could also be overloaded, unstable or offline, offering owners with energy.

Energy outages usually are not an issue on this California microgrid group, because it has its personal vitality supply.

(KB Dwelling)

Group microgrid methods free whole neighborhoods from the constraints of being tied to conventional vitality sources within the space. So if the ability goes out on a big scale, society will likely be unaffected as a result of it generates its personal vitality.

3D printed houses

3D printers are more and more utilized in housing development. And it is good for the surroundings, as constructing a conventional 1,200 sq. meter home produces round 2.1 tonnes of development waste. A 3D printed residence eliminates nearly 99% of that because it solely prints what it wants. Mighty Buildings, which has printed greater than 70 houses in California, has even set a objective to construct houses which have a destructive carbon impression by 2028.

Whereas 3D-printed houses have been popping up everywhere in the nation, the primary are totally 3D-printed Group is at present underneath development in Georgetown, TX, simply north of Austin. The Genesis Assortment at Wolf Ranch by Lennar Houses and Icon will embody 100 3D-printed houses, all constructed with a robotic arm. It’s a technique that saves significantly on labor and development prices.

The Genesis Assortment at Wolf Ranch will characteristic 100 3D printed houses simply exterior of Austin, TX.


Genesis Assortment houses will vary from 1,574 to 2,112 sq. ft and promote for between $400,000 in comparison with the areas historically constructed houses. The corporate broke floor in November 2022 and is taking reservations from patrons for occupancy in 2023.

This accelerated velocity is feasible as a result of 3D printed houses will be as a lot as twice as quick to construct than common development tasks. For instance, developer Mighty Buildings can print its two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,171-square-foot Mighty Home Quatro in three months with a three-person crew.

One other environmentally pleasant element of 3D houses is that they use fewer supplies. For instance, a typical wall could have wooden, drywall, screws, tape, insulation, sheet steel, and extra. However a 3D printed wall is constructed from one materials alone. Mighty Buildings makes use of a patented light-weight stone materials constituted of 60% sustainably sourced and recycled supplies.

A 3D house is constructed one layer at a time by a robotic arm.


Plus, as a result of the supplies that go into 3D printed houses are very sturdy, these houses are set as much as stand up to the weathering results of local weather change, together with extremes of cold and warm temperatures and inclement climate. They’re additionally extra earthquake and hurricane resistant.

Partnerships with energy-saving suppliers

Whereas builders could have beforehand provided energy-saving home equipment as an optionally available improve, they’re now usually par for the course.

The Environmental Safety Company (EPA) has a number of homebuilding packages, together with ENERGY STAR, which establishes vitality effectivity requirements; WaterSense, which outlines requirements for water effectivity; and Indoor airPLUS, which focuses on air high quality. Bridleman encourages homebuyers to ask builders in the event that they incorporate home equipment and methods with these limitations into their houses.

WaterSense taps and ENERGY STAR licensed home equipment have gotten the norm for newly constructed kitchens.

(KB Dwelling)

Partnerships take this a step additional. For instance, KB Dwelling companions with Moen, which has pledged to save lots of 1 trillion gallons of water by 2030 by means of its taps and fixtures. Thus far, KB Houses has put in greater than 900,000 WaterSense-labeled fixtures in its houses.

Builders are additionally more and more utilizing paint, cupboards, and carpets that emit low unstable natural compounds, or VOCs, leading to more healthy indoor air high quality. Some paints, such because the SuperPaint line by Sherwin Williams, boast an air-purifying know-how that converts any circulating VOCs within the close by air into innocent, inert gases.

Sensible-home know-how that focuses on saving

Superior smart-home applied sciences are environmentally aware as they automate vitality financial savings by, for instance, turning off lights, adjusting room temperatures or managing sprinkler methods with out you having to recollect it your self.

Landsea Houses has a partnership with Apple to construct Excessive Efficiency Houses that embody an Apple HomePod Mini so owners can arrange automated instructions by means of the Apple Dwelling app. This implies they’ll pre-program the entrance doorways to lock and the window shades to return down at particular occasions, saving vitality and sanity since you’ll by no means must surprise once more: Did I flip off the lights?

Whereas many smart-home elements will be added to present houses, it permits for them to be included into a brand new constructing for elevated seamlessness and performance, not solely with lighting, but additionally with electrical elements, HVAC, water heating and irrigation methods. For instance, KB Dwelling microgrid shared homes are all outfitted with sensible water heaters that may alert owners of leaks.

Though sustainability just isn’t new, we’re actually solely on the precipice of seeing sustainable innovation in inside design, says Gena Kirk,vp of company studio design for KB Dwelling. We anticipate that improvements will proceed to develop and that sustainable design will turn into inexpensive for everybody.

Author: ZeroToHero

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