Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Green home buying: Where energy use and costs can be cut


Buying a green home has its advantages, ranging from tax credit eligibility to the sense of satisfaction you'll grant yourself in knowing you're contributing to a greater good. But there are certain considerations that apply specifically to the process. If you want to ensure an environmentally and economically efficient purchase, understanding where the intersections of green features and responsible budgeting occur is essential, and that understanding be enhanced through thorough home inspection services.

If your environmentally efficient home is custom-built or part of a wave of new residential construction projects, you may have fewer concerns from an inspection standpoint. But no matter the age of the home, a few areas are deserving of additional attention, both during the home inspection and as part of your overall green budgeting. These include the following:

  • Windows and air circulation. Windows can serve as effective energy-savers, but only if they're capable of closing properly and securely. Confirm that a new home's windows won't allow heat to escape during the winter months or cool air to leak during the summer. Similarly, it's important that air conditioning and heating systems are up to date, as older units tend to gobble up a lot more energy.
  • Insulation issues. Depending on the age of a home, insulation can serve as one of the greatest energy-wasters on the property. With a new building construction inspection, any egregious issues should be spotted, but roofing and insulation remain as important as windows for the sake of guarding against overconsumption. Additionally, there are state and federal energy rebates available for homes that install updated insulation for the purpose of maximizing efficiency. Therefore, even if the upfront cost of replacement may not be within your original budget, you can save on the back end through credits and in the form of energy that is no longer being unnecessarily exhausted.
  • Hot water heaters. According to, hot water heaters account for a solid 20 percent of all residential energy use throughout the country. Specifically, upgrading to a solar hot water system - or finding a home with one already built in - eliminates the need for radiators or electric water heaters. As fewer homes are constructed with such antiquated systems, this is becoming less of an issue, but given how much waste can result it's important to maximize a water heater's efficiency.