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Articles Tagged "solar energy"

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June
23

A home which provides eco-friendly features can sell well in today's market. Geothermal systems, solar panels, Energy Star-rated appliances and LEED certification go far when selling a home. Home builders and sellers of upgraded homes that provide 'green' features spend a fair amount but whether a prospective buyer cares about it depends on many factors. Learn what the factors are and how to position a home with 'green' features for the marketplace.

 

Feature, Fixture or Finish

Prospective homeowners look for features to touch, feel and show off to friends and family. Spa-like bath, media room or a chef's kitchen all have buying power. A buyer may not necessarily pay extra when it comes to home improvements that cannot be seen (such as the roof, boiler or new plumbing). Green features fall somewhere in the middle. A buyer may pay extra for 'cool features' such as an energy-saving thermostat which can be controlled from a mobile phone but will not necessarily pay extra for reclaimed hardwood and unique air filtration systems.

 

Savings

A consumer will not spend a huge chunk of money on a home but if a green home means savings, short term or down the road, buyers usually listen. Resale value such as a high-tech thermostat or remodeled kitchen can present a great scenario for buyers who receive value from the feature while also having built-in equity.

 

Green vs. No Green

Most buyers will make a cost-benefit analysis with new constructions. With extra cost must come extra value to the consumer in the form of an immediate tax credit or other benefit to make the purchase worthwhile. The cost of a new system which provides such benefits and requires zero out of pocket cost has great curb appeal. A buyer is able to realize savings in lower energy bills and savings over the long term but not everyone wants to pay for green features, regardless of savings. Overall, buyers who plan to be in the home a shorter time have less to benefit from the cost savings than those who plan to stay long term. A future buyer likely will not pay extra, especially in a down market.

 

Growing Market

Some new buyers are concerned for the environment and want to give back, financial features of a home notwithstanding. Whether or not the features are cool is not significant as an environmentally friendly focused buyer will pay extra anyways.


Green features are becoming a mainstay in the housing market. Today's consumer likes to see some of the features when shopping to consider environmental impact alongside cost savings. This, weighed against particular real estate decisions, can ultimately add up with personal considerations such as location, floor plan, number of bedrooms and, of course, green features. All of the above add up to choices worth prioritizing when searching the market for that perfect home.

 

Get more advice on ways you can get started on creating an Eco-Friendly home.

Contact one of our agents today.

November
20

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), heat gained by solar energy can be reduced by as much as thirty-three percent when homeowners simply hang medium-colored drapes backed with white plastic. The next time you think about new window treatments, consider the fact that you could actually be paying for them with the money you'll save.

Here are some money saving window treatments for your consideration:

 

Shades

When properly installed, window shades are the most effective, and simplest, treatment to save energy. A tight seal, which minimizes both heat gain and loss, is created when shades are mounted as close to the glass as possible. Shades with dual-sided two-toned fabric (a light color on one side and a darker on the other) add seasonal functionality. Light color reflects heat in summer, while dark will absorb heat during winter.

Best place to install: Because window shades are so flexible, any window orientation is suitable.

 

Blinds

Blinds are a great option for reducing heat gain by up to forty-five percent (when using reflective blinds closed against direct sun). Both interior and exterior blinds are functional as well as able to maintain desired light, ventilation, and privacy. Because exterior blinds block heat before it can be transmitted through the window, they are potentially even more effective than interior blinds. However, they are not easy to install so are usually reserved for new builds.

Best place to install: Windows facing south or west.

 

Drapes

Depending on the fabric weight and color you choose, drapes help insulate your home from both solar heat gain and loss. A tight seal is recommended the best performance. When hanging drapes, you'll want to install them as close to the window as possible, preferably from a cornice or right up to the ceiling down to the floor.

Best place to install: Anywhere because of their flexibility.

 

Awnings

If your home is in an area with continual high temperatures, awnings may be perfect for you. Besides adding personality to your home, these treatments are an excellent defense against the sun. Exterior awnings have reduced solar heat gain by up to sixty-five percent for south-facing windows and seventy-seven percent for west-facing windows.

Ideal locations: Windows facing south or west.

Features to consider:

  • Opaque and tightly woven fabric blocks sun better than flimsy fabrics

  • Light-colored awnings reflect more sunlight than dark

  • Awnings can trap hot air next to windows, so the DOE recommends openings for ventilation

  • Retractable awnings will allow sunlight to reach inside the house during colder months

 

Roof Overhangs

Similar to an awning, a roof overhang will not only will block solar heat in summer, but will allow heat to warm your interior in winter—if designed properly. You'll want to consult an architect or a designer experienced in passive solar design who will consider several factors, like latitude, climate, and window size, to help you design your overhang(s).

Ideal locations: South-facing windows.

 

High Reflectivity Film

Areas with short winters often rely on high reflectivity film. The film reduces heat gain all year long, including in winter months, which might actually benefit from solar heat. It's typically installed in rooms where cooler temperatures are desired.

Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.

 

Mesh Window Screens

By diffusing solar radiation, mesh window screens are able to reduce heat gain. Energy saving experts suggest installing the screens to an exterior frame where they can cover the entire window.

Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.

 

For more tips on how to improve your windows

and window treatments contact one of our agents.

 

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