Everyone knows that Pittsburgh is a black and gold city. We see it at the park, on the field and at the rink. In some places, however, green might be the new black.
Designing a green home takes place at three levels. Firstly, the builder must use green materials and practices. Secondly, the homeowner must be committed to energy-efficient fixtures. Thirdly, efficiency best practices must be followed to reduce the carbon footprint over the life of the home. Let’s start with the builders.
1. View ENERGY STAR Credentials
ENERGY STAR is an energy efficiency standard founded by the EPA and Department of Energy. The blue sticker that you have seen on appliances can also be applied to contractors. Home builders that have been designed as ENERGY STAR certified have to produce homes that meet strict testing.
Agents visit new homes to perform inspections that examine construction practices and test efficiency throughout the house. The process involves blowers to evaluate the joints of ducts, windows and doors and a visual inspection of insulation to ensure proper installation. Testing is quite a spectacle.
2. Buy Efficient Fixtures and Appliances
Much of a home’s carbon footprint (or lack thereof) is made after construction with energy-efficient appliances or tapestries that reduce heat loss. There is a post on our website devoted to green kitchen ideas. Some other opportunities include:
- Water-efficient toilets and showers
- Programmable thermostats
- Compact fluorescent lighting
- Modern appliances and HVAC systems (with the ENERGY STAR logo)
For a list of ENERGY STAR appliances, review this list on their website, which covers everything from light bulbs to dishwashers.
3. Maintain an Efficient House
The final step is staying on top of it because building a green home does not end with the final nail. Homeowners must continuously check vents, replace air filters and inspect shingles.
Here is a list of ways to reduce heat loss. It is a good guide for every conscious consumer as we approach the colder months.
Families looking to build a new home should remember the three steps of building green. It starts with a builder that is ENERGY STAR certified. It continues while shopping for efficient appliances. Finally, keep up with best practices in the years that follow construction to maintain efficiency and savings.
Welcome to the city of black and gold and green.