As the eco-friendly movement has gained momentum over the last 20 years, it has become fashionable to be eco-friendly. The aesthetic of bamboo flooring, native landscaping, and reclaimed barn wood are attractive, but such home decor dressings may not be as environmentally friendly as you think. Even if they aren't into green living at heart, some home buyers want to appear up-to-date on all of the latest eco-friendly Bucktown real estate trends. However, for those who are seriously committed to buying houses in Lincoln Park designed with sustainability in mind and want to practice an eco-friendly lifestyle, there are a few practices to keep in mind.
What buyers should look for in an eco-friendly home
The most sustainable homes prioritize energy efficiency, so start by asking the seller for utility bills from the previous year to give an idea of the average monthly cost of heating, cooling, and powering the home. You can also ask for a copy of the home's energy audit if one has been performed. An energy audit is a professional assessment of a home's energy use and efficiency. The auditor will provide recommendations for improving the home's energy efficiency and will often provide an estimated cost for implementing those improvements.
Finally, be sure to scout out the home’s features for signs of emergency efficiency. For example, are the windows double-paned? Is the HVAC stem highly efficient? Does the home have Energy Star certification? It might be good practice to hire a professional home inspector as they will be the most attuned to knowing what features to look for.
Ask the previous owner about the home's water usage and any conservation measures that have been implemented. You can also ask for a copy of the home's water bill to get an idea of the average monthly cost of water usage. You should also look for certain features that are indicators of water conservation, such as low-flow toilets, water-efficient appliances, and drought-resistant landscaping. You can hire a professional home inspector to assess the water conservation features of the home. Research local water conservation initiatives and regulations to get an idea of the water usage standards in the area.
To determine if a home you're considering buying has renewable energy sources, ask the seller about the home's energy sources and any renewable energy systems that have been installed. You can also ask for a copy of the home's energy bills to see if there are any credits for renewable energy generation. Look for renewable energy generators like solar panels on the roof or a wind turbine in the yard.
Research local renewable energy initiatives and regulations to get an idea of the availability and use of renewable energy sources in the area. Finally, you can hire a professional home inspector to assess the renewable energy systems in the home and provide an evaluation of their condition
Determining whether your Bucktown real estate purchase will be eco-friendly requires thinking of factors that go beyond the home itself. The location also matters. Plan to prioritize homes that are located near public transportation or in walkable neighborhoods, as this can help reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your reliance on a car for everyday trips to the grocery store.
Landscaping and outdoor space
Just because it's green doesn’t mean it’s sustainable! Plan to survey the landscape and outdoor areas to ensure that the plants and materials used in the landscaping are eco-friendly and only require sustainable practices for upkeep. Read up on eco-friendly landscaping techniques and look for indicators of their use in the home's outdoor area, such as native plants, mulch, and rainwater harvesting systems. Finally, you can look for certifications or labels that indicate the use of sustainable practices, such as the Wildlife Habitat Council's Wildlife at Work or the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
How homeowners can live in an eco-friendly space
Reduce energy consumption
Chances are, you are not even aware of how much energy you are consuming in your home on a regular basis. You can make your home more energy efficient by turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use, installing energy-efficient bulbs and appliances, and considering the use of solar panels.
Water is a huge liability from a waste perspective. It is also important to ensure that your home is leak-proof and that you install low-flow or low-flow-rated showerheads and faucets in your bathroom, to reduce the amount of water wasted in your home.
Grow your own food or buy local
Growing your own food and buying locally can be sustainable because it reduces the environmental impact of transportation. Food that is grown and purchased locally often has a smaller carbon footprint compared to food that is grown and transported from long distances. Additionally, growing your own food can reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which can be harmful to the environment. Buying locally also supports small businesses and farmers in your community, which can have a positive economic impact. Finally, growing your own food and buying locally can also provide fresher, healthier options for you and your family.
Looking for luxury houses in Lincoln Park or Bucktown?
Are you looking for eco-friendly Lincoln Park or Bucktown real estate? Consider working with the experts at the Gillman Group. The Gillman Group is dedicated to helping clients navigate both the buying and selling process. With over 50 years of combined experience in the Chicago real estate marketplace, Gillman Group offers a myriad of services for clients, including home valuation. Call today to take the first step to the luxury home of your dreams.