When buying a new house, size and location have always been important. But Maria Vargas of the U.S. Department of Energy says homebuyers are now increasingly interested in a home’s energy efficiency.

Locating a "green" energy efficient home

That’s because how much a house has been weatherized – or sealed against the elements – can make a big difference in the monthly cost of owning and operating that home.

Vargas: “Many homes in this country aren’t very well sealed, and if you add up all the gaps around windows and doors, and where pipes and wires come in and out of the house, it’s the equivalent to leaving a window open all year long.”

But there’s currently no easy way for homebuyers to get information about a home’s energy efficiency, so the DOE has launched a new program to provide this data to prospective buyers. It may take several years, but Vargas says there are things buyers can do now.

Vargas: “As part of the inspection, or as part of a purchase decision, you can ask someone to come in and audit the home and give you a sense of how energy efficient it is.”

Reviewing energy bills from the previous owner can also be helpful, although personal choices – such as using energy efficient appliances or turning down the AC – can make a difference in the monthly energy bill, and perhaps make that dream home more affordable.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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More Resources
How to get the real estate market to properly value green homes
Real estate firms ready to shout about home energy efficiency
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