There are a lot of steps you can take to make your home more green, whether you are building new to LEED certification standards or making remodeling improvements to an existing home, to create a healthier environment to live in, more energy efficient, and with less impact on the environment. It will also make it more attractive for resale since statistics show that more than 15% of people are looking for these home qualities.
Aqua Liana’s gardens (above) show a tropical landscape and water conservation setting for a LEED certified oceanfront mansion in Manalapan, more fully described at the end of this blog post.
Home Remodeling or Improvements can save anywhere from 15 50% or more on utility bills and improve energy efficiency this in turn affects air pollution and your environment, which means better air quality and less greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly half of all U.S. electricity comes from power plants that burn coal, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Villa Rica is a prior listing that I had that was totally remodeled and expanded by an Architectural and LEED Accredited Professional (for himself). Here is the Energy Efficient Features and Finish Specifications List and this is the link to the full prior blog post – Boca Raton Real Estate Green Home East Boca. It was remodeled substantially to LEED certification standards.
Here are some general improvements that can be made to your home and still provide design style and finishes similar to the most in-demand features of today’s homes – all of these features and more were used in the above renovation:
Appliances and Energy Efficient features:
- Using Energy Star rated appliances
- Gas stoves and high energy efficient gas clothes dryers
- Solar water heaters, full house generators
- Energy efficient, double-paned, tinted and insulated windows, skylights for extra natural lighting
- Sealing doors, windows and leaks with weather-stripping and caulking
- Low-flow water fixtures, shower heads and dual-flush toilets
- Making sure the HVAC system is running efficiently, ensuring a correct sized and annually maintained HVAC system
- Multi-level air filtration system conventional membrane filter, electronic filter (for fine particles) and UV light filter (kills living organisms) breath pure fresh air, healthy for people with allergies
- Adding more blown insulation (such as cellulose)
- Adding programmable thermostats
- CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) or LED lights (instead of incandescent bulbs), throw off less heat and are more efficient so they provide more hours of electricity for less cost
Interior Finishes and Exterior Features:
- Using low-VOC paints and finishes (volatile organic compounds – see An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality from the EPA for more information on VOC’s
- Using formaldehyde-free interior products in interior paint, carpet and adhesives, etc.
- Low-VOC flooring / carpeting (made from sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, or recycled and/or reclaimed products), or marble laid without grout – cleaner, low-maintenance finish
- Low-VOC kitchen cabinets (paint and stain finishes)
- Impact resistant windows Miami-Dade County impact resistant 146 mile per hour rating
- Impact resistant garage door, finish walls with insulation with finished stucco interior walls
- Roofing example Energy Star 150 mile per hour rated metal roof
- Planting deciduous shade trees and other eco-friendly landscaping that are hardier and require less water and maintenance
- Organic/ natural pest control and non-toxic supplies for pool /or no-chlorine pool
- Rain barrels to catch and recycle rain water
Other Remodeling Features:
- Using sustainably harvested wood labeled FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)
- Using countertops made from recycled content such as terrazzo
- Using rainwater harvesting system for landscape irrigation and to reduce storm water runoff
- Using low-carbon concrete
If you want to see an exquisite LEED certified mansion on the ocean in Manalapan, “Aqua Liana” is available for sale at $22,900,000. If you, or anyone you might know, would like to see it please call me on my direct line. LEED certification for residential new construction is available at several levels and is extremely stringent – this is the first ultra-luxury home to obtain triple green certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, the Florida Green Building Coalition and Energy Star for Homes.
Aqua Liana incorporates every design, construction and operation element of an environmentally responsible green home. Luxury features include a stunning entry foyer with a water floor, glass chandelier and sheeting water walls, aquarium wet bar, Hawaiian Koa-wood kitchen, other exotic hardwoods like coconut, bamboo, palmwood, and reclaimed teak throughout the home, meandering and swimmable water gardens, cooling landscaping, all on a 1.6+ acre oceanfront paradise.
The ultra-efficient air conditioning and purification systems, appliances, lighting, solar panels and insulation save nearly 60% on energy costs and provide superior indoor air quality. The water runoff collection system, reclaimed and renewable woods and recycling of over 75% of the construction debris that did not end up in a landfill additionally promote a whole home approach to sustainability.
Other resources for additional information:
NAR Field Guide to Green Homes and Green Mortgages
US Dept of Energy & EPA – Energy Star
US Green Building Council
Florida Green Building Coalition
Florida Home Builders Association
American Society of Interior Designers & USGB
Residential Energy Services Network