We at the Smart Living Team at Keller Williams believe that a home should meet the unique needs and goals of the people who live there. A SUSTAINABLE home is one that sustains a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle – a true dream home. There are essentially three paths to reaching your sustainable dream home – and all begin with YOUR dreams and goals. There are three different paths to achieve your sustainable dream home:
New Construction. Purchase a new home built with sustainable technology and materials, designed to meet your lifestyle.
- Renovation. Purchase a cool older home and bring it up to today’s standards with great design and sustainable technology and materials.
- Remodel/retrofit. Enhance your existing home with sustainable design, technology and materials. This can be done all at once, or take place one project at a time.
Regardless of which path you choose, it is important to consider the following 7 ways a sustainable home can benefit you.
- Affordability. A sustainable home is one that is affordable, now and into the future, for the people who live there – no matter what their budget may be. Affordability includes not only the purchase price or the monthly mortgage (or rent) payments, but also the cost of living in and operating the home on an ongoing basis. That includes the cost of energy (electricity, natural gas, etc.), water, ongoing maintenance requirements, commuting costs, and the cost of health issues that may be created or exacerbated by poor indoor air quality. A home may seem affordable based on its acquisition price, but can quickly get out of hand if the costs associated with living there are excessive. It is important to weigh ALL of these costs when choosing a home.
- Location. A sustainable home is located where people can live, work and play without spending hours out of each day commuting. There is a growing movement to design walkable, bikeable neighborhoods to maximize enjoyment, health, and quality of life. The U.S. Green Building Council has developed standards for neighborhood development based on the following questions:
- Is your local grocery store within walking distance…and is there a sidewalk for you to trek there safely?
- Does your neighborhood boast high-performing green buildings, parks and green space?
- Do bikes, pedestrians and vehicles play nicely together on the road?
These questions give us a glimpse into how our existing and future neighborhoods can be improved for better sustainability and quality of life. And choosing the right location to live can save time, money, and carbon emissions by reducing the number and distance of trips by car.
- Design. Home is where people build their lives and develop a lifestyle that fulfills their needs and dreams. It makes sense that our homes should make us happy, allow us to breathe easy, give us views of nature, bring in plenty of daylight, and make us healthier and more productive. Trends are showing increasing preference for smaller but better designed homes – this means architecture and interior design are becoming increasingly important for better living. Sustainable living, energy efficiency, water conservation, all start with good design. Whether building new, remodeling or retrofitting an existing home, starting with good design is critical.
- Energy. Every home requires energy to operate. A sustainable home takes advantage today’s design standards and construction technology to use half or even less of the energy consumed by most conventional homes. It is very cost effective to add renewable energy (usually solar power) to a sustainable home to generate all or more electricity than the home needs, turning it into a Net Zero Energy Home. No matter if you are building new or renovating, this is a very achievable goal! Many people have done it right here in Las Cruces. Low or zero energy usage means huge savings in monthly operating costs. Want to read about a renovated Las Cruces home that is now net zero energy and one of the most sustainable homes in the area? Check out this link to an article in the Las Cruces Sun News.
- Water. Water is essential for life. Just about very community on the planet is facing the need to conserve and manage their water supplies, and that is especially true here in the desert Southwest. There are very practical steps we can all take to reduce our consumption of water without any noticeable change in lifestyle. First, check for leaks – many gallons of water are wasted through leaks in water faucets, toilets and irrigation systems. Water saving shower heads and toilets can save many gallons more. And for those who love lush and verdant landscaping, using careful design to capture and channel rainwater and use of native, drought-tolerant plants will save water and result in a gorgeous yard!
- Health. A sustainable home is one that provides a healthy indoor environment for the people who live there. Many people are not aware that poor indoor air can cause irritation of eyes, nose & throat, headaches, dizziness, allergies, respiratory problems, and other, often serious, health problems. Some materials frequently used in homes put harmful gases into the air. Poorly constructed or unmaintained homes often have moisture problems, which can lead to mold and other air quality. Not properly maintaining heating and cooling systems can also compromise indoor air quality. Trained construction or mechanical professionals can avoid or alleviate these problems.
- Legacy. For the most part, we humans are wired to want the best for our kids, grandkids, and all future generations. For many people, the desire to preserve the environment and quality of life for future generations is a powerful motivator. It can be very fulfilling to know that your home is helping you to live well while also preserving the environment and natural resources for the future. Thinking about the legacy you want to leave is an important reason for living sustainably.
Regardless of whether you choose the path of new construction, or renovation of an existing home, Smart Living Team has the expertise and resources to help you attain the sustainable home of your dreams. Contact us to get started.