What Makes A Home Green?

March 15th, 2011 | Everyday Green

The term green is frequently tossed around, and when paired with the activity of building, means that the act is environmentally friendly and meets certain standards in minimizing the impact on the Earth’s natural resources.

But what exactly are those standards? And how do you know that the home you’re about to move into is truly green?

In a recent study, American homeowners overwhelmingly said the single most important factor to determining a home’s greenness was its degree of energy efficiency. They also thought environmentally friendly materials and a renewable energy source determine a home’s greenness. While those factors do comprise a home’s greenness, there are several additional facets to also take into consideration. These include:


Green homes won’t be built on environmentally sensitive land like farmland or endangered species habitats. Homes will be built in areas where public transportation options abound to encourage homeowners to use their car less.


A green home won’t be ostentatious. A massive mansion, for example, requires immense energy for heating, air conditioning and lighting. Green homes provide residents with plenty of comfortable living space but don’t go overboard.

Moderating Light and Temperatures

A green home will make use of natural lighting through windows and skylights to reduce the energy needed to light the home. The roof will be constructed so that it reduces heat absorption. Green homes also will have nontoxic insulation in the home’s walls and roof to prevent cool air leaking out in the summer and warm air leaking out in the winter. Windows and doors in a green home should seal tightly to avoid those same losses of hot and cold air.

Water Efficiency

A green home should include rain barrels for water catchment and reuse, as well as have water fixtures that are WaterSense labeled. Both the fixtures and the rain barrels will decrease the indoor and outdoor use of water by more efficiently using the water at hand. In fact, the WaterSense label signifies that a product saves water without sacrificing performance or quality.