Does It Pay To “Go Green” At Home? Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® Offer Easy Tips For Your Clients

Services for Real Estate Pros with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors

Use Less Energy: A high efficiency furnace uses less gas to heat your home.

Using Fewer Natural Resources: Engineered lumber uses less wood fiber and preserves old growth forests. Companies such as Floor Coverings International specialize in engineered wood floors that look so real often people cannot tell the difference.

Less Toxic: Modern pressure treated wood is less toxic to the environment than its predecessors. Older style pressure treated wood has chromium and arsenic in it.

Disposal: Find and use materials that are easily disposable or recyclable. Cedar shingles, for example, have less of an environmental impact on disposal than asphalt shingles. 


Switch to LED or CFL Lights:

About 12 percent of an average home’s energy bill goes toward lighting, so a cheap and easy way to reduce your energy bill and your environmental footprint is to replace all light bulbs (inside and out) with light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. These newer bulbs also last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means fewer of them end up in a landfill. Another benefit of these bulbs that is often overlooked is the amount of heat they emit. Standard bulbs emit a lot of heat, which means your air conditioner runs harder in the summer to compensate. CFL and LED lights emit less heat, thus both directly and indirectly saving even more energy.

  • CFL - Compact Fluorescent Light

  • Fluorescent light – Electrical discharge inside a glass tube that ultimately results in the emission of light in the visible spectrum.

  • Incandescent light – Visible light generates from a white-hot filament inside a glass bulb. The glass bulb is evacuated to exclude oxygen and prevent the filament from burning.

  • LED - As indicated by its full name — Light Emitting Diode — an LED is a diode that emits light. A diode is a device that allows current to flow in only one direction. Almost any two conductive materials will form a diode when placed in contact with each other — with a single p-n semiconductor junction between them. To create an LED, the n-type material is negatively charged, while the p-type material is positively charged. The atoms in the n-type material have extra electrons, while the atoms in the p-type material have electron holes — electrons missing from their outer rings


Create a Recycling and Compost Station: Most cities will now pick up and process recyclable material, and some will also pick up compostable food material and yard waste.  Make sure to have bins for trash and recycling in every room, not just the kitchen! A lot of recyclable material is thrown away in home offices and bathrooms because the recycling bin is too far away. There are a lot of programs out there that offer bins for free, and some waste management services offer classes on recycling and composting.

Half the trash that homes produce is composed of food scraps. When those go to the dump, they do nothing, but if you have a compost bin at your house, you can use those scraps to make fertilizer for your garden. Most outdoor composters cost between $100 and $600, depending on how large and secure they are. To avoid attracting pests, make sure to get one with a tight-fitting lid and a secure hatch at the bottom for removing finished fertilizer.

Seal all Doors and Windows: Older homes tend to have gaps around doors and windows. All those gaps can make your house feel like a window is open somewhere. Your hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer is literally going out the window. Putting weather stripping around doors and windows can save you 10 percent on your heating and cooling bill, and prevent energy from being wasted. You can pick it up from any hardware store and install it yourself in a matter of hours. Most foam rolls cost around $5 for 10 feet, or you can spring for the plastic kind, which costs up to $350 but is more durable. 

Life Cycle Assessment: A branch of the green building movement is concerned with analyzing claims of green. The technique used is called Life Cycle Assessment or LCA. This considers the product or initiative in a holistic fashion. LCA considers the total environmental impact throughout the life cycle. LCA considers environmental impact of raw materials, manufacturing, use and finally disposal. If your clients are really “green go-getters” they may want to look further into LCA.


Comments (12)

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Rhonda Sanderson ,

Excellent post and glad to see it featured! These are great tips for homeowners!

Jul 20, 2017 04:19 AM
Luke Acree
ReminderMedia - King of Prussia, PA
Making Agents Memorable

Going green is a win-win-win. It adds value to your home, decreases utility bills, and has a positive impact on the environment.

Jul 20, 2017 06:39 AM
Rhonda Sanderson
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors - Boca Raton, FL
Pillar To Post resident Blogger

Luke, it's also amazing all the little ways you can find to do it around the house. Every time we clean I find new ways to reduce. Plastic is deadly as we sadly now know, so I have stopped buying water and filter mine!  

Jul 20, 2017 07:09 AM
Steve Bracero
Heisler and Mattson - Shrewsbury, MA
First Time Homebuyer and Investor Specialist

Going green is very beneficial and smart to do ! Thanks for sharing  Rhonda Sanderson 

Jul 20, 2017 07:17 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Rhonda,

Of course, there are always many factors to consider. For a home, I might go for fire & wind safety before recyclability, despite generally being a militant recycler. Now you have me thinking about asphalt shingles. I just found out, that there are two companies in the state, that recycle them. Makes sense, since all ingredients should be able to be made into road surfacing at a minimum. Apparently, you can order a dumpster for that purpose right to your project site.

Jul 20, 2017 09:48 PM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Wow, lots of good information with some that I didn't know. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the featured post. 

Jul 21, 2017 06:31 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for sharing the great information on going Green.

I have been reading about 1 concern: sealing the house to be energy efficient may by trapping toxic off gassing that could be harmful.

Do you have any suggestions for that issue?

Jul 21, 2017 06:38 AM
Rhonda Sanderson

John Wiley: Here's a response from Charles Furlough, our Senior VP of Operations.

“Tight” houses are truly a concern if fresh air is not designed into the overall plan.  Over the years, we have built our houses to be better insulated and with less outside air infiltration.  Both have made our houses more energy efficient but as a result, have caused less fresh air in the home.  This has been successfully addressed in two ways.  One is the simple addition of a fresh air inlet that allows a defined amount of fresh air into the heating and cooling system directly from the outside.  This is effective but in times of extreme heat or cold, decrease the overall efficiency of the home.  The second way is to use a ERV or Energy Recovery Ventilator.  This system costs more to install but introduces fresh air to the home while exhausting the stale air.  As those two air streams cross, they exchange heat and humidity.  This is a more effective and efficient way to exchange the indoor air with fresh outdoor air. Homes are better when they are more efficient but attention should be paid to the air quality inside the home for safe and comfortable living.










Jul 21, 2017 12:27 PM
Rhonda Sanderson

John: I am going to hand this question off to one of our experts.  Back at ya.  Good point. 

Jul 21, 2017 10:25 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ

Good concern John Wiley.  Air quality is an issue if a home is too tight.  Testing the home is simple.  An Energy Audit can be performed on the home to check static pressure, air leakage, and balancing.  I'm going through this now with my own home in AZ. I sealed it so tight and will be adding  afresh air intake on top of my 16 SEER heatpump as mentioned above. There are several ways to get better, fresh air. A professional opinion on the whole house starts with testing, ie an Energy Audit.   Check with your utility provider to see if they offer a discounted service.  Check with your local contractors who specialize in this before doing anything.  It all depends on the house, sun exposure, age of the systems, insulation, and much more.  And remember that what works in another state may not work for you in Florida due to humidity. 

Jul 26, 2017 08:45 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

We've been switching to LEDs, have mandatory recycling and composting which we embrace willingly, and have switched to water-conserving appliances. Good changes, and easy to do.

Thanks for your other tips, too.

Jul 21, 2017 08:09 AM
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

We did all those things years ago, except we had to wait for special size LCD bulbs for some of our fixtures. Green has always been important to our family. It's good to see so many people focusing more on going green now.

Jul 21, 2017 10:03 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great information to get folks started.  A lot of thinking green is awareness.  We don't know what we don't know until the idea is presented!

Jul 26, 2017 08:46 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It really really does save a lot of time and energy and even money to be prepared first.

Aug 28, 2017 11:48 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It pays once you get into the routine and start unplugging a bit. I find it works.

Sep 28, 2017 09:38 PM