5 THINGS A GREEN HOMES BUYER SHOULD KNOW
Congratulations on choosing to buy a green home. A quality green home will save you operational costs, improve the quality of your life and enhance your home experience. Do keep in mind the following points to ensure that you are purchasing a performing green building and that you get the value for your money.
- Where is the energy savings coming from?
Check with your builder on what accounts for a major portion of energy savings in your building. Get an understanding of the breakup between energy consumption in common areas and within your home in particular. The energy savings of a building comes through two means, viz. Direct and Indirect means. Direct savings are those you get by using efficient equipment and fixtures such as LED lights, 5 stars rated Air conditioners and so on. Indirect savings come from those measures that make you depend less on the energy consuming appliances and fixtures, such as insulated roofs, good daylight design and cross ventilation design which make you feel comfortable without the AC and lights. This knowledge will enable you to run you home more efficiently.
- Where does the builder’s scope end and yours begin?
Before buying, get clarity on which green building features would be in the builder’s scope and where you will need to contribute. For example, check if your builder is claiming energy savings from LED lights that you would be required to install later on your cost. If the builder is not doing your interiors, then you will need to buy efficient fixtures and environmentally preferable materials yourself. This may lead to unexpected cost overruns, so check it upfront.
- Is the final certification rating same as the pre-certification rating?
If you are purchasing a pre-certified green home, it means that the builder has only confirmed his intent to build green to the certifying agency and is allowed to market the property as green. However, when the building is completed, the builder will have to apply for and get the final certification. Make sure that your builder does this. Get a list of proposed green building measures upfront and check if they have been implemented in your property as mentioned. Home buyers may also insert a penalty clause while purchasing the property if the final certification level is lesser than the pre-certification level.
- How will the building be maintained as a green building?
Building a green home is only crossing half the bridge. To get a truly performing green building, it will need to be maintained in an efficient manner as well. Check with your builder if they will be doing the maintenance and what all it involves. Some key maintenance activities will include monitoring and measuring the performance of the building- for which energy and water meters will have to be installed upfront; maintaining the water supply, sewage and rainwater harvesting systems; maintaining the landscaped areas and installations such as drip irrigation; waste collection, segregation and recycling; use of green cleaning materials and pest control measures; green replacement fixtures for lights, electrical equipment and paints, etc. Have a maintenance plan in place which will address all these factors. Make sure the builder makes provides all facilities which will make this possible through meters and other systems.
- What are facilities for upgrading the building later on?
Your Builder may not be able to give you all green building features in the start. Some features may be too expensive or may not be in the scope of the builder. However, over the years, as technology and markets improve, the residents may wish to upgrade the building with newer features. The building should be accommodative for such additions. Consider that your builder has not provided solar photovoltaic cells, but there should be sufficient roof space, proper electrical wiring and space for battery storage for adding these on at a later date. Talk to your builder to find out possible green measures that are not being incorporated right away and the means by which they can be added on later.
A green building is a good investment which has high paybacks. Be informed and make the right decisions while buying your green home.