By Cassidy Rust
More and more people are realizing that every action and decision they make affects the environment, whether that be a positive effect or a negative one. Recycling, reusing and using less paper and plastic in general are some of the choices you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. Another choice with tremendous impact on the environment is one that most people would never consider: your home.
Designed by John Kane, board member for Tempe Center for the Arts, Lot #138 in Sincuidados was one of the original Arizona homes exceeding both the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes and the City of Scottsdale Green Building Program requirements. These programs focus on energy efficiency in the home, as well as the health and wellness of their occupants.
While originally built for one of the originators of USGBC, the house is now for sale. The 3,206-square-foot four-bedroom home is currently listed for $785,000 by Denise van den Bossche, Realty Executives LEED AP and a former Chair of the Arizona Central Phoenix USGBC.
Energy efficiency in the house begins with the windows. By not building any windows on the east or west sides of the house, less sunlight, and therefore less heat, enters the home. A double wall was also built on the hotter western wall, allowing an R-55 insulation factor (the higher the R-value, the better the ability to resist heat). The house is essentially a giant insulated cooler which allows the entire house to stay a moderate temperature year-round. Having a more moderate, natural temperature year-round means that the average electricity bill rarely exceeds $60.00 a month. So not only do LEED houses help the environment and help you stay healthy and happy, they also save you money.
The house also comes with solar photovoltaics, or solar panels, which generate an average of 3.3 kW of natural, renewable electricity. If that energy exceeds the amount of power the home needs, then the rest is sold to Arizona Public Service to be used on the grid. It also saves money with the 40-gallon water heater on the roof of the building, meaning that the water has a chance to get heated naturally. This tank then feeds into the electric water heater in the garage. This system, according to the seller, requires no maintenance and consumes no energy.
Not only are these homes eco-friendly and save money for the occupants, they are also conscientious of the nature and the natural view around them. The windows are faced toward the mountain views in the Sincuidados community. This allows the architect to focus the line of sight for the occupants towards the beauty of nature instead of neighbors.
As more people are beginning to realize that they’re capable of helping to save the Earth, the sale of family homes with green features is increasing. According to the USGBC website, the sale of these homes in Washington D.C. will be 3.5 percent more than homes without those features. Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service includes an entire questionnaire to alert potential buyers to eco-friendly features in homes that they’re interested in.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, consider that every choice you make has an impact on our world. A wonderful place to start reducing your carbon footprint is within your four walls.
Established in 1965, Scottsdale based Realty Executives International is one of the largest and most established real estate franchise systems in the world today, with over 8,000 agents and 500 offices globally. You can contact Denise van den Bossche via phone at (602) 980-0737 or email her at denise@VDBassociates.com.
Cassidy Rust is a Green Living intern currently majoring in journalism at Arizona State University, hoping to graduate at the end of this year and excited about where life and writing will take her.