Are you a couple who understands the benefits of living green? Perhaps you started out by separating and recycling your rubbish. Then you read about solar water heaters and installed one into your home. Perhaps you’ve even gone as far as installing rainwater catchments and photo-voltaic solar panels.
But the question is this: What will you do when the time comes to move out? How will you find a home that someone else has invested in as much as you have in your current home?
The sad truth is that converting your home into a green home is often over-capitalizing on your property (depending on the area in which you live). Not many buyers will appreciate your green features enough to give you a return on investment. So unless you’re planning on staying put for a really long time, green features are not always recommended.
Growing accustomed to green living
But let’s say you’ve slowly implemented green features into your home. You’ve added some solar panels. You’re collecting rainwater for your garden. You’ve even had a heat pump installed to save on your geyser costs.
And now the time comes for you and your family to move. All these green features have become such a part of your life. Will you look for a home that has the same green features? How hard will it be to find such a home?
This is a question of finding a new home for sale that offers the same green benefits you’ve come to expect. These may include:
- Saving money on your utilities
- Living comfortably and sustainably
- Being independent of the grid
- Having a clear conscious about your impact on the environment
Green home development is slow but sure
Well, you’ll be happy to know that slowly but surely, green home development is catching on in SA. Fully green homes are being developed.\
Now buying a home like this is a big decision. You already know that green homes in South Africa cost more than regular homes. But if you’ve done your research, you also know that green homes give you such a large return on investment, the initial price is well worth it.
But you already know that, don’t you? You’ve already experienced the savings and convenience associated with green features. Right?
Those bad experiences
You see, there are a lot of people out there who were quickly sold on the idea of living green. They understood that being off the grid would save them money in the long run. They also wanted less dependence on the grid and convenient living. But did they get what they bargained for?
Let’s face it: there are a lot of dubious companies out there who provide dodgy products—or don’t know how to install them. In short, many people in South Africa have experienced problems with their green features. And these problems are often enough to put people off green living for good.
Another issue is the return on investment. If green features are not properly thought through, home owners may not get all the benefits they were promised. This is the case for many home owners—and maybe you are one of them.
So have you been scared away from green living?
These obstacles may easily scare you away from living as green as you’d like. But the truth is, living green is an inexpensive, hassle-free lifestyle that keeps you and your family happy, healthy and safe.
These three objectives are exactly what you should aim for:
- Happy: If the green features in your home aren’t adding joy and convenience to your life, then something is amiss. Your home should aim to provide you with a happy life by making things comfortable and spacious. Everything you need is always on-hand. In addition, all aspects of the home require almost no maintenance.
- Healthy: Green living is healthy living. When you consider the five types of insulation all green homes possess, you can be sure your family will remain healthy during the harshest winters. The under floor hydronics radiant heating and cooling also ensures your family’s health without costing you the earth. As opposed to air conditioners, air is able to rise and circulate within the home—instead of circulating what is outside and bringing it into your home.
- Safe: The location of your home influences your safety. Be sure to choose an area with tight security and a close-knit community culture, making it a safe haven for families who want their kids to be able to play in the street without fear of harm.
Don’t these benefits seem worth it? Living green is a lifestyle that is becoming easier and easier to obtain. A few bad eggs should not put you off pursuing this kind of life.
So what about that initial capital?
Now an immediate objection many have when considering a green home is the price. Green homes cost significantly more than regular homes because of all the extra work and strategy that goes into them.
But buying a green home is actually one of the smartest investments you can make in South Africa at the moment. People invest in properties all the time. They invest in properties with the hope that the value of that property will appreciate in value.
Buying a green home in South Africa is a sure way to get a solid return on your investment. Even though the market for green homes is on the increase, it’s currently a very slow market. This means that, say within five years—when the market for green homes has increased—your home will be worth a lot more than what you paid for it!
Now that’s what we call an overall return on investment. But let’s consider the compounding ROI you receive while living in your green home:
- You will save costs on water due to the implementation of rainwater harvesting
- Your electricity bill will be significantly low with the use of photo-voltaic solar panels
- Low maintenance strategies will ensure that you almost never have to fix up sections in your home such as roof tiles, repainting the walls, rust-proofing the banisters, maintaining the garden, etc.
These savings will add up very fast as the months and years of your stay go by. Soon you will grow accustomed to living in your home at a fraction of normal living costs! Now add these savings to your overall ROI when you sell the home, and you can see how buying a green home makes great business sense.
The responsibility to live green
One also cannot overlook the aspect of living with a clear conscious towards the environment. This human responsibility is wedged into the conscience of most of us. People who have children are especially concerned with the future of the planet and how their lives will ultimately impact life as we know it.
So let’s take a quick look at seven ways a green lifestyle can have less of an impact on the environment:
- Utilizing rainwater reduces the need for chemically treating water for home usage. Of course when one person uses less water, this hardly makes a difference. But as the trend grows and more people stop needing municipal water, the need for chemically treated, fluoridated water will begin to decrease.
- Insulating a home is a great way to cut down drastically on power usage. Think about it. During the hot months, your electricity usage goes up because of fans, air conditioners and the like. In winter, heaters form a massive part of your electricity bill. But when a home is insulated at the ceiling, the floor, the windows and the walls, each room maintains its temperature for much longer.
- Generating and using photo-voltaic solar power ultimately reduces the need for burning fossil fuels. The sun is a limitless source of energy that can be harnessed by us to power our homes. Why use fossil fuel generated electricity when a renewable source is at hand?
- Planting a garden that is fully indigenous is a way to work with nature rather than against it. By excluding invader plants from your garden, you give indigenous plants a chance to thrive. And by planting trees and shrubs that are native to South Africa, you ensure little maintenance and watering.
- A proper hydronics radiant system uses way less power than conventional heating and cooling methods. By having such a system in your home, you negate the need for grid electricity thereby having less of an impact on the planet’s fossil fuel usage.
- Through pipe insulation, water is kept at its temperature for much longer. This means that less electricity is used to heat up water when it is accessed through a tap. Again, this is another contribution to the planet’s welfare.
- Finally, by furnishing your home with low maintenance material, fewer chemicals are needed to repair and maintain wear & tear.
- For instance, using bamboo instead of tree wood shows an understanding for how important trees are to our environment.
- Using aluminum and stainless steel is a great way to ensure long life and low maintenance for your metal fittings.
- Roof tiles that don’t require painting mean that fewer chemicals are used.
- A decorative approach to gardening uses very little lawn area. This will mean never having to use a lawnmower to maintain your yard.
So as you can see, living green makes you a responsible citizen of the planet. Not only is it cheaper, more convenient and simple, but it’s also the right way to live.
There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t consider buying a green home in South Africa.
If you and your significant other are highly conscious about living a green lifestyle, we’d welcome you to speak to your real estate agent and find out what options are out there.