Consumers seeking to buy an energy efficient home may ask current owners for copies of their monthly utility bills to obtain an approximate idea of how the house operates. While walking through potential new homes, it is important to check carefully for such features as ENERGY STAR appliances, air leaks, low-flow bathroom fixtures, digital thermostat controls, insulation, tankless water heaters, and low-energy heating/lighting/cooling systems. Some homes may advertise LEED certification, which indicate that a building adheres to environmental standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council. Other possibilities include energy- or water-efficient landscaping plans, solar panels, wind turbines, and other alternative energy sources. With these features, it is important to ask for maintenance records and find out about possible local or state tax credits. Potential home buyers also need to assess whether they will use all the rooms in a particular house and whether they are sized appropriately. A licensed professional can be hired to conduct an energy audit, which typically costs about $200 and can pinpoint problem areas. | Read More