In addition to location and size, homebuyers should look at a number of energy-efficiency features in the homes they consider. These include new windows, solid roofing, ENERGY STAR(R) appliances, good insulation, low-flow bathroom fixtures, and an energy audit or score. New windows, for example, can help to reduce drafts, make a home quieter, and are more attractive. However, ENERGY STAR-qualified ones can also lower energy bills by 7-15 percent, which is about $27-$111 annually for a 2,000-square-foot, single story home with storm or double-pane windows. ENERGY STAR appliances, meanwhile, can save significant amounts of energy and water, according to the Department of Energy. Compared to older models, ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 20 percent less energy, while ENERGY STAR dishwashers use 10 percent less energy and 18 percent less water. Also, an ENERGY STAR washing machine will use 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than its standard counterparts. In the bathroom, it can be helpful to look for low-flow fixtures that meet federal WaterSense standards. While toilets use nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water, a newer, low-flow toilet can lower water use by as much as 60 percent and save over $110 annually in water costs, depending on location. Also, just as a thorough home inspection is important, so too is a recent energy audit or home energy score. For newer houses that qualify for ENERGY STAR standards, they will have a label affixed to the circuit breaker box. | Read More

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