Even in the tough economy, Michigan families looking for a new home can still be quite choosey. One of the important features for many home buyers is how environmentally friendly a home is. Energy efficiency can save families large amounts of money over the course of owning a home.

Investing in a new home or a second home is a big decision and financial commitment, so taking the time to assess the long term costs and how comfortable the home will be is very important. As we discussed in our previous post, people considering a real estate transaction may want to consult with an attorney to make sure they are getting exactly what they expect and are completing a sound purchase.

Features such as improved insulation both in the walls and on the outside of the home can help owners conserve energy. Additional costs for these elements can pay off in five to 10 years, depending on the size of the home.

For the cutting edge geothermal technology, the initial costs are high, but the environmental benefits and long term costs savings make these systems worthwhile for many Michigan homeowners. Geothermal heating that works with a radiant heating system in the floor is a great way to keep homes heated throughout during a cold winter. The systems generally begin to show overall savings after about 12 years of use, so they can be a good investment choice for homebuyers looking for a long term residence.

Another clever design element that can save homeowners money while providing comfort and aesthetic value is an interior courtyard. By creating an open space in the middle of the home, each room can have more access to natural light (saving energy) and still maintain privacy.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Insulation gets scrutiny during tour of green home being built in Ann Arbor,” Greta Guest, April 29, 2012.