Eco Homes: 8 of the Most Sustainable Features to Consider, According to Experts

While digging and installing geothermal pumps cost more than a typical air-sourced system (anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000, according to home services site Angi), Schneeberger notes that they offer a significant return on investment (ROI). The savings on energy costs are often recouped within 5 or 10 years of installation, per the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

3. Recycled materials

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Instead of shopping for new counters, cabinets, and shelving, turn to places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore or an architectural salvage shop for materials to reuse in your home. “You can retrofit pretty much any old piece of furniture into the space you need it for,” says Gabriela Narvaez, general contractor and founder of Guild Properties.

Recently, Narvaez has been sourcing antique console tables and armoires and retrofitting them for bathroom vanities. “I love doing this because not only will you have a totally unique piece in your new space but you’ll also be recycling and repurposing previously used materials into your home instead of buying a mass-produced product,” she says.

4. Energy-efficient windows

Insulated and laminated impact windows and doors do wonders for reducing a home’s overall energy consumption, explains Manny Angelo Varas, president and CEO of homebuilder MV Group USA. If you’re replacing windows in a home, take a closer look at triple-glazed windows, also known as triple-pane windows. “These have a much better insulation value, and with the right films, can cut down on not only solar heat gain but UV rays that can damage artwork, fabrics, and finishes,” says Schneeberger.

Rodriguez adds they’re well worth the investment. (Triple-glazed windows can cost anywhere from $400 to $3,540.) The lower the U-value—or the rate at which the window loses non-solar heat—the better the windows will keep heat in your home, she explains.

5. Solar panels

As a Green designee, realtor Cheneil Lowe sits on the Atlanta Realtors Association’s sustainability committee. She often works with clients to find the solar panels that work best for their home and energy bill budgets. “With solar panels, homeowners can significantly reduce their dependence on traditional electricity sources, leading to substantial savings on their electric bills over time,” Lowe says.

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