“Going green” is an idea and a lifestyle that seems to be gaining steam. Whether your primary concern is about how we as humans impact the environment or you’re just interested in saving money on water and electrical bills, the appeal of “going green” is understandable. Do you realize that our homes can be where we realize the greatest benefits of a green lifestyle?
What does it mean to you, to “go green?”
It may mean using alternative construction materials, smaller footprints, or renewable energy. How might each affect your home insurance rates? Let’s take a look at three common factors.
- Building with Green Materials
In addition to the size of your home, the materials used to build your home are the next largest factor in its replacement cost (which is what the insurance companies care about most). This is where a conversation with your insurance agent would really make sense, because some “green” materials are more expensive than traditional construction materials, while some are significantly less expensive.
For example, using straw bales as a structural element (for exterior and interior walls) may seem odd, but it is trending across the USA. Insurance companies are generally in favor of straw bale construction because the straw performs very well in severe weather and with the proper flame-retardant applied to it, presents a very low fire risk. And of course the cost to rebuild is very attractive, so you may see lower home insurance premiums with this type of “green home.”
- Reducing Your Footprint
For some people, going green can mean living smaller. This could mean living with fewer possessions and/or living in a smaller space. Anytime you reduce the number and value of your possessions or reduce the square footage of your living space and/or property – it costs less to insure those fewer possessions or smaller square footage.
- Adding Green Elements to Your Home
It’s tougher to turn an existing home into a green home, but there are things you can do. You could reduce electricity costs by installing a skylight, or add solar panels; you could add a greenhouse in which to grow your own organic food.
While these additions certainly have out-of-pocket costs, your insurance company will be focusing on how these additions may increase or decrease the replacement value of your home.
Depending on how green you go – talk to your insurance agent and make sure that your replacement cost is updated and accurate. We can help you save a different kind of green – your money!