Is an energy efficient house in your future?

It is getting more and more popular to be going green, and many Americans are leading the way in their housing choices.

Solar heating is one smart choice in a sunny area. You will always have hot water to hand and solar power can be transformed into other energy and stored for when you want to run different appliances.

Check out this Jackson Lake Green Home!

It may be that many of these buyers are trying to help the environment, but one good side effect of going green, is that the running costs will be less once you have set yourself up to be operating an energy conscious home. Heating and cooling systems can account for up to a half of your total energy bill in a non-green home.

One place to read about how to save energy in your home is Energy Star, the government's on line site. Their many tips point out which energy is being wasted and where and how to avoid it. The on line site offers advice and free booklets to send for, and gives dozens of pointers on how to live green and how to build green.

Of course, there are other small ways that you can save energy and money in your pocket. One of their recommendations is that you stop buying the old-fashioned light bulbs and start buying the new compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The local governments and/or the federal government offer a selection of rebates to try and encourage people to become more energy conscious in their homes.

If your are planning to buy a home and have it built for you, remember that many builders will add your requirements in at the end, so therefore it is often easy to ask for preferred green options in a newly built house.

There is also a scheme that is run through the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). Under this scheme you can use green building materials and designs and qualify for a green mortgage. You can even get mortgage help from these people if you are only planning to renovate, as long as you will be using green techniques and ideas.

Some of the luxuries in a home which are not so 'sustainable' are being changed - gradually. For instance granite counter -tops are still fashionable, but buyers will often choose the look alike's made from engineered stone. These are lighter and have not used up large amounts of gas being carted around the country.

Similar 'swaps' are made with hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets. Bamboo is widely used nowadays in homes by people who prefer to use sustainable resources. Bamboo wood flooring looks like hard oak wood floors but it grows in one tenth the time of an oak tree!

Another popular flooring is cork, which feels warmer and softer than ceramic tiles and is also a sustainable source. A bathroom with cork walls and cork flooring always feels warmer due to the slight 'insulating' properties of cork.

In looking for changes and upgrades like this in a home can help make your home more energy efficient and better for the environment.