What do you look for when buying an existing home to convert to a green home?
I'm looking into buying a home in Edmonton, Alberta. Buying land is not an option within a reasonable distance of the city. Do you have a guide for buying an existing home to make it easier to convert it to a green/low carbon footprint house using the existing structure?
Let me start by saying that buying a home in an existing urban area and doing a full energy efficiency upgrade and retrofit is as green a home as you will get. We have several pages that will help you in that respect, so I’ll link them below. Are you a builder, and do you plan to do this work yourself? I think the most important thing for you to know is probably how far gone is too far gone. This page is a good start –
Renovate, Remodel or Rebuild? How to choose which is best for homes
That will give you an idea from the outset of what is repairable and what is not. Here are some other pages of value –
Choosing where to live - what to look for in a neighbourhood
Evaluating a home before purchase
How to stay on budget when renovating and building new
And, if you end up with a house that is in fairly good condition, there are always easy and basic home energy efficient upgrades, see more here – Easy DIY green home improvement tips. I hope those pages help a bit, and for when you get to the actual build itself, you will find all you need to know about green home building and renovations in the Ecohome Building Guide. After you've been through those pages, let us know if you have more questions.