Many developers are tuning in to what eco-minded Canadians want – great new homes with a focus on “green”. Besides location and design features, what should you look for when buying a new green home?

As with any new home construction, research the builder thoroughly. Ensure the builder has a good reputation for quality and excellent customer service. Look into how long they have been offering green building options and what exactly they provide. To some, building green might mean using a heat pump, but they’re still using formaldehyde-laced glues and caulking. Some may offer solar panels on a roof with only 7-year asphalt shingles. Thorough research will reveal whether the developer is really offering an environmentally responsible home, or simply green washing to take advantage of Canadians who want to make responsible choices.

One option is to look into BUILT GREEN homes. This is a third-party certification process that ensures that new homes are energy-efficient, resource-friendly and environmentally responsible in addition to considering indoor air quality. A home with this certification can provide you with peace of mind that you are buying a responsible product that delivers what it promises.

Before you buy, get a list of the eco-features in the home you are considering. Educate yourself on the new and sometimes complex terminology so you can ask the right questions about your potential new home. For example, are the appliances EnergyStar rated? What about the furnace or heat pump, the air conditioner and the windows? They should all be EnergyStar rated in any eco-home.

Natural Resources Canada has an EnerGuide Rating System for new homes that can be a valuable resource. An efficiency rating of 80 or more in a new home is excellent. You’ll save energy, protect the environment and save money, too.

When you do buy, hire a certified and reputable home inspector with experience with green technology, so you know everything has been installed correctly and will work together to make your new home a haven.