lake norman real estate

How to Search for a”Green” Home in Lake Norman

Green Homes in Lake NormanI’ll bet if I asked 50 people to define a “green” home I would be 50 different answers.  That is why I am particularly excited that our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service not just added a number of “Green” search and data fields for listings of single family homes including  Green Certifications, HERS Index ratings and a list  27 “Green Building Features” but also added definitions which helps both home buyers and Realtors better understand what is considered a “green” feature. While it will take time, more and more Realtors, builders and home sellers are going to take advantage of these fields making it easier for Lake Norman area home buyers to find them.  Here is the list directly from our CMLS. If you aren’t looking immediately, you might want to bookmark this list for the future!

The Carolina MLS provides the following opportunities for eco-friendly and energy efficient properties to be adequately described and searched, and to provide the green certificate for appraisers to access in support of their appraisals.

“Green Certification” field
The Green Certification field lists entities that evaluate and certify a dwelling as environmentally friendly. Choices include: EarthCraft House, Energy Star Qualified, Environments for Living, LEED Home, NAHB National Green Building Standard, and NC Healthy Built Homes. “Energy Star” was changed to “Energy Star Qualified” on April 27, 2012. Energy Star partners may install Energy Star appliances but do not receive certification. Only properties that have been certified can be denoted as “Energy Star Qualified.”

“HERS Index” field

The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. Visit for more information.

Green Building Features
“G” means green! CarolinaMLS provides 27 ecofriendly, energy-efficient items in Matrix (Our MLS data program). There is a feature group called “Green Building Features,” as well as items integrated into other feature groups all tagged with the letter “g.” For example: g-Active Solar Heat, g-Solar, g-Engineered Wood Products, etc.

1. Adv. Framing/Concrete Const. (Green Building Features)
2. Dual Flush Toilets (Equipment)
3. Energy Star® Clothes Washer (Equipment)
4. Energy Star® Dishwasher (Equipment)
5. Energy Star® Freezer (Equipment)
6. Energy Star® HVAC (HVAC)
7. Energy Star® Refrigerator (Equipment)
8. Energy Star® Light Fixtures (Equipment)
9. Engineered Wood Products (Green Building Features)
10. Fresh Air Ventilation (HVAC)
11. Geo Ther. Heat Sys. (Clsd Loop)
12. Infill Lot (Lot Description)
13. Insulated Windows (Doors and Windows)
14. Low Flow Fixtures (Equipment)
15. No-Low VOC/Paints, Sealants, Varn (Green Building Features)
16. Photovoltaic – Solar Power (Green Building Features)
17. Programmable Thermostat (HVAC)
18. Radiant Heated Floors (HVAC)
19. Rainwater Catchment (Exterior Features)
20. Recycled Const/Household Waste (Green Building Features)
21. Sealed Combustion Firepl/Woodst (HVAC)
22. Sealed Crawl Space (Foundation)
23. Solar Hot Water (Water Heater)
24. Spray Foam Insulation (Green Building Features)
25. Sustainable Flooring (Floor Coverings)
26. On-Demand Water Heater (HVAC)
27. Xeriscaping-Drought Resist. Pln (Green Building Features)

Definitions of Green Building Features

Advanced Framing/Concrete Construction: A construction method (also known as “Optimum Value Engineering” or “OVE”) that uses less material in the framing of a home and can reduce material costs and improve energy efficiency. Concrete construction involves using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) to create durable, efficient homes. The approach decreases the number of breaks in the thermal barrier of the building envelope. It also can save on construction costs because it is fast, especially compared with “stick built” homes.

Dual Flush Toilets: Toilets with two buttons for two flush options. Option one allows the user to flush with less water for liquid waste, while option two allows the user to flush with more water for solid waste. Generally the words “dual flush” will appear in the model name for that toilet.

Energy Efficient Light Fixtures: The fixture or the type of bulbs used in a fixture. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are becoming more common in homes and buildings and they are more efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs.

Energy Star Appliances: Products that use less energy than conventional models. The ENERGY STAR® label is a credible third-party certification of a product’s energy efficiency. Energy Star is a certification granted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for household appliances and buildings that perform at specified levels of energy efficiency. Clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, window air conditioners, central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and pool heaters can get the label. Televisions, ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers do not receive such labels.

Engineered Wood Products: A type of composite wood with superior durability and strength. Thinner or fewer pieces of engineered wood are required to meet the same strength requirements than would be needed with traditional wood.

Fresh Air Ventilation: A mechanical ventilation component of the HVAC system that draws in fresh air rather than recirculating and filtering air within a home.

Geo Thermal Heat/HVAC System (Closed Loop): Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth to provide cooling and heating for a home. A loop of piping is buried in the ground and fluid circulates through the loop. In the summer, the fluid uses the cooler temperature of the ground to provide indoor cooling. During colder months, the geothermal heat pump uses the below-ground temperature, which is significantly warmer than the outside air, to warm a home

Low Flow Fixtures: This can refer to a faucet with an aerator installed, which lessens the flow of water but improves water pressure, or a low-flow showerhead.

No-Low VOC/Paints, Sealants, Varnish: Products that do not off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Using products with very little if any VOCs provides for better air quality.

Photovoltaic (PV): This system captures light from the sun and converts it into electricity through solar panels usually installed on roofs.

Programmable Thermostat: A thermostat that allows the homeowner to set the temperature at different levels at different times of day. For example, in wither, it could be set to be colder while occupants sleep and warmer as occupants awaken, then colder again as occupants are away at work.

Radiant Heated Floors: A way to heat spaces using radiant energy that is emitted from a heat source. There are three types of radiant floor heat: radiant air floors (air is the heat-carrying medium); electric radiant floors; and hot water (hydronic) radiant floors.

Rain Water Catchment: Systems that harvest water during periods of rain. The water the can be saved and used during droughts.

Recycled Construction/Household Waste: A strategy in which homeowners, remodeling a house in anticipation of selling it, recycle old materials and demolition waste rather than sending them to a landfill.

Sealed Combustion Fireplace/Woodstove: A sealed combustion fireplace or woodstove that gets its combustion air from outside of the home and exhausts 100 percent of the combustion by-products to the outside. This eliminates the likelihood of “backdrafting,” a situation in which combustion gases are pulled back into the home and cause health problems.

Sealed Crawl Space: A crawl space under a home that has been properly air sealed to conserve energy.

Solar Assisted Hot Water: A solar hot water array on the roof that supplements (but does not exclusively supply) the hot water to the home. Water warmed by solar energy is pumped into the hot water heater where less energy is required to get it hot or less cold water needs to be warmed to fill the tank.

Spray Foam Insulation: Insulation that is sprayed into place and then expands to fill cavities. It acts as both an insulator and a sealant and is an alternative to the standard insulation bats. The two types of spray foam are open-cell (isocyanurate) and closed cell (polyurethane). Closed cell foams typically have a higher R-value than open-cell foam.

Sustainable Flooring: This has a wide variety of potential meanings, from bamboo to cork to reclaimed flooring.

On-Demand Water Heater: A system that delivers hot water at a preset temperature when needed, but without requiring the storage of water. The approach reduces or eliminates energy standby losses. On-demand water heaters can be used for supplementary heat, such as a booster to a solar hot water system, or to meet all hot water needs. On-demand water heaters have an electric, gas or propane heating device that is activated by the flow of water.

Xeriscaping: A landscaping method used in arid areas that incorporates native plants that can tolerate infrequent watering.



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