"I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us." – Theodore Roosevelt
With Earth Day on April 22nd, Roosevelt’s call for responsible use of resources remains as relevant today as when he wrote it over a century ago, and many Americans are taking up the call as part of the “green” movement, particularly in the areas of construction and building.
Whether you’re building a new home or are interested in retrofitting your home to be a “green” home, it’s important to recognize how taking these steps to make your home more environmentally friendly may require some special “green” home insurance to protect them.
Building and Insuring Green Homes
If you’re building a new home and want it to be considered “green,” look to the US Green Building Council, an organization dedicated to sustainable and energy efficient construction and development. The USGBC can certify projects that display “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)”.
According to their website, “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”
Building materials that go into a green home are different from traditional building materials in that they are often recyclable and free of certain toxins that traditional building materials may contain. A standard homeowner’s policy would not necessarily offer coverage to replace or repair a home built with these sustainable materials with the same type of material, it would only pay to make repairs or to replace with traditional building materials.
For those who do build a green home, there are several insurance companies that have special homeowner’s insurance policies that take into account these environmentally friendly materials and will cover their replacement or repair with equally sustainable materials. Contact your insurance agent and ask which of their companies offer this green coverage.
In addition to the building materials, many green homes may have specialized systems to maximize energy use and efficiency- from solar panels and alternative water systems. It’s important to make sure your insurance agent is aware of any systems or appliances that may be a part of your green home so that if necessary they can be replaced or repaired in a way that helps maintain any green certifications your home may have.
Is my current home eligible for a green insurance policy?
It could be. There are insurance companies that will offer you the option for using sustainable materials or energy efficiency appliances to replace what you currently have in the event of a loss- and if, in the unfortunate situation, your home suffers a total loss you could rebuild to green certification standards.
Any time you make changes or improvements to your home, it’s important to advise your insurance agent, as it could change the amount of coverage you would need to make repairs to cover a potential loss.
Going green, saving green
Using sustainable, non-toxic materials and energy efficient appliances isn’t just about reducing waste and being a responsible steward of the environment- it can actually help you lower many of your household bills- from your water and electric bills to your insurance premiums.
Yes, that’s right- some insurance companies will offer discounts on your home insurance premium if you live in a green home, so contact your local independent agent and find out if you would be eligible for a green discount with the companies they represent.