Those looking to escape the busyness of New York City, even if for a little while, are coming in droves to the Catskills for picturesque views and fresh air. The gorgeous homes that are dispersed throughout The Catskill Mountains allow residents to live close to nature while being close to everyday amenities. In keeping with the improved air quality and wide open spaces, many residents moving to the area are eager to protect their new home’s environment. Sustainable living starts with a few good habits and leads to practices that will benefit you and your family for generations. There are several ways for you to make sustainability a theme in your household and protect your Catskills real estate investment.
Get an energy assessment
As you take a hard look at your home’s efficiency, you can start by getting an energy assessment. The state of New York offers free energy audits for eligible residents. The tests performed will find leaks in ventilation that could be causing drafts and will report on which systems are using the most energy in the home. Paying out of pocket for an assessment like this would be well worth the one-time fee when you consider your monthly utilities could be lowered by making a few simple upgrades to your home. Again, this is a great jumping-off point where you can figure out where the biggest energy culprits are and begin your plan for attacking each one. Getting an energy assessment will help guide you through the process of enhancing your home’s efficiency and ultimately save you money each month.
Insulation and weatherproofing
The Catskills are in a prime location where you can experience all four seasons, whether it's skiing the mountains during winter or watching the trees change colors in the fall. With these changes in weather, you will need to equip your home each and every season. With the natural wear and tear on your home every year, you are bound to find your defenses weakened. Your home’s insulation is essential since any escaping heat or air conditioning is money flying out of the window. Your energy assessment will be beneficial when determining the triage of your home’s insulation. Whether you want to air-seal your home yourself or hire a contractor to do it for you, this effort will pay off throughout your year.
Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
Once the insulation and exterior of your home are sealed tight and strengthened, you can turn your focus inward and upgrade appliances or simply swap out some light bulbs. If you are in a position where you can upgrade your kitchen or laundry room appliances, then opting for the Energy Star-rated products will pay off in the long run. An Energy Star rating means the product was certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting energy efficiency prerequisites. If you need to start with one appliance, the refrigerator is a huge energy guzzler since it’s one of the only appliances that run 24/7. Another more affordable efficiency project is upgrading all the lightbulbs in your home to LED bulbs, which can also drastically cut down on your electricity bill.
Upgrade your heating system
Having working heat in the middle of a New York winter is essential, and you can find a reliable and modern heat system that can also reduce your carbon footprint. Replace your boiler with an air-source heat pump that can both heat and cool your home while saving you money. There are more sustainable ways of heating and cooling your home, like a geothermal system, and while these upgrades can be costly, the money saved over time will pay for itself. No matter which system you choose, moving away from boilers that emit pollutants will help both your environment and your wallet.
Harness the sun with solar panels
Solar panels are another way to sustainably run your home’s appliances, from lighting to air conditioning. While going solar has many upfront costs, this source of energy has saved many households hundreds and, in some cases, thousands each year in utilities. There are also tax benefits that come with switching to solar power that you could take advantage of while benefiting each month when you get your electricity bill. Investing in solar power continues to become more affordable each year, and there has never been a better time to outfit your home with panels that work while you work.
Sustainability in action
Once the basics have been addressed, from your home’s insulation and source of heat to your everyday appliances and lighting, you can then take more steps toward sustainability. You and your family can get involved with community clean-ups or even conservation projects with a local nature preserve. Picking up trash around the community, either planned or impromptu, will be a great excuse to get outside and clean up your awe-inspiring view.
Do you have an agent?
If you are looking to relocate to the Catskills, you will want to work with a real estate agent that has experience in the industry and an intimate knowledge of the area. From questions about neighborhoods and local atmosphere to inquiries about your contract and negotiations, your agent should be equally well-versed. Joseph Satto
and his team Fresh Air NY
, offer expert guidance through real estate transactions and have a first-hand appreciation and love for the Catskills. The team members balance life between the city and upstate, and they pride themselves on connecting buyers with their dream countryside homes. The team values sustainability regarding their professional roles and personal practices. Work with reliable representation as you shop Upstate NY real estate