Looking for a Green Home?
The best way to ensure that the quality and performance of a home match what the seller says about it is certification from a third party. Look for the following certifications:
LEED for Homes (or LEED for Neighborhood Development)
Even if the home doesn't have a green rating, you can still have an energy audit done as part of the inspection process. You'll want to get a HERS Rating from the audit, which is like miles per gallon for houses. 100 is a code-compliant house in 2006, and 0 uses no energy whatsoever. LEED, Energy Star and TVA Energy Right Platinum require a HERS Rating of 85. EPB Smart Build and TVA Energy Right require a HERS Rating of 93.
Green MLS Toolkit: is a green real estate industry collaborative project to ensure value for sustainable, healthy, and energy efficient homes. It recognizes homes that receive third party verified certifications above.
Resources to Help Finance a Green Home
HUD.GOV: Financial Incentives for Home Energy-Efficiency Improvements
Energy Star's Energy Efficient Mortgages: Crediting a home's energy efficiency into its mortgage