A Green Home Checklist

A Green Home Checklist

Make Your Existing or Future Home a Greener Place to Live


  • A site with smart landscaping is important to help make your home comfortable, affordable and attractive.
  • Water-efficient bermuda or buffalo grass is planted in sunny areas.
  • Plants, shrubs and trees that grow successfully in Northern California.
  • Gutters and downspouts direct water away from house.
  • An irrigation system conserves water by using devices such as manual flow-control valves, a rain shut-off, and a timer with multiple start times.


  • Comfort and economy is possible when a house is designed for its site and climate.
  • Minimal Solar Heat Gain:
  • Longest walls face north and south.
  • Most windows face north and south.
  • Most windows are shaded on the outside by overhangs, covered porches, awnings, trees, trellises, or pergolas.
  • Garage and least-used rooms are positioned on west side as buffers from the west sun.
  • Maximum Ventilation:
  • Most windows are operable and positioned for cross breezes.
  • Most rooms have windows on two walls.
  • High, centrally-located, operable windows enable hot air to move up and vent to the outside.


Cool Shell and Attic:

  • Light colored paint, siding, and roofing are used.
  • A continuous vent strip runs underneath the roof overhang to let air into the attic.
  • Roof ridge has a continuous strip of venting or several passive vents close to the ridge.
  • Attic insulation does not block air flow path between roof overhang vents and ridge vents.
  • Attic has a radiant barrier below the roof decking or between the rafters (looks like aluminum foil). Radiant barrier is especially effective when ductwork is in the attic.

Minimum Maintenance:

  • Exterior wall material is low maintenance (brick, stone, stucco, cement board).
  • Roof has forty-year life (metal or tile).
  • Decks are made of materials that have at least a 10-year life (not solid wood).

Maximum Insulation:

  • Insulation is at least 10 inches deep and evenly distributed
  • Wall insulation is a type that fills every nook and cranny, such as wet-blown cellulose.

Optimal Windows:

  • Unshaded windows have solar screens or low-e glass (except on the north side).
  • Window frames are wood, vinyl or fiberglass.


Using the right materials can improve indoor air quality and increase comfort. Choosing energy efficient appliances will save you money.

Healthy Materials:

  • Flooring is mostly a hard surface, such as concrete, tile or wood.
  • Other flooring materials are natural wool, jute, sea grass, cork or true linoleum.
  • No vinyl wallpaper is used in the home.
  • Bath has exhaust fan vented to outside.
  • Cook top has exhaust fan vented to outside.
  • Laundry/utility room has exhaust fan vented to outside.

Efficient Appliances and Lights:

  • Water heating has a 10-year warranty.
  • An Energy Guide Label that indicates the appliance is in the top 25% of the efficiency scale.
  • Exterior lights have light and motion detectors to conserve energy.

Efficient Heating and Cooling:

  • Ceiling fans in all major rooms.
  • Home has a whole-house fan to exhaust heat.
  • Home has a programmable thermostat.
  • Home has an A/C with a cooling efficiency is 12.0 SEER or higher.

Well-sealed Ducts:

  • Ducts have been pressure-tested for leaks by a qualified technician. Remember, most houses lose about 25% of conditioned air due to leaky ducts. Leaks cause air quality and safety problems, too.

Air Filters:

  • The filter is accessible and easy to change.
  • The system has a 6" wide filter cabinet with pleated-media or electronic filter (not electrostatic).


  • Using local businesses and products keeps the local economy healthy, while reducing the affects of transportation on air quality.
  • Regional materials of local artists and artisans are used for home items.


  • The right location of your home improves your quality of life.
  • The home is conveniently located for activities, such as work, school, entertainment, recreation, and public transportation.
  • Traffic allows safe walking and biking.

Robert Taska, CCI