Green Building: Could Solar Power Work for You?

By: Don Hannig

“Green building” practices are gaining popularity as more home builders are introducing green options to home buyers. For example, if you’re looking at Austin real estate for a potential home, you can easily find a company that builds eco-friendly houses in Barley Pfeiffer, Shelter Design, or Greenbelt Homes. If you are looking for energy efficient, green homes in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA, you will find a Planned Residential Development (PRD) called Keswick Pointe that offers Energy Star efficient homes and homes that have been certified “Gold Level” Green by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). But you don’t always have to start from scratch. From wind power to green insulation, there are plenty of ways to make your current home more energy efficient. Among these, solar power presents a viable option for energy-savings and green-living. The costs of solar energy systems have decreased by over 80% over the past two decades and continue to fall as solar technology becomes more accessible. So could solar energy work for you? Read on to find out.


Solar panels are clean, saving energy while producing virtually no pollution. Taking advantage of solar energy also considerably minimizes your energy bill. You can also find numerous government and utility financial incentives that could help to pay off your solar panels. Explore these incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website.

On or Off the Grid?

You can opt for either a “grid-tie” or “off-grid” system when choosing between solar options. In a grid-tie system, you can convert solar energy into energy used in your home or stored in the power grid, providing you a credit on your power bill. This is the most common way to use solar energy. Off-grid systems are usually used in situations where a grid-based power system is inaccessible, like in rural or remote areas.

Where and How?

There are plenty of different places that you can put solar panels. You can install a panel virtually anywhere with unobstructed access to the sun, like your roof, an awning, the ground or the side of your house. You can even put a solar panel on a “tracking mount” which follows the sun across the sky for maximum sun exposure. There are also plenty of lower-cost solar options for people daunted by the idea of full, solar panel instillation. You can opt instead for:

- A solar water heating system

- Solar lights for your yard or garden

- Solar oven

- Solar refrigerator

- Solar powered fountain

- Solar Powered pool-heating system

Inquire with a solar power installer to find out which solar option will work best for you. You can find a solar power installer in your area using Low Impact Living’s database.

Regardless of if you’re looking for a new house or just considering additions to your own, green building is an excellent investment that will pay itself off over time. You won’t just be helping the planet, you’ll be helping yourself.

James Kim writes for Austin Real Estate service HomeCity combines powerful online Austin MLS search technology and other online tools with personalized real estate services to provide clients with the knowledge they need to make the right buying and selling decisions.


To find out more about the benefits of energy efficiency and green building please call Keswick Point, the region’s newest PRD, at 570-646-4646, email us at or visit our website at

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