I’ve battled this dilemma for years, and since I constantly go back and forth on the subject, I figured I’d post my findings here in the hopes of garnering some advice. Folks, the struggle is real; give me your words, your wisdom, and your wealth (okay maybe not wealth, but feel free to give the other two abundantly)!

At first, I thought that living in an existing home (rather than utilizing the time, energy, and resources to build a new one) was the best way to conserve energy overall. However, my research suggests that this may not always be the case. In fact, many new homes are so energy efficient that they at least make up for the resources used to construct them, while many supersede this energy deficit.

If I was to build a new home, a whole-house systems approach could be implemented. This allows for builders and homeowners to have a say in the insulation, lighting, water heating, etc. Adding or altering variables like these to an existing home can take a fair amount of money, resources, and labor (not to say that it isn’t worth it, but if you can avoid this step--why not?). Options like this in the new vs. pre-owned home battle are what make the difference in the HERS Index, which measures overall home energy efficiency. According to the scale, “used” homes score much worse than their newer counterparts. Revolutionary? Maybe not. Worth considering if you’re making a lifelong commitment to greener-living? Absolutely!

But let’s be honest. Like, real heart-to-heart honest. It’s pretty much impossible to afford to build a new home unless the proper finances are available and credit is on point. Renting/owning a pre-owned home may be the only option. In this case, any changes I made/make (with the approval of the property owner) could cost me money that I may not have. There are some thrifty home efficiency improvements that most people could make, which could serve as a personal happy-medium (at least for now).

Does anybody have any thoughts on the topic?? I’d love some advice. Thanks!

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