Greening your space is not as difficult or expensive as it used to be. It simply takes willingness and a bit of planning.

According to a recent real estate industry analysis, houses gone green sold for 22 percent more per square foot and spent 12 percent less time on the market.

Buyers are willing to pay more for a home that utilizes sustainable technologies like ENERGY STAR appliances and windows, and low flow faucets and toilets.

Greening your space is also a matter of personal responsibility. It is good to know that you are doing your part to make the world a better place. And if that translates to less money going to large corporations, even better.

Here are some simple ways of greening your space and thereby improving the value of your home:

  • Think about location when purchasing a home. Take note of how the house is placed on the property. Avoid a west-facing building because it will have minimum exposure to sunlight. Instead choose a home that faces south and offers plenty of windows to soak up the sunlight.
  • Smaller is better and more manageable. Purchase a house that suits your needs rather than a larger house with wasted space that you may not need.
  • When it is time to purchase new appliances and windows, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR appliances save energy and cost you less on your electric and water bills without compromising performance. ENERGY STAR windows can be more pricey, but the savings more than make up for the initial higher cost.
  • Insulation is one of the most important thing that you need to consider when greening you home. Heating and cooling account for 50 percent of your home’s energy consumption. Seal air leaks around your windows and doors, and make sure you attic is properly insulated.
  • Use sustainable building material. When replacing your roof, cabinets, counters, and flooring, choose products that are built to last, and consider utilizing reclaimed lumber, recycled plastic, recycled glass or natural products.
  • The price of solar panels continues to drop as solar cell technology improves. Solar is clean and renewable. The long-term savings more than make up for the initial expense. Government grants, incentives and tax breaks are bonus.
  • Install a rain barrel to catch water for your garden and house plants.
  • Unplug your electric-hungry water heater and install a tankless water heater. Tankless systems heat only the water needed as it is passes through electric coils. Tankless systems can save as much as $100 a year on your electric bills and they are a purchase point for potential buyers.
  • Eco-Friendly lighting, like LED and CFL bulbs, use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Choose low flow faucets, toilets, and shower heads to save water.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. These are cheap to purchase and easy to install. It gives you more control over your heating and air conditioning systems, leading to hundreds of dollars of savings every year.
  • Wisely planned landscaping can protect your home from direct sunlight during the summer and allows more sunlight through windows in winter. Plant trees on southern and western side of your home to keep your home cooler and block sunlight during summer. During winter, when trees lose their leaves, more sunlight will reach the home.
  • Europeans have known for years that tiled floors are cooler during the summer, and retain heat in the winter when exposed to sunlight. Tile are sought after by discerning buyers.