When buying a home, it's not always easy being green

Homebuyers, businesses, and residential and commercial tenants are all showing interest in "green" buildings these days – those designed to save energy, use sustainable materials and have less of an impact on the environment.

Many buyers and renters are willing to pay a little more for a green building – especially if they can recoup their money through energy savings.

Green features can include:

• Energy-efficient appliances.

• Extra insulation to reduce heating costs.

• Solar panels or shingles.

• Thicker or double-pane windows, or windows with a metallic coating to block the sun's heat.

• A rainwater-capture system.

• Low-flow toilets.

• Building materials that are recycled,or are produced locally to reduce transport costs.

greenhouse-1If you're serious about going green, think carefully about the legal aspects. You'll want to make sure the building really is as green as it claims, and that you get what you pay for. You should include the details of any specific promises about materials or energy savings in any contract with a seller or builder.