Published on August 6, 2021

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Photography by Nikole Ramsay

If you are currently house hunting, you’ve likely got a list of all your key criteria. Moving in with your furry pal? You’ll need a spacious yard and a mudroom. Or maybe you’re a wiz in the kitchen and prefer to invest in top-notch appliances. Your lifestyle and interests should definitely impact your checklist, but another factor plays a secret role: your age. A new report from Opendoor found that, when asked about their most coveted home features, people’s answers varied depending on their generation. It turns out millennials and Gen-Z aren’t on the same page about one huge thing: eco-friendly features.

While 26 percent of millennials say they prioritize environmentally friendly features in a new home, only 11 percent of Gen-Z ranked this factor as a must-have. That’s a huge surprise coming from a generation seemingly full of climate-change activists. Luckily they still have time to catch up. We’ve rounded up some easy ways to create a sustainable home.  

Go for Low (or No) VOC Paint

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are commonly found in paint and can be harmful to your health and the environment, but fortunately there are companies out there (like Clare) making options that are free of the harsh chemicals, so you don’t have to sacrifice your dream wall color. 

Look to the Past for Cool Texture

Not only is reclaimed wood a great budget-friendly alternative to shiny new oak, but it is also the best way to show some love for the planet. Harvesting virgin wood from forests has a huge impact on the environment; turning to preloved wood might be the solution for your next construction project. Planing down old wood still achieves a buttery, character-filled look without it skewing too rustic.

Turn to LED Lighting

LED lights last longer compared to conventional bulbs and save more energy, too, which means your electric bill will be thanking you later. They also don’t contain any toxic chemicals, like mercury, which isn’t true of fluorescent bulbs. It’s good for your health, the environment, and your wallet—what’s not to love, Gen-Z?

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