Green real estate includes things like alternate energy sources, energy-efficient appliances and even things like better insulation to conserve energy. New “green” homes are built with environmentally-friendly building materials, and may be built in areas that make the homes themselves more efficient. For example, a “green” home may be built into the side of a hill to conserve energy and maximize insulating properties.Green property isn’t just for environmentally-conscious individuals. Eco-friendly real estate has practical benefits for homeowners. For example, if your property includes energy-efficient appliances and low-flow plumbing fixtures, you can save substantial costs on utility and water bills every month. If you’ve got an alternate energy source, you can use less electricity, thus lowering your energy bills. Some alternate energy sources also generate excess electricity that you can “sell back” to the utility company, in the form of a credit on your bill for electricity that you do use.The government is getting on board with “green” housing, too. When you invest in some alternate energy sources, the government offers tax credits and write-offs that can cover a portion of the cost or the entire cost for your alternate energy sources.For example, through the end of December 2010, you may qualify for “Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency” to offset the costs of installing energy efficient doors, windows, insulation, heating and cooling. Solar energy systems may qualify for a 30% tax credit if installed before December 2016. For detailed information on tax credits, check with the U.S. Department of Energy.Being “green” isn’t inconvenient and something to consider just to be a “good citizen.” Going green with your property also has real financial benefits, in addition to being good for the environment. If you’re considering buying a home, look for homes with some green features to offset your living expenses and housing costs. If you’re selling a home, think about installing energy-efficient appliances or switching to “green” building materials. It’s a great selling point, and you can get tax credits for some of those improvements!