St Lucia’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty play a significant role in the island’s culture and economy. The island’s 2 major industries, tourism and agriculture, both depend on sustainable environmental practices. In 2004 the Pitons were inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their outstanding beauty and unique ecology. Environmental awareness is therefore a crucial part of life in St Lucia. Every human interaction with nature leaves behind an indelible fingerprint. When building a home in St Lucia you should be vigilant to minimize the impact on the environment. Here are 5 easy ways in which you can do so.Do not clear land indiscriminately. Before starting construction, consider how your home will impact the tree cover in the area. St Lucia is a heavily vegetated country. The prevalence and variety of trees is one of the things which makes the island unique. Save as many mature trees as possible. Incorporate existing foliage into the design and layout of your house. This ensures that the island remains green. Mature trees also add majesty and beauty, while keeping a property cool.Use renewable energy. Sunlight and wind are two of St Lucia’s most abundant natural resources. It is now possible to have one’s home completely powered by solar panels and wind turbines. Whether you use wind, solar or a combination of the two depends on the location of your home. For instance, home sites on the island’s east coast have a constant Atlantic breeze, and are well placed to utilize wind power. While solar or wind power will increase your construction costs, it will eliminate utility bills in the future. In St Lucia, electricity is the most costly utility and the savings will add up in the long run. Renewable energy also reduces the burning of fossil fuel and helps to keep the air clean while reducing the island’s carbon footprint.Harvest rain water. St Lucia has approximately 2000 mm of annual rainfall. Using drainage systems, it is easy to collect rainwater, which is stored in tanks or underground cisterns. This helps conserve the island’s public water supply. It also ensures that you have a backup if there are shortages after a hurricane.Maximize natural ventilation to minimize cooling costs. In St Lucia, air conditioning units are major culprits when it comes to high energy usage. Keeping your house naturally cool will significantly reduce your consumption of electricity. High ceilings, large windows, insulated roofs and cross ventilation are just a few ways in which your house can be designed to remain cool. Many homes in St Lucia are located on elevated hillsides where there is a constant breeze. A well ventilated house can eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the need for air conditioning. (Besides the practical benefits, high ceilings and large windows are great for admiring those amazing St Lucian vistas!)Grow a kitchen garden. Gardens flourish in St Lucia’s rich, volcanic soil and tropical weather. It is common for backyards to be laden with tropical foods such as mangoes, guavas, dasheen or breadfruit. Eat your own organic, delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs grown right in your back yard! Once you’ve gotten your garden started it’s easy to maintain. The prevalence of backyard gardening helps ensure the island’s food security and preserves the indigenous foliage. The rewards are delicious and good for both you and the environment!These are just a handful of ways to live a nature friendly lifestyle if you have decided to buy St Lucia real estate. The island is loved for its lush, green beauty. Everyone in the country must play their part to maintain this. Cautious real estate development can enhance rather than diminish the island’s natural environment. Energy efficiency is also a great investment as it will make your home more appealing to buyers should you ever decide to sell.
House hunting is more than just finding a house you like. There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for real estate to make sure you choose the right house for you and your family. Buying a house is a huge investment and you don’t want to regret your choice. Here are some questions to ask as you walk through each prospective home:* Is it big enough? This is basic-are there enough rooms for now and for you to grow? Make sure the rooms and your living areas are big enough as well.* Is the lot big enough or too big? If you have kids and pets, a nice sized back yard is important. But, if you are not a fan of yard work, you want to make sure the lot is not bigger than you are willing to maintain. It may be a great house, but if aren’t going to maintain the landscaping, the investment doesn’t make sense.* Does the layout make sense? Some people like to get cute with the design of their house and it makes sense to them, but not to others. What’s that wall for and what in the world can you do with this tiny room? You need to make sure you can work with the space inside and utilize as much of it as you can.* Can you see your stuff in the house? This works best in an empty house, but visual your furniture in each room. Will your things fit? For instance, you don’t want your king size bed to take up all the space in the master bedroom.* Is the location desirable? If you have children, you need to know what school district the house is in. Find out how long the commute is for you to get to work. Are you going to spend a lot of time in the car?If the home is near a body of water or at a low elevation, are you going to have to worry about flooding? This can increase your insurance rates a significant amount. On the other hand, being close to a fire station is good for your rates. Think about the places you like to frequent. Will you have to travel far to get to them?* Can you afford it? Think about the future as well. Maybe you can afford the home right now, but do you have job security? You need to make sure you can still afford the payments in case your situation changes. Also, you need to understand the terms of your mortgage. Is it a fixed rate or variable meaning your payments can go up in the future? Just because you can afford the teaser rate payment doesn’t mean you can afford future payments.* How long will you be in it? When you buy real estate, you may think the last thing you should think about is selling it, but you should. A home’s resale value is important if you aren’t going to stay in it forever or if you want to get a line of credit to fix it up. Consider these factors while shopping and you should get a piece of real estate that you can be happy with for years to come.