10 most environmentally friendly countries for an expat home

Living an eco-friendly life is easier, I think most people would agree, in an eco-friendly country (or at least one that appears to be). The tricky part is finding out how eco-friendly a country is. Here are two tools to help you work it all out…


A truly eco home, no matter where it is in the world, will be made with carbon neutral or sustainable products. It will have an excellent energy performance rating and will be full of energy efficient household goods and products. Those three elements will reduce the energy footprint of the house so that its overall consumption will be as close to carbon neutral as possible.

A country comparison tool

There’s no question that some countries make it easier to find an eco home than others. If you are at the very beginning of a property search, and you haven’t yet chosen a country to start your expat life, the EPI Country Comparison tool may be helpful. It allows users to see how “green” countries are relative to one another. This country comparison is produced annually by Yale University’s Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

The overall EPI rankings indicate which countries are doing best against an array of environmental pressures that every nation faces. The Index ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality: Air Quality; Water Quality; Heavy Metals; Biodiversity; Forests; Fisheries; Climate & Energy; Air Pollution; Water Resources; Agriculture.

The EPI’s 10 most environmentally friendly countries for an expat home

Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland
Looking at the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

A Sustainability Index

Another source of information for expats looking for eco-friendly locations is the World Energy Council’s (WEC) Energy Sustainability Index, which provides the world’s most comprehensive ranking of 129 countries’ energy policies and evaluates how well those countries balance the three conflicting agendas involved in achieving energy sustainability, what the World Energy Council has called the ‘energy trilemma’ – energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.

The WEC has an interesting interactive tool that allows users to select a country and then see a graphical review of all that country’s energy issues.

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