Real estate agents are better able to market real property in the United States when their communities have the best quality of life. Of great importance are clean air and water, safe neighborhoods, and proximity to jobs, needed services, and recreational space. Meeting buyers’ desires now includes offering green buildings, energy efficient homes that fight climate change and save on utility bills.
These increasing desires are substantiated by home buyer studies and survey results:
- 88 percent highly value green features in a home. Heating and cooling cost rated most important; close were energy efficient appliances and lighting.
- 86 percent of Americans say they would choose a home based on energy efficiency.
- 78 percent of new buyers say energy efficiency was not discussed when they were sold their homes.
- 66 percent look for green homes aware of the link between them and healthy living and cost savings.
- 63 percent say they have experienced increasing energy prices to the point where they would consider changing their habits.
- 62 percent want energy efficient dwellings.
Eco Broker® was the first to offer a green designation to real estate licensees for better marketing of energy efficient properties and assisting buyers in finding them. Founded in 2002 by John Beldock, former director of environmental analysis for the United States Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, it now has over 6,000 members in all fifty states.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) developed a green designation program for real estate agents of advanced training and certification in advising buyers on making the most eco-friendly purchases. The required courses can be obtained online at REALTOR® University or live courses are offered around the states. Apply for the NAR Green Designation after checking the website to be sure all program requirements have been met.
Designation includes membership in the Green REsource Council which “provides the latest information, authoritative research, resources, a searchable referral network, marketing tools, consumer awareness campaigns, and much more,” plus webinars, customizable downloadable marketing tools, access to the monthly e-Newsletter, The REsource, inclusion in the online searchable profile for your Green designation on GreenREsourceCouncil.org., and “GREEN” with your name on REALTOR.org and REALTOR.com. See the detailed list of designation member benefits on the website. The NAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. is green built and an “Energy Savers” brochure for consumers on how to reduce energy use and save money was developed with the Department of Energy to offer to the public.
The Federal Environmental Executives office defines green building, also known as sustainable or environmental building, as “increasing the efficiency with which structures and their sites use energy, water, and materials; and reducing the impact on human health and the environment through better locating of our buildings, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and waste removal through the complete building life cycle.”
Green real estate professionals are aware that energy efficiency adds value to property, reduces electric usage, keeps energy costs lower and helps stimulate the building, remodeling, and renovation job market. An NAR homebuyer survey reported that those who ranked energy efficiency as “very important” bought homes with a median price $12,400 higher than those ranking it “somewhat” or “not important.” Average residential values were also 42 percent better on properties located near public transportation with high-frequency service during the last recession.
Watch the video for the ten best cities for green homes.