Are Your Riding the Latest Building Trend Track?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK 209970

                                                                                                       Just the other day, an old-timer in the building industry, known for his no-nonsense ways took me aside. "So WHAT if the  Green Building Council says that  LEED-certified buildings are leading the transformation of the built environment," he said. "So what if they  have  lower operating costs, and tax rebates, zoning allowances, and other incentives ! What does that mean to me? "        "Well, Mr. Jones," I replied, "When I put my 'green' glasses on and look down the 'trend tracks'...and I say this knowing that  you currently may not align yourself with green building issues... chances are high that you will be meeting up with a demand by your customers who are hopping on board with the trend . Do you think it might be timely for you to capitalize on your potential to be an ‘industry innovator'?" 

So, I have been thinking about this a good bit lately . Come to think of it, from any number of perspectives...as a REALTOR®, investor, or  stake-holder, now could be the perfect moment to ride the rails into the future.  Certainly, everyone could expect a positive outcome. At the very least, what a pleasant way to  attract and enjoy new business opportunities.   And here's what. There are about as many shades of green as you see in the early light on an Appalachian mountainside. And our levels of attraction, commitment and motivation are unique to each of us. ...For example,   When you evaluate a home, do you ask yourself, "How many miles per gallon does this home get?" ? How about energy resources? Durability? Low impact on nature? Health for you, your employees, your family?    As AR member William Robbins remarked in his piece on Ways I Am Trying to be Green " I am no 'tree hugger' and I am not claiming to be the most energy efficient individual, but I am working on it....I am getting educated and passing info along to home owners and friends...from Energy Star appliances, Low VOC Paint, renewable resource building products like Bamboo Flooring, etc.

I am wondering if  home buyers and investors find certain "green" attributes have more appeal than others....More and more these days, they're concerned about a certain "green" issue (indoor air quality, for example). Just for the record, I've found.( in the Greater Asheville market) that my clients gravitate to whole house ventilation and low-VOC paint. They love the tax advantages and energy efficiency features, too. They love knowing that their grandkids are in a non-toxic environment.

 

 

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Rainer
11,159
Corey Atherton
Suncadia Real Estate Sales Company - Cle Elum, WA

Another great topic, JaneAnne.  We need more green builders that are willing to get outside of the city limits and build for clients in conservation developments in the outlying areas.  There is certainly a demand for builders educated in energy efficiency and green building to build homes in private mountain communities promoting conservation.  It seems an obvious marriage of eco conscious buyer and "green" contractor. 

Jan 17, 2007 07:40 AM #13
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Hi Corey...EXACTLY...and I can think of  of a "private mountain communities promoting conservation"...that entrances me each time I visit and leaves my clients smiling...In case you hadn't guessed, that would be Creston Preserve...

Tell us a bit more about your comment that such communities seem " an obvious marriage of eco conscious buyer and "green" contractor." 

Jan 17, 2007 07:47 AM #14
Rainer
11,159
Corey Atherton
Suncadia Real Estate Sales Company - Cle Elum, WA
Thanks, JaneAnne.  My clients that have purchased homesites in the Creston Community have come from all over the country, all age groups and all sorts of professions, backgrounds and nationalities.  However, they all have a common bond that draws them to a place like Creston with it's conservation easements, hiking trails, privacy and thoughtful architectural guidelines.  There is a strong desire in our property owners to embrace and blend in with the natural beauty of Western NC and not to destroy the very thing that attracted them to this area in the first place.  There's no doubt a wonderful trend towards conservation communities and green building especially among the much sought after baby boomer market.  I only hope more developers, realtors and builders are educated of this trend and not be afraid to adventure outside of their comfort zones and leave behind the golf course communities, enormous "McMansions", etc.
Jan 17, 2007 08:06 AM #15
Rainer
100,192
Kaushik Sirkar
Call Realty, Inc. - Chandler, AZ
Green is becoming more and more important in our society!  Be it cars or homes.  There is only a finite amount of natural resources out there, so....
Jan 17, 2007 10:08 AM #16
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Corey...You bring up an excellent point! You say, " There's no doubt a wonderful trend towards conservation communities and green building especially among the much sought after baby boomer market." Do you have any thoughts on that and/or  are you seeing it at Creston?
Jan 17, 2007 12:14 PM #17
Ambassador
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Kaushik..really good point that seems to fly right by a number of consumers...as you say, there is a " finite amount of natural resources..."   As REALTORS we are in the inviable position of being able to educate our clients about the benefits for them in the "green" market.
Jan 17, 2007 12:16 PM #18
Rainer
2,652
Sami Forrest
Eco-Steward Realty - Asheville, NC

janeAnne

Having lived in Los Angeles and Patagonia--I have observed the increase in awareness of and demand for more eco-friendly, health enhancing, sustainable homes. Here is Asheville there are even some"affordable" homes as well as higher end homes incorporating 'green' features.

I am in the Construction Management program at AB Tech and there is a department now building a modular home which meets the "Healthy Built Home" standard for North Carolina. I will gather more information about it and let you know what I learn. 

Jan 19, 2007 01:32 AM #19
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Sami...Thanks for your news about a modular home which meets the "Healthy Built Home" standard ..and look for my upcoming blog on another modular home that willknock your socks off! YAY!
Jan 19, 2007 12:04 PM #20
Rainer
5,720
Arlene Brown
Eco Steward Realty - Asheville, NC
I am wondering how you see ... a REALTOR as a stake-holder
Jan 21, 2007 06:25 AM #21
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Arlene..This could be a whole BLOG! Just let me say that we are in an enviable position to create possibilities for ourselves and others and this can benefit the community and the larger community as well.
Jan 22, 2007 03:03 AM #22
Anonymous
John Thomas
janeAnne. We are looking at 1031 investment properties. We want to think ahead to what will attract home buyers in the future, so we are interested in certain green features like energy saving appliances. That would be number one on out list. If we were buying for personal use, we'd go for radiant floor heat, bamboo floors, and low voc paints, too. What are your clients asking for the most?
Jan 23, 2007 06:36 AM #23
Rainer
2,652
Sami Forrest
Eco-Steward Realty - Asheville, NC

janeAnne

Since we are becoming ever more aware of the toxins in our environment there is no doubt in my mind that incresing numbers of homeowners will ask for their homes to be built with safer materials. One has only to think of the "canary in the cage" that miners would take into the mines with them. The increase in childhood illnesses such as asthma has  been linked to environmental exposures to certain materials that are used in construction. Also the problem of exposure to lead based paints. Although the lead has been removed for many years people are still discovering high levels of lead still in their bodies. It would be comforting to know that we are safe in our own homes due to the use of non-toxic building materials.

Jan 24, 2007 07:47 AM #24
Ambassador
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Sami...You bring up an excellent point. It is the silent invaders who may cause the most harm.
Jan 29, 2007 03:11 PM #25
Rainer
2,652
Sami Forrest
Eco-Steward Realty - Asheville, NC
janeAnne and Allison  I like the comment about "environmentally friendly" products becoming more "consumer friendly" in price. This is definitely an issue in larger numbers of people changing how they choose to live. One of the magazines I read regularly had many articles about building new 'green' homes. After surveying their readers the magazine heard that most of them were not in the market to build a new home but needed information on how to make the homes they live in more 'green'.
Feb 02, 2007 12:14 AM #26
Rainer
2,652
Sami Forrest
Eco-Steward Realty - Asheville, NC

janeAnne  I enjoyed your comment that "we are in an enviable position to create possibilities for ourselves and others and this can benefit the community and the larger community as well."  Living in Southern California in Topanga Canyon and watching sunsets over the Pacific as I drove home on PCH was always incredible to me. I didn't understand why everyone didn't want to live there. Through interesting circumstances I find myself living in the mountains of North Carolina and loving the beauty of my surroundings.

I am a member of the Asheville Board of Realtors and our legislative committee has discussed this topic. Many of us moved here to enjoy the region's beauty and we are in the business of helping people purchase or sell their properties. However we are aware that unless we protect this wonderful legacy that nature has provided there will be less and less reason for people to be drawn to live here.

Feb 02, 2007 01:04 AM #27
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Sami...Good point you make: "unless we protect this wonderful legacy that nature has provided there will be less and less reason for people to be drawn to live here. .." ...and to create a win-win-win situation, we really need to pay attention to our viewsheds and open spaces and waterfalls...as well as each other. Sustainable communities don't just happen, as you imply.
Feb 07, 2007 11:42 AM #28
Anonymous
John Tomas
As you know, I try to read your BLOG every week. Here is yet another reason why. You said, When you evaluate a home, do you ask yourself, "How many miles per gallon does this home get?" ? How about energy resources? Durability? Low impact on nature? Health for you, your employees, your family?  I had never thought of that. Now I will have more thinking to do.
Feb 09, 2007 05:37 AM #29
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Durability is one of my favorite topics, John. Let's look at an ECO-wise builder, for example. When a builder uses durable materials those materials will not have to be replaced for many years. They will not negatively impact other systems and components.  I am just not a fan of short-lived or disposable materials, they will waste both money and resources. One of the cautions I offer my clients who are investing in new construction is to ascertain if materials are properly installed. If  so, they can perform to their full potential. One of my trusted builders told me, " Construction details that prevent moisture and air infiltration and insect or weather damage can be the key to the longevity of a dwelling."

The  Blue Sky Foundation of North Carolina  promotes safer construction, wise land use, disaster mitigation and sustainable development and could be a  good resource for you.

Feb 09, 2007 12:16 PM #30
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John~

Thanks for your comment. It is nice to know that my BLOG has given you (and hopefully other readers) something to think about that is of value to them.

Dec 06, 2007 02:58 AM #31
Rainmaker
325,572
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

janeAnne,

This old-timer builder still seems to doubt the green building momentum. It's still in its early stages, but it definitely is gathering steam and is going to be elemental for builders to embrace in the next few years, or else.

Dec 08, 2007 03:59 PM #32
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