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Making the most of natural resources always makes sense. Today, with high energy, building material and other costs on the rise, green building – or green re-modeling – can have a significant positive impact on your household’s bottom line.
Energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable housing and home improvements are gaining momentum in the marketplace. From hybrid vehicles to reusable grocery bags, green is more than an emerging trend; it is a new reality.
The “Green” building movement is a reaction to the past indiscretion of humans having been less than conservative in consuming natural resources. This paradigm shift contemplates the negative impacts we have on the planet and rectifies these actions through smart development and restoration of the place we call home. These green concepts often save consumers money over time – and that is certainly an added benefit!
What is green building?
Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal (from Wikipedia.com).
Home improvements as small as changing light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent and installing a rainwater collector to mounting solar panels and upgrading to high-efficiency windows all make your home greener.
Why is it growing?
With the talk of global warming and other economic factors at play, many people are realizing that they need to focus on saving the earth’s resources. While building green might necessitate some degree of financial investment, dollars spent upfront will save the homeowner in the future.
Green for Buyers & Sellers
Homebuyers and sellers can make a huge impact on the success of the green movement and save money at the same time. Choosing to adhere to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is a great way to start. The LEED system was developed by the U.S Green Building Council with the intent of providing guidance and education to consumers who want to make a difference. LEED homes have lower energy and water bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fewer problems with mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. To learn how to get started, follow the LEED
Existing homeowners can get in on the act by choosing to think green when remodeling their home as well as changing day-to-day habits that impact the environment and waste energy. The Green Building Council offers “45 ways to green the not-so-new house” and other helpful tips for owners.
- Smart Growth Initiatives
- Beverly’s affordable housing green initiative
- Salem’s living green & renewable energy fair
- Haverhill’s largest housing development accomplished through “smart growth”
- Residential Energy Programs (MA)
- Incentives for renewables and efficiency (MA)
- NESEA Information about green building
- NAR green building
- Field Guide to Commercial Green Buildings
- National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Program
- Energy Star
- The Green Home Guide from the U.S. Green Building Council
- Energy Guide
Be a “Green” REALTOR®
A recent NAR survey shows that forty percent of REALTORS® reported that green building is important to their business and clients. This trend is likely to continue and become even more relevant as energy costs escalate and public awareness of global warming increases. The NAR has published a “Field Guide to Green Homes & Green Mortgages” which provides resources for those looking to increase their knowledge on the topic.
Green mortgages are not new but have been attracting more attention lately. Most lenders who offer these products have increased their benefit by including discounted closing costs along with higher qualifying ratios.
NAR is also launching a new “Green Designation” course that is being offered for the first time in Orlando.
We as REALTORS® can contribute to the green movement by supporting initiatives that conserve open space through smart-growth subdivisions or “Open Space Residential Design”. For example, The Green Neighborhoods Alliance was honored in 2004 with the Environment Merit Award from the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency for it’s work in Wenham.