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10 June 2008

From Micro to Macro, Green Real Estate Offices Can Make a Difference

Posted by Kevin Doell

Trite but true, “all real estate is local.” Yet, the parts make up the whole, and when you put all those parts together, you arrive at the “big picture.” Analogous to this is that all environment is local, too. In countless villages, towns and cities, individual activity affects the local environment in ways that result in a significant collective impact on a global scale.

As ambassadors for the homeowner, real estate professionals have the perfect platform to deliver value by educating the consumer on ways they can green up the home to save money while improving the home’s environmental footprint.

After the automobile, homes are the next best opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet. According to David Bach’s “Go Green, Live Rich,” our homes account for more than 20 percent of the national energy demand and produce more than 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The average home actually emits twice as much CO2 as the average car.

A little education can go a long way:
Energy audits can identify ways to reduce utility bills by 30 percent.
EnergyStar appliances can reduce operational costs by a third.
• A $70 programmable thermostat can save a homeowner up to $150 a year.
CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights and last up to 10 times longer.
• The right landscaping can reduce utility bills by $150 – $250 a year.
• Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) can enable buyers to take out bigger loans to buy greener homes.

These factoids represent just a smattering of the kind of information that can be relayed to the homebuyer or home seller in order to move the environmental impact needle. It all adds up. Five million residential sales a year, along with nearly a million new home sales, make for six million opportunities for real estate pros to demonstrate their value and knowledge for the benefit of the homeowner and the environment.

With such a great match between our industry and the environmental movement, it’s the perfect opportunity to take the micro and make it a macro.

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