How does a real estate professional become green?
Real estate professionals can take several approaches to green the service they provide and reflect those efforts in their marketing.
Integral to any of these strategies is walking one’s green talk. Homebuyers, sellers and the public in general are increasingly aware of green issues and are coming to expect products and services labeled “green” to have integrity. The consuming public’s interest in green is as varied as the spectrum of light to dark green services and products offered to them. See the greener clients and green defined pages for more information.
Evidence for Going Green
As the number of homeowners and buyers interested in a greener lifestyle increases, so does the green building market. A US study by McGraw-Hill Construction suggests “true” green homes—which the report defined as containing a specific green building element in at least three of five categories (energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water efficiency, resource efficiency and site management) will be worth $60 billion by 2010 up from $2 billion in 2005.
Interest in homeowners greening their existing homes are substantiated by suggestions that the American green home remodeling market is expected to increase from $120 billion in 2005 to over $200 billion in 2010.
The same study suggests the biggest obstacles to purchasing a greener home are:
As established communicators with the general public about housing, property, and lifestyle choices, real estate professionals have an opportunity to enhance their service to this growing market by addressing these obstacles:
Real estate professionals can green their services by becoming certified by one of the many designations available. The British Columbia Real Estate Association doesn’t recognize or endorse any designation.
The EcoBroker Certified® Designation’s (US) core curriculum offers energy, environmental, and green strategies and tools for real estate professionals. In order to earn the EcoBroker Designation®, licensed real estate agents must fulfill a set of requirements including their energy, environmental, and marketing training program.
The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers is a registered non-profit organization offering a GreenRealestate™ program leading to the Accredited Green Agent™ and Accredited Green Broker™ designations. These designations are only awarded to those who meet the association’s requirements, such as required green building courses and involvement and service to the association.
Earth Advantage (US), an Oregon certifier of green homes now offers Sustainability Training for Accredited Real Estate Professionals (S.T.A.R.) Certification. The program’s goal is to equip REALTORS® with the necessary knowledge and tools to educate their clients on products, features, building methods and values that make homes energy efficient, healthy and green.
More than 3,000 people have become LEED® Accredited Professionals (LEED APs) in Canada since 2001. LEED APs work in every sector of the building industry, and have to demonstrate a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles, and familiarity with LEED requirements, resources and processes.
Work Space – Company and home offices offer plenty of opportunities for greening. As with most of these sorts of transitions, reduction and conservation are the best places to start. Once systems are in place to minimize the amount of material or energy needed, it’s time to source environmentally friendly products, (used) equipment and processes.
Transportation – The real estate industry has a long history with personal vehicles. Professionals of all sorts are now choosing to make a green statement with their personal mobility choices by opting for optically more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrids. Some REALTORS® have traded in their SUVs for bus passes and memberships in the local car co-op (for example, the non-profit Co-operative Auto Network), while others have hopped on their bicycles.
More information on operations and lifestyle is available from Light House Sustainable Building Centre.
Green Team – Finding and associating with complementary professionals who share your philosophy or marketing focus can be effective.
Specialize – Some real estate professionals use their related green interest or skills, such as alternative energy, energy efficiency or natural building, as a niche marketing angle. Networking with potential clients with similar interests and values can leverage this niche approach or one can choose to only represent certain types of products.
Volunteering – An old marketing favourite and still relevant. By volunteering with an organization related to your niche interests, you build credibility, knowledge and can potentially engage with your targeted green market.
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