With Earth Day being this week on Wednesday sustainability is top of mind for many. At one time a niche, sustainable practices are now being demanded by consumers, with 81% of the global consumers believing it is important for a company to have an objective of improving the environment according to Forbes. Home buyers are becoming increasingly aware of green alternatives and an influx in energy-efficient housing and eco-friendly materials is likely to be seen. So what does this mean for realtors? Having knowledge in the sustainable real estate landscape is beneficial now more than ever, and there are multiple tools to get you started.
Know Your Terminology
Being able to speak to sustainable practices is one of the first steps in becoming a more eco-friendly realtor. We’ve put together a glossary of terms to help get you started. An additional list of terms can be found here.
1. Sustainable: Meeting the needs of the present without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability also means that human practices do not result in the permanent damage, alteration or depletion of the environment, ecosystems, species or natural resources.
2. Energy-Efficient: Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating energy waste.
3. Carbon Emissions: Polluting carbon substances released into atmosphere: carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide produced by motor vehicles and industrial processes and forming pollutants in the atmosphere
4. Carbon Footprint: A carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon dioxide is produced to support your lifestyle. Essentially, it measures your impact on the climate based on how much carbon dioxide you produce. Factors that contribute to your carbon footprint include your travel methods and general home energy usage. Carbon footprints can also be applied on a larger scale, to companies, businesses, even countries.
5. Recycling: Collecting and reprocessing a resource so it can be used again. An example is collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products.
Understand the Mission
The National Association of Realtors is a great resource f0r all things sustainable realty and created an entire program for it in 2017 due to high demand in the industry. Their Sustainability Program highlights their goal to become a leader in the sustainability field for agents & brokers with a focus on educating and replicating.The end goal being to eliminate real estate’s carbon footprint & overall waste.
Take the Courses
Education is power when it comes to being a sustainable realtor. The NAR offers two different courses including,
- Course 1: The Resource-Efficient Home – Retrofits, Remodels, Renovations, and New Home Construction
- Course 2: Representing Buyers & Sellers of Resource-Efficient Homes
On top of courses, the NAR also offers a Sustainability Summit once a year with the goal of exploring sustainable progress in real estate. This years summit will be two days from July 29-30 with a TBD location. You can find all that the summit will entail here. The Institute of Real Estate Management also offers books & courses to help you become a more sustainable realtor.
Become ‘Green Realtor’ Certified
Becoming an NAR ‘Green Realtor’ means you are able to do a few different tasks,
- Identify if a home is able to be ‘zero energy ready’ – or if the lot you are considering can be transitioned into a zero energy home.
- Help identify sustainable resources including appraisers, inspectors, etc.
- Knowledgable of water conservation
- Knowledge of sustainable and eco-friendly remodeling practices
To become a Green Realtor with the NAR you must first complete the two courses mentioned above, score over an 80% on their exam measuring your sustainable knowledge, and pay a one time $170 application fee. All information on becoming a Green Realtor can be found here.