Question: Who thinks the new world of green building and "going green" has the capacity to rescue today's real estate market?
Answer: Anyone who manufactures, sells, processes and represents any products or systems that use renewable energy for their main source of power. Add to this any service or business dedicated to creating a better living space for the occupants of our built environment, whether it be residential or commercial.
Today, even as we are seeing many lose their homes, or "going under" because of slowing sales in the real estate sector, there is a quiet revolution happening for all to join in and prosper from. The new world of "going green" is creating as much opportunity as the historic gold rushes.
We consumers are smart today. You cannot simply sell us any home. It has to produce better and more lasting results for lower utility bills in the near future. It must be better for our living environment. A property must not only meet our needs, but more and more consumers are demanding that they exceed those needs.
We used to move every 5 to 7 years. But experience makes me feel that consumers want to stay longer. The home they buy or rent must be healthier.
Similarly, to keep employees happy and coming back, our workplaces must offer more. Our lifestyles are changing, and this is reflected in our ideas of home purchase, or when corporations decide to move their offices or build branch visibility.
Today we know that green buildings boast documented higher productivity and lower absenteeism rates, which follows from the healthier materials used. Many more people are beginning to accept the fact that first costs are not the only factor to consider when building or renovating. It is the life of the structure that is being considered.
And so I encourage everyone to join the new revolution. Begin to care about your carbon footprint and make a difference for your clients and customers. As consumers, begin to look at the long-term value of the renovations you invest in. In the long run, you will see a difference in your bottom line.
Kerry Mitchell is the founder and course developer of Green Real Estate Education, which is on target to educate more than 20,000 real estate professionals in going green by 2009. Mitchell established the recognized certification for the real estate industry, the GCREP.GL. She worked for 14 years as a licensed real estate broker in Maryland and Florida, where she now resides.
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