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Culture » Take Me Home

Green is the New Black

Sustainability is trending in all seasons

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"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - Buckminster Fuller

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As parents to young children, as well as realtors and community members, we're thankful that green building is now a trend growing in popularity—and without a doubt will establish a new standard of "normal." Most people understand the urgent need to respond to climate change and to counteract the fact that humans are using more resources than the Earth can adequately provide. People are creating change by using their loudest voice of all, speaking with their mighty dollar and where they choose to spend it. Home buyers are becoming savvy, looking for essentials in their next home: A healthier and more energy efficient model. The classic economic system has proven that when the consumers speak (demand), the manufacturers (supply) listen and provide the new product. Realtors play an important role in this supply chain. We're the connecting point between the homebuyers and the builders, so it's a really good thing when we're listening, too.

In March 2019 the National Association of Realtors surveyed its members about sustainability issues. It turns out that 69% said "energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable." On a local level, the Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service has a "green data" field among its search criteria, making it easier to sell or to find green homes on the market. On the Central Oregon Builders Association Tour of Homes coming up in mid-July, 50% of the homes will be Earth Advantage Certified. This is an increase from any previous years. In another recent article, we mentioned how Earth Advantage provides third-party certification to ensure green building standards and practices are being met. The certification levels are based on how well the home scores, utilizing a long list of criteria, including, but not limited to, home energy usage, indoor air quality, water usage, walkability or bikeablity, low-water use landscaping, home site preparation and materials used.

Let's talk dollars and sense. Not only do these green homes have cleaner indoor air quality, promoting better overall health, they're built to a higher standard of quality, requiring less overall maintenance and upkeep during their lifetimes. With increasing home prices, lower monthly utility costs become very attractive. Combining lower operating costs with the increased savings from lower energy and water usage, the total cost of ownership for a green-built home is actually less than a conventionally built home. If you believe you can't afford this type of home, consider purchasing a slightly smaller home to save on overall costs. Green homes are highly sought after, have higher new and resale value and are selling faster than conventionally built homes in the same locations.

Green building has been a part of the housing industry for years; however, the buzz is growing in volume and can no longer be ignored by consumers, realtors or builders.

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