The green building trend that has taken hold across the US in the past few years, and is surprisingly evolving toward a whole new level. Whereas before when there were only a few green real estate developments, today this trend in sustainable development has expanded to whole communities and neighborhoods as well.
The west coast city of Portland has been well known as an urban-design innovator, particularly for its transit-oriented developments, and is noted to be among the pioneers of green building and design.
Single-Family Home Builders Are Now Joining The Trend
The basic tenets behind green building- energy and water-efficient buildings that have features that stress the natural over the chemical, the recycled over the new and the renewable over the finite- have now become firmly mainstream.
According to environmental and real estate consultants, big developers today are slow to move, but they still see a using eco-friendly designs and materials green building. Even in the suburbs, which are home to large-scale builders of single-family homes, there is a lot more consumer interest swelling. In a McGraw-Hill Construction survey done in March of 2006, it forecasted that green building would reach a “tipping point” in 2007 and that two-thirds of US builders will be constructing greener homes.
Why Home Builders See The Need To Go Green
Home builders and real estate developers and are not simply riding the green building trend purely out of a sense that it’s the right thing to do. The housing and development industry knows that they can’t afford to be left behind. By 2007, it is expected that at least 6% of the nation’s non-residential construction, which represents a $15 billion slice of the industry, will be green, according to green-building experts, as six years ago it was less than 1%. More real estate developers are finding that using green technologies and construction materials adds no more than 1%-2% to total costs, which area easily recovered through energy savings.
Offering Incentives For Developers To Go Green
At present, the federal government, 15 states and 46 cities now require new public buildings to fully comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), that requires the use of non-toxic building materials, among other things.
Four states and 17 cities now offer incentives for LEED-rated private buildings. The Green Building Council has certified nearly 550 buildings across the country since 2002, and recent real estate developments have adopted eco-friendly standards by creating greener multi-structure projects, such as South Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. The Green Building Council is also working on creating LEED standards for single-family homes as well.
The corporate world was the first to see the value of going green that are way beyond energy savings. Businesses and companies now notice less absenteeism among workers, less time lost to asthma, allergies and other illnesses aggravated by mold, stale air and chemicals found in many conventional buildings.
However, to large corporations like Ford, Bank of America, Target, Toyota, Honda, Starbucks,Adobe and others, going green also was about image-building as well as cleaning up the environment and cutting costs. Many corporate giants know are aware that aside from image-building, the products they make should also be green, along with their manufacturing processes and factories as well.
While you have been considering all sorts of characteristics of a city to move to, have you considered how the city sits on the green list? It is time to consider things like better air quality, renewable energy, certified green buildings, public parks, and superior recycling programs. If this sounds like a better life to you, take a look at a few of the characteristics found in the top five greenest cities.
Portland happens to be one of the greenest cites in America, and the community has a dedicated focus on making its city a great place to live. It is no wonder that the community is strong, as about half its energy comes from renewable sources. Many commuters in Portland bike to work, carpool or utilize public transportation, and the city has dozens of buildings that are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Portland has also set an urban growth boundary that protects 25 million acres of forest and farmland.
San Francisco, California
If you have ever considered moving to sunny California, you certainly would not be alone on that thought. And if you are coming from a place like New York City, San Francisco has everything from the city life to being a leader in protecting our environment. SF is also a leader in green building with many projects that are certified green.
Although not many people would have expect to see Boston on the top greenest cities list, they would probably be even more surprised to hear about its plans to open a power plant that would turn grass and leaves into methane gas.
There should be no surprise that Oakland would make this list, as it is a close neighbor to San Francisco. Oakland, however, is on the cutting edge by offering its commuters zero emission hydrogen powered busses.
The lake community in Burlington prides itself in not only being a green state, but also a leader in green technology. Over a third of its energy comes from renewable resources. You probably won’t find any other city in the United States that is so dedicated to sustainability, as most of its public schools have switched to organically grown foods and sustainability plays a part in the curricula at most public schools.
In 2007 issues like pollution, cancer and global warming are found on the American news every week. In the last five years these universal problems have been acknowledged and started to emerge in mainstream consciousness. Solutions such as renewable energy, green building and organic farming are now hot topics being talked about on TV, in newspapers and on the radio. In order to preserve the planet for future generations, it is essential that natural green building is embraced and eco homes and other green practices become the standard. One community that is leading the way is a beautiful city nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains: Asheville, North Carolina.
Working Together to Preserve Western North Carolina
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of WNC environmental concerns are a top priority. Preserving the natural environment of the mountains insures the health and safety of communities throughout the region. The city of Asheville, along with other counties and towns in WNC, like Black Mountain, recognizes that green space, green building and alternative resources are the wave of the future. Asheville is home to numerous green projects and initiatives. Blue Ridge BioFuels is an organization that has opened six biodiesel pumps at gas stations in the area. Blue Ridge BioFuels also supplies BioHeat for furnaces. Home delivery and competitive prices make it simple to begin using alternative fuels at home and on the road. Green building also plays a huge role in preserving local natural resources. Use of recycled construction materials, rainwater collection systems, and solar power all benefit the forests, animals and people.
The Possibilities Are Endless With Green Real Estate in Asheville, NC
In December of 2006 Asheville joined about fifty other municipalities across the country and passed a resolution stating that all new municipal buildings will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications. LEED is a nationally accepted green building rating system created by the U.S, Green Building Council, http://www.usgbc.org, and sets the standard for the design, construction and maintenance of energy efficient homes and buildings. Asheville is also home to the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC), http://www.wncgbc.org. WNCGBC educates local contractors and builders about the latest green building techniques and practices. WNCGBC also works with city, state and county officials to make eco-friendly recommendations for local building standards. In Asheville, NC homebuyers searching for eco houses or green home building projects have a variety of options from downtown apartments to eco-friendly, real estate developments.
Sustainable Green Building: Find the Perfect, Eco-Friendly Real Estate in Western North Carolina
In Asheville, NC many homeowners, architects and builders work diligently to follow eco-friendly building, design and maintenance plans. To complete a green building project specific topics must be addressed including:
- Sustainable Development
- Alternative Energy
- Energy Efficiency
- Green Building Materials
- Forest Preservation
- Renewable Resources
Whether you are searching for a green condo centrally located in downtown Asheville or an eco home in a private, gated community you can find the perfect green real estate in Western North Carolina. In the mountains it is simple to contribute and help preserve Asheville’s excellent quality of life for years to come.