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.
Is there a Green Mortgage?
Yes! Unfortunately, only 3 lenders currently offer this new kind of loan, with less than 25% of mortgage brokers aware that green mortgages even exist. The borrower won’t have to pay for this new incentive, as the lenders are starting to offer more competitive rates. Title companies are starting to offer a donation on settlement statements to environmentally friendly organizations. Green mortgages are becoming a new trend as our world becomes more aware of its changing environment.
Finding a Green Home
Where can you find a brand new Green Home? Simply take a look around Western North Carolina. It has everything from green built real estate developments to energy efficient condos in downtown Asheville. There are also eco-friendly real estate developments outside of Asheville in small towns like Black Mountain, Marshall and Leicester, NC.
Or, if trying to stay locally in your area, ask your real estate agent for information on green builders.
Green homes incorporate intelligent design, the latest green technology, construction and maintenance elements to help drastically reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve the living conditions on the inside of the home. Less allergies, asthma and mold problems. The options are limitless!
Reaping the Rewards
Owning a Green Home can certainly be rewarding in the long run.
Check out Energy Star for more information about keeping your home green. Their many tips point out which energy is being wasted and where and how to avoid it. The on line site offers great advice on how to live green and how to continue to build green.
Also, The government offers great incentives and rebates for green homeowners. Did we mention Tax Breaks? Even utility companies now offer Wind Power to make an even smaller environmental footprint.