With the talk of global warming and climate change dominating headlines these days, many industries, including the real estate sector, are contemplating on finding ways to reduce waste, pollution and improve profits at the same time.
The home building industry now has totally bought into the idea of green building, and a lot of reasons are in store for why they are rerouting themselves in this direction.
How Fast Should Building Green Go For The Real Estate Industry?
The major question these days is that, how quick should the industry adapt the concepts of “building green”, and when would it become the norm for all home developer decisions?
Since 2007, the industry has seen a 70% rise in total LEED registered and certified home building projects, on top of more than 50% cumulative growth in 2006. The reason is that, there have been major events or developments in the past two years, among them are the outpouring of concern over carbon dioxide emissions from energy use of all kinds, Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Price for An Inconvenient Truth, and the effects made by Hurricane Katrina and its exposure of the vulnerability of a major American city to natural forces.
With these events in mind, much of the public today is demanding action on climate change, in ways both small and significant. Because most major US businesses still know how to listen to the consumer, it realizes that a large part of its future success would surely come from reducing its carbon footprint, through initiating energy conservation programs and greening new buildings.
Potential Benefits For Home Builders Who Go Green
For home developers who would embrace the concepts of green building, there are a lot of potential benefits that would await them. Among the positive aspects of going green are:
- The Demand is Present.
Many commercial office tenants are realizing the business case for productivity and health in LEED-certified buildings, and are looking at options that offer superior daylighting and indoor air quality. A previous survey on businesses found out that the levels of employee satisfaction with their working conditions showed greater increases when they ere working in more energy-efficient and greener workplaces, than on non-certified workplaces. In the public sector, the demand is also growing, as one agency after another makes a commitment to LEED-certify all future public buildings.
- More Savings On Energy
This idea has gone from being a “good one” to a necessity for many businesses. It’s not simply because energy conservation has a positive life-cycle cost impact, but also that it offers a direct reduction in a firm or corporation’s total “carbon footprint.” A number of researches have indicated that energy conservation not only also offers a positive way to save and make more money, but that it’s also the most cost-effective way to lower society’s carbon dioxide output, and only requires an ability to finance the investment, and won’t need to buy newer technology.
- Green Building Shows A Visible Sense Of Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate America these days is desperate for getting good people. Going green helps improve a businesses reputation, and will help in them hiring the good types of people to work for them, especially the younger ones aged 24 to 45 . If a company cannot attract and keep these people by conforming their business practices to their values, then it would be quite hard for the firm to prosper. Green building represents a visible and more positive affirmation of the values of sustainability and social responsibility, and is an indicator of what companies’ need to make to get and keep good people.
- Going Green Helps Increase Property Values.
A study released in October by the University of San Diego, revealed that in the 2,000 large office buildings in the CoStar® database of commercial properties, the ones that had Energy Star-rated office buildings, which are those in the top 25 percent of energy performance, have had 2% higher occupancy levels, as well as $2 per square foot greater rents. In addition, Energy Star buildings as of 2006 sold at a 30% premium in dollars per square foot, as compared to non-Energy Star-rated buildings. This shows that green buildings are more valuable, and will continue to be become more valuable with each year.
Canadian builders going green, read the headline, and it got me thinking about the cost of not just building ‘green’, but of converting to green in our existing homes. Being able to list your house as a ‘green’ home must still be a novelty these days. One reason is that it can be expensive to switch to green, but there are reasonable contributions that the average family can easily make toward green living.
Of course, people go green for different reasons; for some of them it is just a common sense solution to allergies suffered in the family. But why do other people choose to put themselves through this hassle. It is not money, we know that much; going green usually costs more, not less.
Many people seem to object to the idea that their home contains more chemicals than homes used to. What is more, we are paying for that privilege! It is strange to think that Vinyl linoleum gives off toxic gasses, but it is a fact. True linoleum does not, although it can be more difficult to find. (It is often a fact that the newer replacement product also brought with it toxicity.)
Another way of helping the environment is to follow your municipalities outline for re-cycling. Private re-cycle depots in your area will often pick up where the government leaves off. The trick is to get it organized at the home base with different containers that are easily accessed.
When you decorate the home, if you want to think green, use paint that has either no, or low, VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Also if you plan on re-sealing sealing wood doors or floors etc, latex has no pollution factor to worry about.
If you decide to remodel, you will find many appliances on the market that will help you to go green. Most appliance companies now offer at least one green choice. Both washing machines and dish washers offer cycles which operate with less water. There are also toilets with the same feature, and all of these options will give you cheaper bills to pay, both on hydro and on water consumption.
If your remodeling or green choices are extending into your kitchen then when choosing a new stove or other kitchen appliance, look for the Energy Star rating. Many of these appliances are designed with a healthy environment in mind, and the stainless steel look of them will bring your kitchen up to the minute!
Okay, so you’ve heard about global warming, the importance of recycling and a lot of talk about organic food. You get the idea that going green is the wave of the future but are not sure how you fit in. By making simple changes you will not only help the environment but you’ll save your family and pets from toxic chemicals that are present in regular household cleaning products.
Whether you know it or not there are many products on the market that are extremely harmful to your health and that of your family and pets. These can cause many irritations to the skin, eyes and nose. Not to mention, these chemicals linger for days and weeks after you are finished using them. You wind up creating a little chemical mixture in your own home that you’re breathing in all the time. This is in part due to cleaning products but also the paints we use on our walls, varnishes on our furniture and the formaldehydes and glues in our carpet.
There is hope! New products are revolutionizing the way you clean and live in your home. These days you can buy an eco-friendly home and install anything from flooring to window treatments that are better for both you and the environment. Yes, these options are a bit more expensive but well worth it in the long run. You can’t put a price on your own health and that of your family. There are also wide ranges of fun cleaning products that smell great, are non-toxic, biodegradable and won’t hurt our precious earth. These ingredients do not include the harsh chemicals, that regular products have such as bleach nor do they contain sulfates or petroleum-based contents, rather they have plant-based ingredients. Why is this important? Well, let’s not forget that petrol is a non-renewable resource that is quickly being depleted. Sulfates cause an overgrowth of algae in our waters and kill off fish everyday. We can do something about this!
All of these next generation products are also usually made from recyclable plastics and are recyclable themselves. They can also be reused for your other homemade cleaning concoctions such as vinegar, or water while using baking soda.
There are many new companies providing products at the moment, you might have seen some recently on Oprah. Such companies are Method Products, Seventh Generation, Shaklee, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Of all of these products I can personally attest to using Method brand products. A girlfriend got me to try their liquid dishwashing soap and I was hooked! I soon explored their mint window wash for glass and windows as well as their all purpose cleaner in such great scents as cucumber, lavender and pink grapefruit. Who wouldn’t want to clean with these fun-smelling products?! What I started to realize was that while I was making a difference to our planet, I actually looked forward to cleaning with these great solutions because they smelled so wonderful AND they cleaned phenomenally well to boot! For those of you who prefer fragrance-free they also offer a line called “naked” that does not have any scent at all.
They sell their products conveniently online and in your local Target stores and some drug stores carry a range of their products also. Easy to find, Easy to use and Easy on your skin, eyes and nose. So safe you don’t even need to use gloves to protect your hands! Their wide range of offerings include soy-based candles, oil diffusers, dish washing liquid, dishwasher cubes, laundry detergent and fabric softener to all purpose cleaners, tub and tile sprays and they now even include body wash and hand soaps! They have a product to match every regular product on the grocery store shelves including micro fiber cloths, which eliminate the need for paper towel waste and provide a streak-free shine! Do you have a specialty surface like granite or stainless steel? They ave you covered there too!