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Tacoma Housing Authority’s 91-unit development, Salishan 7 (right), in the state of Washington, was the 10,000th home to earn LEED certification. 



> Number of Green (NAR) designations: 7,000
> Number of EcoBroker (AEEREP) designations: 6,000

A number of different organizations offer ongoing education and designations that can boost an agent’s or appraiser’s knowledge level and credibility among buyers. “When I began my real estate career in 2004, there were no ‘real estate’ designations or classes, so I joined the only real estate brokerage in the Pacific Northwest that specialized in green homes,” Johnson says. “We approached many local green builders to find out what they needed as far as green home sales and marketing, and developed real estate tools to support those needs. We also familiarized ourselves with green home certification checklists (Built Green and LEED), and how builders were using them.” Johnson later became a certified EcoBroker, took the American Lung Association’s Master Home Environmentalist and Healthy House (for professionals) training, and attended a LEED class. Her real estate partner took classes through a local organization for an additional designation “to be certain we were covering all of the bases.” When new continuing education classes with a sustainable focus are offered, they take them, too.

Classes and designations are available through several nationwide channels, including the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals (AEEREP), and the USGBC, along with a host of regional organizations.


Among the amenities likely to appeal to sustainability-minded consumers, Altic says that “incorporating innovative design features such as systems for easy recycling of everything from household trash to electronics” are attractive points, along with “systems for rain catchment, composting, vegetable gardening, storing bicycles and managing phantom power.” She believes these features strike a good balance between builder costs and consumer demand, as they are likely relatively inexpensive to incorporate, but would boost the “cool” factor for consumers and generate more traction for builders.

Green-Focused Services
Agents and appraisers hoping to garner more green-conscious clients might look to Johnson’s in-depth service offerings, which go beyond what buyers have traditionally expected from agents. “We offer healthy home assessments, third-party energy audits, and a homeowner’s maintenance guide to all our buyers,” Johnson says. “We also have an extensive list of professionals we can refer them to for everything from sustainable moving companies to solar installers.” The assessments and audits her team provides help buyers to understand how a green home’s features, such as incorporation of natural light, use of low-VOC finishes, and efficiencies through passive solar heating, will affect their long-term energy and maintenance costs, as well as what kind of health and comfort buyers can expect from their home.

Going the extra step may be a determining factor in how seriously buyers view an agent’s commitment to sustainability. Altic helps clients evaluate local statistics to determine how green homes are performing in a particular area, along with identifying which features are fetching higher prices and quicker sales. She also weaves a lifestyle of sustainability into other aspects of her sales approach. “This year I have incorporated a bicycle into my transportation plan,” she says, “and can take buyers out on bike to view homes and evaluate a neighborhood in terms of how pedestrian-friendly it is.”

A Darker Shade of Green
Lending organizations interested in becoming more involved in the green revolution should look to their core values for guidance. “A key part of Green Bank’s culture is our commitment to support sustainability projects and make a difference within our community,” Maynez says. She suggests that other lenders keen to become players in the green market take a practical approach. “Get familiar with the various programs that support green initiatives at local, state and national levels,” she says.


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