Importance of Going Green in Real Estate
Every year, we feel the effects of climate change in the form of natural catastrophes that continue to hit the world. There have been a number of campaigns that have been conducted by global leaders and environment enthusiasts, and all of these call for a greener environment. Unfortunately, the bells ring unheard by some leaders. The overall effect is that the world may become inhabitable to humankind. How can the real estate industry help in fighting global warming? To answer that question, we need to look at the various alternatives available, and also aim at educating Real Estate owners, builders and investors on why Green building technologies are important.
Green Building Technologies
Green building technology adoption has gained pace in Canada and in the U.S. not because there are incentives tied to it, but also because homeowners have realized the importance of going green in real estate. There are a number of technologies adopted to promote Green Building. These include the following:
Green Roofs and Green Living Walls
These involve the use of garden systems on the building to make it look and act environmentally friendly. When the garden system is installed on the rooftop and on the walls, it acts as a natural insulator and reduces the losing of heat from the house and gaining of heat from outside especially during summer. These technologies, when installed on the walls, will help in radiating the solar energy and also act as air fresheners since they increase air quality by absorbing excess carbon dioxide that is released into the air. On the rooftop, they help by absorbing the excess water that would run off. This is a good method of reducing the amount of energy that goes into powering the heating and cooling appliances. When living walls are installed in a home, they look more beautiful and act as mood therapy to the occupants. Therefore, the benefits are beyond saving energy; the greenery is medicine for the occupants.
Adoption of Passive Solar Building Designs
This entails making the sun an integral part of lighting, cooling and heating the house. Unlike the solar heating systems, it does not involve installation of any devices and therefore does not take much investment. It involves mastering the sun`s path from sunrise to sunset and the various positions of the sun in different times around the year. Other factors that influence insulation are also taken into consideration and software is used to calculate the best placements and materials. This is usually different from house to house because the factors will change depending on the location. This is used to define where the large windows will be designed and placement of deciduous plants. High thermal mass materials are also used in the building to ensure that it retains heat during winter.
Use of Dual Piping Systems
Building owners have embraced the use of dual piping also known as dual plumbing and involves installation of two pipe systems: one carrying the potable water and the other carrying reclaimed water. The reclaimed water is the water that was previously used in the sewer system and it is used in watering the living walls and the garden. Of course, the reclaimed water is first treated and solid waste is filtered. Although the system costs more to install, it saves the homeowner a lot of money and therefore ends up cost-effective in the long run. This system has been used in California and has proven to be effective in water conservation in homes.
This is the glass that uses electrical power to change from opaque to translucent. This can be done manually by pressing the switch or can be programmed to automatically switch over the course of the day. It is used to allow the natural light in, eliminating the need to use the power lighting system during the day.
Building Integrated Photovoltaic
This is the use of improved solar panels that harness the solar power better than the older design solar panels. They are more cost-effective because they can provide more energy in the house. Photovoltaic panels can cover the whole roof meaning you will have more heating capacity in the building. Some can be transparent and are installed as windows by some homeowners. These panels have the potential to theoretically create a closed power grid in the house meaning the house can effectively be powered by its own electricity. However, the homeowner will need to install a powerful battery that can take in the current generated.
There are several benefits that homeowners who use green technology will enjoy. Some of the advantages include:
The Property Will Attract Clients
When you decide to go green, you have the potential to attract clients. For those selling their homes, there are buyers ready and waiting, and for those letting homes, the tenants are also looking for greener home solutions that save them extra money. Statistics show that the top reason why homeowners are going green is that the client demand for greener homes is high at 35% and the market demand is at 33%1. Therefore by going green, you will benefit from competitive differentiation meaning more clients will be attracted to your property.
Cost Effectiveness and More Value
When you invest in green building technology you will save more in the long run and therefore the project becomes more cost-effective. Reduced power bills and water bills are some of the savings that you will make. Water conservation at home will also promote the fight against water wastage and therefore you will be contributing more in saving the limited water resources. Secondly, you will get more asset valuation when selling your house. This makes sense because the small additions will obviously count as valuable assets.
Tax Breaks and Incentives
Property owners who use the green building technologies get incentives from the Governments and also financial institutions. The incentive policies adopted by governments and financial institutions are the most important strategies that drive more homeowners into adopting the green building technologies. In the U.S. for example, the tax incentives are given to the green building technology adopters. By taking advantage of these offering, homeowners can save more money and use it to improve the green building technologies they have deployed. A guide to these incentives can be found on https://www.go-gba.org/resources/green-building/green-building-incentives-guide/. In September 2017, the government of Canada announced the green building incentive program that covers all the provinces. For more information, click on http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/statistics/neud/dpa/policy_e/results.cfm?programtypes=4®ionaldeliveryid=all&attr=0
By embracing green building technologies, you are promoting a healthier living by getting rid of toxic emissions and also use of the living walls to clean the excess carbon dioxide released into the air. Studies show that the plants offer mood therapy compared to rough walls.
Green building technologies are a wise venture and homeowners should join hands in promoting them. Not only will the real estate owners benefit, the environment will also be saved from dangerous emissions.
Looking for a top-notch REALTOR® to help you find your green home?
We select top quality Real Estate Agents from across all brokerages to belong to the PrimoAgents REALTOR® Network. PrimoAgents are experienced, educated, reputable and tech-savvy – connect with one now by clicking here. If you don’t find someone in your area, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will search out a top quality Real Estate Agent for you.
1McGraw Hill Construction (2012). World Green Buildings Study. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012 via http://analyticsstore.construction.com/index.php/2012-world-green-building-trends-key-facts.html
U.S. Green Building Council (2015). The Business Case for Going Green https://www.usgbc.org/articles/business-case-green-building