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#207472 - 02/29/08 06:45 AM GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATIONS
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
All a person needs to do is search the web for green building certification programs to discover the many programs available for the green building industry. Many states, industries, and organizations have their own programs...and their hard work is beginning to build steam for the movement.

Everyone knows the "Energy Star" label. For some time now, this program has labeled energy efficient homes, building products, and appliances. But there are certification programs now covering just about every aspect of the building industry.

A respected leader in green building causes is the United States Green Building Council. Among other things, this organization oversees the highly respected LEED certification program. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a massive undertaking, from what I have read, and certifies primarily large commercial buildings that achieve performance goals in different green building categories.

Green commercial buildings are here and they aren't going away...now should they. With indoor air pollution costing billions each year worldwide in lost production, these organizations will only get stronger. Once the commercial building industry receives enough recognition for their accomplishments in clean indoor air, energy efficiency, and the other areas they address, it will just be a matter of time until most responsible builders begin to look at the total green building package…not just the energy efficiency of the home.

If you are curious about green building, then www.usgbc.org is a great place to start reading. When green building was first gaining recognition…on public television and similar media, people thought it was a specialized area for those who wanted to pay for it. Now it appears we all will be paying for it. The game plan is to make the benefits more than worth it…at least that appears to be the goal of all these organizations and the hopes we have for the real estate industry. As agents, we know these homes will be popular with buyers, assuming buyers can afford them…and affordability is a goal that most of these organizations recognize as very necessary.

We can read on the web about the costs and other factors involved in building these structures. After all, the technology is coming to our neighborhoods soon. Like every other issue in real estate, green building will surely have some down sides, also.

Coming soon: A list of green building sites, as well as information on becoming a green agent (who offers certifications, what are the costs, what will the courses cover, and more).


Edited by Darlene B (07/25/10 03:44 AM)

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#209104 - 03/05/08 05:46 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Traveler Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 2500
Loc: The Coast
I want to build an earthship. I can't beleive how many good books are out there on the subject nowadays.

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#211180 - 03/12/08 07:47 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Traveler]
GreenMarketer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 17
Loc: CO, USA
Darlene B,

Great post! I am a director of a company who is a member of the UCGBC and my Australian company is a member of the AGBCS (Australian branch of the UCGBC). I think is is an important topic. What I have noticed in my travels are people who, when renovating an existing home, are ensuring that there are many environmentally friendly fixtures and fittings being added. Its starting to become a real advantage in the sale of a home to be GREEN. Lets face it, GREEN solutions may, at the outset, be an expensive option, but reduced ongoing costs and utility bills make it worthwhile.

However, I do think green building options, whether they be total or partial solutions are some way off yet. Many people who build have a budget and many of the green solutions are not viable for inital build costs.

The more awareness and urgency in this matter will create the demand needed to drive down prices and create economies of scale. All people need to do is a forecast budget of one-off building costs vs. ongoing costs, and they will easily see the payback.

I look forward to reading more information on this matter.


Edited by GreenMarketer (03/12/08 07:48 PM)
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#211271 - 03/13/08 05:51 AM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: GreenMarketer]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
A reduction in a home's square footage to offset the cost of green features may not be too popular at first, but only time will tell. When I think of all the new builder homes that have gone up in Houston in the last few years, it is sad that we were not further along with the acceptance of some of this technology.

Thanks for your post and welcome to Agents Online. Hopefully, you can contribute even more on this subject as our forum grows and we get an idea of how big this topic really is.



Edited by Darlene B (03/13/08 05:52 AM)

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#211452 - 03/13/08 05:54 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
GreenMarketer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 17
Loc: CO, USA
From what I can see in Australia, and the emerging market in the US, GREEN is the future of our industry. Some of the Agents I work with in Canada are doubling their enquiry rate simply by featuring the environmental benefits of property already. Germany is massive for "Eco-Villages" and so is California for that matter.
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#212081 - 03/16/08 03:00 AM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: GreenMarketer]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I googled "eco village subdivision" and picked a few sites at random...wow, there is plenty of info out there. I will do a lot of reading about these villages this week. Apparently they are full of folks looking for a more eco-responsible lifestyle. It's probably that mentality that makes them successful. I suppose these people are the pioneers of this new frontier, so to speak, making the sacrifice for such a unique way of living. The thing is--they don't see it as a sacrifice.

I knew when this forum changed to include green building that it would be an eye opener. Thanks for the input.

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#212220 - 03/16/08 06:28 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
GreenMarketer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 17
Loc: CO, USA
The interesting thing about eco-villages in Germany is they are completely self sufficient and sustainable. They generate their electricity via photo voltaics, water generation and conservation with houses built fully out of recycled materials. These villages are off the grid, and self sustaining in absolutely every way. They have been doing it for years and are very advanced at the whole process. Still aint cheap though!
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#212425 - 03/17/08 05:08 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: GreenMarketer]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Greenmarketer, in your opinion, what type people reside in these eco villages. Are they radical environmentalists or just normal working people who support their strong believe in helping the environment. Or just a mixture of different mentalities. Whatever anyone's opinion is about these villages, we have to give them a certain amount of respect for caring about something to the point of changing their lifestyle to support their belief.

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#212464 - 03/17/08 06:51 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
GreenMarketer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 17
Loc: CO, USA
Darlene B,

Traditionally it would have been your hard core environmentalists that would have pioneered this development. Germany specifically, the people that seem to live in these villages are educated environmentalists, who understand how critical environmental issues are and have an urgent inherent need to do something about it.

Now with environmental issues at the forefront of current affairs, more mainstream people are starting to see the benefits of living green. It cannot be discounted the ongoing cost savings of such a lifestyle.

In certain parts of Australia, it is fashionable to live in a eco village and people are paying a pretty penny for that privilege.

In my personal experience, it is generally a melting pot of radical environmentalists, fashion conscious and the educated who inhabit these sorts of places.

Here is some great info on a NZ eco village. There is a strong emphasis on permaculture also, which is a fascinating subject, for some, in its own right.

http://www.converge.org.nz/evcnz/archive/index_win01.html
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#212491 - 03/17/08 08:30 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: GreenMarketer]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Obviously this type lifestyle is not for the average person. Where I live, people think living in an apartment is communal enough for them. Down here in Houston, with mass transit behind the times and SFD's being the choice for most families, living in an eco village would be way, way out there. I'm thinking about a nearby subdivision in Houston and an eco village in California...might as well be earth and mars to some Texans. On the other hand, they did open up their hearts to the Katrina folks, most of whom arrived here in pretty bad shape. So they will come around when they need, IMNO.

But with 8 billion people (or whatever--it's a big number) in the world, somebody needs to come up with something soon for a solution to cure the ills of too many people on such a small planet. In some areas in New York, people in apartments share small community gardens. In my older apartment unit, we don't even have a sand box for kids. In many ways, things are improving.

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#233397 - 06/18/08 06:54 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RJacobsen Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/07
Posts: 30
Loc: Scottsdale, Arizona
I've learned a great deal about 'green' homes over the past several months and it amazes me how easy it is to conserve both energy and water. Slightly more expensive appliances and fixtures can make a big difference and often pay for the additional expense over time.
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#233424 - 06/18/08 09:08 PM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: RJacobsen]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Very good point. And there is nothing we can do to stop the passage of time, so that's a good way to make it work for us. Post your discoveries on here or start a thread if you like...especially in the area of water conservation. We have a post somewhere on here about the President's house and the water conservation being done there. That's west Texas, so those people pay more attention to water conservation than most of us. Unless it's someone in Arizona, right? Don't you have some fairly rigid landscaping ordinances in Arizona?

I'm now reading about the concrete block homes, especially the Dac-Art homes. Check those out when you have time...the R value can be very high in these homes...I was shocked. So I'm thinking they are fairly "soundproof" by most standards. And they are realtively inexpensive to build compared to what you get. I'm waiting on builders to pick up on these ideas...an entire subdivision with concrete block homes or other concepts that save the maximum possible. Some energy saving items are more expensive, as you say, but if we start now, then the idea will be mainstream when our kids (and certainly our grandkids) start to buy their first home.

Any thoughts on the tankless water heater? I think they are delivering good results in most cases under normal to conservation water use...and I think bigger units are available. Again, like you say, they will probably more than pay for the difference, if not more. Haven't seen any maintenance information on these things but they are still selling so the news must not be bad.

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#261858 - 11/28/08 02:18 AM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: Darlene Bitner]
ojohn Offline
Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 113
Loc: USA
Is there a rating system that indicates how green a building is, because it seems that there are many different levels of being green depending on how serious and dedicated the owner is. Perhaps it’s a good idea to rate them from G1 to G10 with G1 rating for when they only meet the minimum requirements of being green and G10 rating for when they are the ultimate green. (just an idea)
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#261863 - 11/28/08 05:05 AM Re: Certifications in Green Building [Re: ojohn]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Excellent question. Check out Leeds for Homes, the residential equivalent (my words, not theirs) of the highly respected commercial LEEDS certification. Go to the USGBC site and see how far along they have come with that program. It should be a piece of cake to implement the standards now that LEEDS is so highly accepted in the commercial end. You nailed it when you said it needs to be simple. Like the yellow tags on the front of applicances, right. Consumers started paying attention to energy efficiency because it was made simpler for them.

Without a respected residential certification, it will just be one builder out-bragging another. I don't mean that to sound disrespectful of the builders, but I remember for years how some builders bragged about the R rating in the walls and the R rating in the ceilings, when all along it was the city code minimal standards. Some still do use minimal standards building requirements on their marketing info just like it was a new idea that only they did. These builders have come a long way in this area and many can be thanked for bringing energy efficiency to the top of the buyer list. This has helped buyers and even the lookers...who take the home tour, pay close attention to the energy saving demonstrations in the office, then go back to their own homes and think "why can't we add that". I'm not saying builders need to be forced to do this but builders need guidelines. They need (and want) to know exactly what is expected of them by their customers and the regulatory agencies so they can combine social responsibility with bragging rights in their marketing. Economically, this is good for buyers and for builders.

If I had to vote, I would say that G1...G10 would be as good as any for a rating sysem. It meets the criteria for a good name, etc. It's easy to say, easy to remember, easy to spell, and related to the named item (G is green, 1 is low, 10 is high). You get my vote. Go see what USGBC will call it.

I have recently been looking at travel trailers. In some ways, they are amazing...like the self-containment processes. In others, they are still a little behind...like in basic wall and ceiling insulation. They are getting there, though.

Thanks for the post. Excuse any late night typos.

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#400319 - 02/03/12 07:09 AM Starbucks built store utilizing their own shipping container, may be LEED [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
http://inhabitat.com/starbucks-opens-new...ing-containers/

It just keeps getting better. Look at that cool building...and the container is their own shipping container, so that is especially sweet for them. It may receive LEED certification.

Right now it is one-of-a-kind but at least people who visit this Starbucks will think about the benefits of recycling containers.

I do worry about what may have been stored in some containers, though. Starbucks knows what was shipped in their containers but for tiny home usage, it is a little scary.


Edited by Darlene Bitner (02/03/12 07:13 AM)

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