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“Greening” Our Way of Life

February 8, 2013

According to the National Building Museum’s “Green Community” exhibit (nbm.org), a green community conserves its land, offers multiple options for transportation, provides open space for recreation and cultivation, and uses its natural and cultural resources wisely. This issue of On Common Ground focuses on this broad approach to “green,” an approach that encompasses the building, its surroundings and how our communities function. It is this holistic approach that is being recognized as the best way to conserve our resources and our planet, and is currently finding favor in the market.

Green homes that are good for the environment while saving home owners money are in demand, and REALTORS® are responding by enhancing their multiple listing services to showcase green homes and green features. To prepare themselves to better serve this market, thousands of REALTORS® have already earned NAR’s new Green Designation.

Beyond a green home, providing a walkable environment that does not require the use of a car for every trip is an important feature of a green community. Demographic shifts, economic concerns, and changing consumer desires are driving a greater demand for walkable neighborhoods. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently testified to Congress, “auto dependent homes … are more vulnerable to price devaluation,” and homes that have access to more transportation options have held their value more in the slumping housing market of the past two years. New internet tools, such as Walk Score (described in the article on page 10), can help real estate professionals find homes that meet clients’ desires to live in a place where many daily destinations are only a walk away.

As the demands of home buyers change, real estate practitioners will continue to learn more about green homes and communities, and will increasingly adopt new tools to help home buyers find green homes in walkable, green neighborhoods.