The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has just passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a very sad landmark as it shows that our efforts to date are inadequate to curb climate change. The good news is that it is a reminder to us all that we need to recognize our responsibility for our planet and that we have to work hard to increase the pace of change. Since almost 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from homes and buildings, those of us in the real estate industry have a key role to play in reducing C02 emissions by encouraging our customers to focus on the financial, lifestyle, and climate advantages of purchasing or renting highly energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings.
As a real estate professional who is also a certified green building professional and a certified energy-efficiency engineer, I see four steps that green realtors can take towards fulfilling our responsibility to this planet:
- Educate yourself regarding energy efficiency technologies and their uses by taking green building courses in your area or online.
- Teach your customers about the many quality-of-life and financial benefits of living and working in zero or near zero energy homes or buildings.
- Learn what state and federal incentives for energy efficiency technologies are available and show your customers how they will benefit from them.
- Set an example for your customers by living a zero energy life yourself, so you can talk about energy efficiency choices from first hand experience.
- Provide a list of phone numbers and weblinks to information on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Start with information available from your local utility company and from zeroenergyproject.org.
Even though I have an extensive engineering background that includes energy-efficient building technology, taking a course in green real estate has been very helpful to my career. It gave me another tool to succeed as a real estate professional. . Having knowledge of energy efficiency technology gives me confidence and authority when talking to my clients about the advantages of green buildings. And the time I have spent learning about the state and federal incentives makes it much easier to close a sale on an energy efficient home or building. To set an example to my customers, I drive an all electric vehicle and I am vigilant in my daily routine to avoid wasting energy, water, and food.
I do all this for two reasons. First, the trend toward zero energy and near zero energy buildings is already well underway and I am well prepared for this future. Second, I believe that if I do not do anything to help prevent climate change, I am responsible for it! In fact, I believe we are all responsible if we do nothing. I encourage you to take the steps necessary to becoming an effective advocate for zero and near zero energy homes. Doing so will put your business ahead of the curve and will help preserve our planet for future generations.
Dhaval J. Brahmbhatt, Broker (Residential & Commercial), Dream-Joy Real
Estate, San Jose, California