The term “green” refers, among other things, to advocating, supporting or promoting the protection of the environment.
One of the core principles of “being green” is to aim to meet our needs as humans while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. When we do this we are acting in a “sustainable” manner. For example, when we cut down a tree for lumber, we must replace it – hence a green or sustainable wood product is one that comes from a forestry business that uses the sustainable practices of selectively cutting trees of specific sizes and replanting new ones.
Sustainable practices can involve complex decisions, since they must take into consideration the other core green principles: social responsibility; resource efficiency and conservation; and the health and well-being of people. For example, cutting down exotic trees in a rainforest may be the only source of income for the impoverished natives of that area. Therefore, we cannot ban them from this practice if we can’t find an alternative source of income for them.
What does all this have to do with real estate? Well, there a number of features that can be incorporated into the remodel, renovation or construction of a home, as well as the treatment of the land upon which the home is built, that contribute to the protection and sustainability of the environment. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organizations have their individual lists of criteria for achieving their green building certification. If the home you are touring has one of these certifications, you can be assured of the authenticity of the green features listed for it. The Teton Board of Realtors now has an MLS listing category for green features which include the level or stage of LEED certification.
At the same time, there are residences that have green features but whose owners did not go through the certification process. Or the homeowner may not be aware that their residence has green features. Whichever is the case, becoming knowledgeable of these features will help you make the best real estate decision if you are interested in a green home. As a Green Designee real estate agent, it is also my job to point out green features to the buyer or seller.