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2007-04-05 13:23:00

eco-Broker -- The Real Estate Agent as Caretaker of the Planet

The real estate industry, and society as a whole, is paying more attention to energy efficiency and green building opportunities. Green building is much more prevalent now than ever before. And it’s here to stay!

So, that having been said, what is green building? Green building is a concept towards building and remodeling that truly addresses a much more mindful way of approaching building and remodeling with the use of materials that are less impactful, require overall less maintenance, use less energy, are more organic and, among others, saves us money and produces less pollution. Hopefully, implementation of many of these approaches means a longer life for the home and thus savings and more leisure time for the home owner. So, quality of life is also positively impacted for the home owner.

REALTORS® who are EcoBroker Certified® have gone through an extensive training program on energy and environmental issues that impact real estate and the consumer. They have been educated to help the consumer understand and navigate through those aspects in a home that can be improved upon for its overall efficiency and/or to guide them through the preparation of building a home that is environmentally sound and less impactful.

EcoBrokers are typically “green-minded” individuals who themselves have the desire to minimize their impact on the environment and reduce consumption, overall. We, as EcoBrokers, are better armed to help our clients make good decisions either from an energy efficiency standpoint, as well as other more basic issues affecting the homeowner from the orientation of their home to beneficial choices in how to landscape a property.

EcoBrokers always need to be certain they are clear with their clients that they are NOT experts in all things “green”, but they certainly are far more equipped to guide them accordingly and have  a commitment to making a difference. EcoBrokers are strategically positioned to help the consumer better understand issues related to their home and how the homeowner can better insulate, where they can get an energy efficient mortgage, where they can get tax rebates for installing solar panels, AND these are just some ideas that any homeowner can implement.

We, as EcoBrokers, walk the homeowner through many possibilities that can be done to a property to address issues that are inherently unhealthy or tax the home in ways that are unnecessary. Even if that means planting trees in such a way that it shades a home, thereby reducing excessive sun exposure, or creating a windbreak. The possibilities seem endless. And this is the exciting part of discussing these issues with homeowners or potential homeowners.

We  can make suggestions to our clients about harvesting water, re-using our grey water, xeriscaping our yards, purchasing energy efficient appliances, etc.

Little by little, these changes affect us all. By using less water, our earth’s water supply is, of course, more plentiful and there is thereby less strain on our rivers and lakes. By installing solar photovoltaic panels on our property, we use the earth’s natural resources and convert that to electricity. Truly a beautiful concept, and it makes sense to utilize the earth’s naturally abundant supply of sunlight to power our own lighting inside our homes.

I don’t want to use the most overused word of late and imply that we are completely sustainable by implementing these very simple steps. However I will suggest that we can certainly make great strides in a very positive direction and be more responsible in our approach to building, as it effects us all.

To me, in my humble opinion, being an EcoBroker is about choice. It is about being grateful and thoughtful towards our world and our future, largely our children’s future on this planet. It is about responsibility, which we all have towards this earth that has been loaned to us to occupy, but most certainly to lovingly care for. We can convey this in so many ways to our clients. It means we, as Realtors®, can give back in a very meaningful, thought provoking way and that we can inspire others to think differently about their impact on our world. It’s about preservation and legacy.

(Nicole Brulé-Fisher, ABR, EcoBroker Certified, e-Pro)

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