Real estate accounts for 40% of the world’s energy consumption and 1/3 of all carbon emissions. With that kind of eco-footprint, real estate firms are at the frontlines of climate change risks created by greenhouse gas, making the switch to sustainability necessary.
Realtors, brokers, and building owners need to do their part to ensure they don’t intentionally or unintentionally encourage the excessive use of energy, waste, and inefficient practices. Here are 3 ways real estate firms can adopt a more sustainable real estate portfolio.
1. Establish a Remote Work and Technology Policies
The first step on your eco-journey should include a remote work/technology policy. These policies will encourage building occupants or remote brokers and realtors to adopt greener technologies or reduce their energy and water consumption when they’re at home.
For example, you can make the real estate transaction process greener by creating a paperless pipeline. You’ll save on your energy consumption by reducing transportation costs. If you have to use paper, utilize recycled materials and adopt enhanced recyclability for all employees.
To improve your remote work/technology policy, include the following processes:
- Adopt low-energy apparatuses at home (for example, LED lighting or smart lighting).
- Minimize water and energy use at home/work (for example, putting your computer in sleep mode when it isn’t in use and using a filter instead of an in-office water jug).
- Lessen the hazardous material intensity of property and business spaces.
- Reduce the use of paper where possible. Use phone apps or software instead.
- Extend the durability and functionality of your business property.
Your remote work or technology policy can also include cutting your direct mail marketing campaigns and switching to email and digital marketing full-time to reduce wastes.
2. Green Your Business Through Your Clients
Making your business green is very important, but there are other ways to create sustainability in your company that involve your clients directly. Eco-friendly homes are a hot commodity with Millenials and Gen Z, so if you showcase your concern for the environment, you’ll attract clients.
When selling to a potential buyer, explain green initiatives that a homeowner can cash in on if they buy a fully-stocked, eco-friendly home. For example, homebuyers can take advantage of tax credits and improved energy efficiency when purchasing Energy Star appliances.
Keep in mind that green property buyers may not know enough to seek homes that feature green amenities, like water-conserving fixtures, sustainable flooring, and energy-efficient windows. Realtors who explain these features fluently will have an easier time getting a sale.
Don’t forget about the sellers! Home sellers that want to speak to a green crowd should be coached on how to do so, as green amenities are often a big selling point to buyers.
3. Create Sustainability Through Business Initiatives
A green portfolio will easily attract the eco-conscious, but you have to walk the walk. If you’re all talk, clients will see right through you, so brokers and their agents have to educate themselves on green practices. Here are some key ways companies are reducing their carbon footprint.
Work With Sustainable Vendors
Prospective clients don’t just look at the firm’s eco-footprint; they’ll also research vendors. Everything from HVAC parts to landscaping services will be critiqued with a fine-toothed comb, so it’s essential that you choose service providers and suppliers that practice sustainability.
On your website, display all the vendors you work with. That way, clients are reassured that both you and your vendors are committed to creating a more environmentally friendly world.
Pursue Green Certifications
Building operations and construction, directly and indirectly impact the environment, meaning real estate firms should achieve a green building certification to be sustainable.
Many property developers have adopted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards (LEED) of the US Green Building Council to become more eco-friendly. Other options include WELL Building Institute and the National Association of Homebuilders.
Such standards have led to a growing inventory of efficient and sustainable buildings.
Set Emission Targets
Several companies are adopting the science-based target approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions which establishes targets that keep the global temperature increase below 2°C.
Keeping carbon emissions down as low as possible also has lasting effects on the industry as a whole. New innovative practices and technologies will emerge to help clients and firms adopt strategies that further reduce their carbon footprints, leading to a more eco-friendly nation.
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