3 Ways Real Estate Firms Can Adopt Environmentally Sustainable Practices

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.

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 eco-conscious home 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.

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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.

The Eco Revolution in Property Investment

Many of us are now making more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions every day. Whether it’s taking our own carrier bags to the shops, having a reusable water bottle or recycling your tin cans – little changes are making a big impact. When it comes to property, the eco revolution has increasingly been making waves. From solar panels to energy efficient light bulbs, our properties are becoming better for the planet. These eco-friendly priorities are also affecting property investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly properties.

Eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular with a new environmentally conscious generation starting to look for rental properties. Young professionals who are living in the city are less likely to buy a home than ever before, so are looking for a rental property that meets their exacting requirements. With many of them choosing to make environmentally friendly choices, like going plastic free or cutting down on how much meat they eat, accordingly they are looking for eco-friendly homes too.

Environmental impact is increasingly on the agenda of consumers in every aspect of their lives. Many are also willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly purchases. Research has shown that UK consumers would pay an average 10% more if they were buying something they thought had a positive impact on society. Property investors would be wise to bear this in mind when looking for new property investments. In an increasingly competitive rental market, the ability to raise prices because of eco credentials is a lucrative option for investors.

Furthermore, 40% of consumers think that sustainability is important when they are making a purchase. The impact of this can be seen in the growing number of brands and businesses that are making their environmental commitments obvious to consumers. It is clear that savvy property investors can be both environmentally friendly and business smart when looking to purchase new properties.

In another study, 80% of tenants believed that their landlords should be considering the environment more, and suggested measures like double-glazing, insulation and eco-modifications. These simple measures can make a large impact on the appeal of a property to prospective tenants. Increasing energy prices are another concern for occupants.

In addition, 55% of renters asked said they would prefer a rental property with a smart meter if it was the same price. Energy efficient measures are both good for tenant’s monthly costs and for the environment so buy to let property investors can be at an advantage if their property offers these.

As of April 2018, buy to let landlords are legally required to have an EPC rating of E or above in their properties. This means that property investors are increasingly looking at new build properties which are already energy efficient and don’t require costly renovations. Tenants can also legally request that a landlord makes property improvements if the EPC rating is F or G.

Developers are increasingly taking sustainability and environmental impact into consideration when building new properties. Properties with energy efficient specifications, like many by RW Invest  are providing investors with lucrative returns and high tenant demand. Recent changes to regulation mean that new build properties need to be energy efficient and this is making a huge impact on the buy to let market.

The trend towards environmentally conscious properties looks set to continue, with eco-friendly qualities high on the agenda of both potential tenants and investors.