What we mean when we say, “green”

By: Courtney James

We have a specific set of principles that we at Urban Durham Realty have committed to.  They are as follows:

  • We are committed to staying informed about issues that impact Durham
  • We are committed to giving back to the community by donating a portion of each transaction to a local charity
  • We are committed to supporting Durham businesses and keeping our resources local
  • We are committed to increasing our awareness of “green” opportunities and decreasing our impact on the planet

The one I want to focus on in this blog post is the last one – the statement regarding increasing our awareness of “green” opportunities and decreasing our impact on the planet.  It’s probably an understatement that the term “green” has become trendy.  It’s gotten so trendy in fact that the word has lost its luster for many.  Because of this blatant overuse, I think we, as a company, need renewed focus on defining concrete objectives to abide by our commitment.

Last year I attended a three-day class to earn an Eco-Broker certification.  Believing this might be another example of rhetoric without substance, I expressed initial reluctance.  Now, having earned the certification, I can honestly say that I learned a tremendous amount and continue to learn more.  I am so enthusiastic about it that I have encouraged all of the agents at UDR to work towards their certifications.

As real estate brokers, we are in a unique position of introducing clients to their future house.  We have unfettered access to show buyers (and sellers) potential energy and cost saving opportunities in their home.

As a simple example, most people pay little attention to the direction their house faces, and where the trees are in relation to the sun.  These features can have a tremendous impact on heating and cooling costs. In the summer, the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest and in the middle of the day, the sun is high overhead.  In the winter the sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest and in the middle of the day, the sun is low in the southern sky.  Planting a deciduous shade tree on the southwest or southeast side of your house will help reduce your cooling needs in the summer, and after the leaves drop in autumn, sunlight will warm your home through south and west-facing windows during the colder months.

Another example deals with how ‘sealed’ a home is.  I tend to do much of my business helping people buy and sell older homes and although I love them, they tend to be drafty.  This is especially significant in the winter time since heating our homes typically accounts for the highest single energy cost in a home.  Here is a test you can perform to help determine air leaks.  On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, and attic hatches. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.

It is through small opportunities to educate our clients that we feel we are able to live our commitment to be more earth friendly.  We have lots more to learn, but be assured that what we learn we’ll be passing along to many new homeowners!

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