The question of why a real estate agent in Massachusetts should take a fresh look at the high-performance home market, or the NAR Green designation, is a good one. After all, we sell homes; we don’t sell climate change solutions. At the same time, I see a huge opportunity for our industry to be part of the solution.
Market Segment Boom
There are over 2.5 million green-certified homes in the U.S. right now; in 2001, that number was zero. To say that the high-performance home market is experiencing rapid
growth is an understatement.
In Massachusetts, the average homeowner uses 109 million BTUs of energy every year to heat, light, cool our homes and power all of our gadgets and appliances. We now have affordable technologies in place that can drop that number to zero. ‘Net-Zero’ homes produce as much energy as they use on an annual basis.
There are clear benefits to the creation of more energy-efficient homes, in that they reduce stress on both the environment as well as on the homeowner’s wallet. Lowering the operating costs of our homes, particularly in a market like ours where the buy-in price can be staggering, is a clear benefit to the consumer. How to Participate
We are in the midst of a paradigm shift of not only how energy is produced, but also how it is consumed. There is profound opportunity on the end-user side of the utility meter for both power production as well as the reduction of energy consumption. I understand the resistance of the real estate industry to this shift; it is much easier not to face the responsibility and challenges of the mindful use of resources. Our industry has two options, either stick our head in the sand, or participate. I believe that the smart business decision is to participate.
As a NAR Green Designee and instructor, I know the value that education and knowledge in high-performance homes will have for agents in Massachusetts. We are the home industry experts sought out by the consumer for help with the most substantial purchase of their lives. The shift to more energy-efficient homes in our state requires a deeper level of expertise on how to properly market a high-performance home.
Although we do not function as a home inspector, or a home energy advisor, we need to be comfortable with the emerging jargon of high-performance homes. Solar PV, air source heat pumps, power purchase agreements, SRECs, and energy asset ratings are all here to stay. As professionals in the home sales industry we owe it to consumers to be knowledgeable and competent.
Article 11 of the NAR Code of Ethics, which requires Realtors® to be knowledgeable and competent in the properties we sell, is quite clear that this is an obligation that we owe to our clients.