Green Real Estate and Lower Impact Moving
It's summer, so that means many of you are looking for homes and or planning a move. Sure we'd all love to have enough money to hire a snazzy architect and build the green home of our dreams. But we aren't all so lucky (and if you are, congratulations!). Fortunately we don't have to throw in the hemp towel. If you're looking for new digs and want to go green, there are now a number of exciting eco-friendly real estate options popping up across the country for you to explore.
Typically moving is a major environmental hazard zone: wasted packing paper, discarded boxes and thousands of miles of smog belching truck driving. The average American move uses 100-120 pounds of cardboard and emits 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide for a cross-country move or 500 pounds for an intra-state move. We'll help you make your move more eco-friendly.
What is this green real estate of which you speak?
Well, it's a wide spectrum. Some are new homes or condos built to include multiple sustainable elements, e.g. passive solar, state-of-the-art energy efficiency features, tankless water heaters, FSC certified wood for framing, double-pane windows, reclaimed wood flooring, and Energy Star appliances. Some are made with rammed earth, adobe or straw-bale construction techniques. And some homes are not new but have been retrofitted by their owners to include some eco-friendly elements (often solar panels, low-flow toilets, and native/low-water-use landscaping). So when you start looking at green real estate you'll need to read the descriptions closely to see which elements are included. (If you are interested in building your own green home, please be sure to consult our listings of outstanding green architects and builders!)
How can I find green real estate?
There are a few good online resources, and now there is even a certification for green real estate professionals. EcoBroker is a program designed to help people find real estate that embraces energy efficiency and sustainable design. EcoBroker trains real estate agents in green building and home technologies and practices so that they can help buyers find green homes and help seller integrate and market green features in their homes to help them sell.
Here are a few examples of green homes currently being offered for sale.
Always dreamed of living in Santa Fe? Here's your chance. EcoBrokers Janet Rubenstein and Robin Zollinger have a gorgeous green home on the market right now. This lovely energy-efficient (main house heated by true passive solar trombe walls), semi-rural property is a stone's throw from town yet utterly private and serene. The property consists of a wonderful 2BR/2BA Northern New Mexico main house and a freestanding 1BR guest house on 1.6 acres in an established artist's community in Rancho San Sebastian. It's a gem! And be sure to visit Janet and Robin's wonderful website, SantaFeGreenRealEstate.com.
EcoBroker Signe Danler promotes green homes in the Mid-Willamette area of Oregon. Her company, Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette, represents the beautiful homes at Starlight Summit, new green-built homes in Philomath, Oregon. Nestled next to the Cascade foothills, these beautiful homes have valley and mountain views, and green features to make them easier on the environment. Just some of their green features include low VOC interior paints, carpets made of recycled PET (plastic bottles!), Mastic Sealed HVAC systems, water-saving shower heads, low-e windows, extra insulation, and much more. You can learn more about these wonderful homes and contact Signe by emailing her at email@example.com.
San Diego EcoBroker Jim Simcoe also has an outstanding ocean-view, eco-friendly condo for sale. In addition to being just gorgeous, the seller is offering some very innovative green incentives for a prospective buyer. The seller will give a credit to any buyer in order to install Energy Star appliances, replace the carpet with sustainable flooring, install double-pane efficient windows, paint the interior with low-VOC paint, and more. If you want to be green and live at the beach, catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world with this condo. Check it out here!
And there's another great online resource to look for green real estate: the aptly named GreenHomesforSale.com. It has many properties across the US listed so browse to your green heart's content.
Lower Impact Moving
A couple of months before your move, start hording your newspapers. You can use these for packing paper and then recycle it. You can also go to your local grocery store or electronics store and ask them for their discarded boxes-- this will save you hundreds of dollars and will conserve precious paper resources. Then you can recycle the boxes when you're done.
If you're lucky enough to live in Southern California, you have another couple of great options. Go Green Moving, based in Irvine, will move you using their biodiesel powered trucks (how cool is that!?). They also partner with EarthFriendlyMoving, which rents moving boxes. Their Recopacks are sturdy boxes made from recycled plastic. You can rent boxes for 'a buck a box a week' and then they'll pick them up when you're finished.
And if you are getting rid of stuff during your move, please don't forget to recycle or donate it! You can give things to your local Goodwill or you can give to a Habitat for Humanity local Restore. If you have any potentially hazardous waste, definitely find out how to dispose of it properly through your local city waste resources. You can find them here.
Good luck finding the green home of your dreams! Fortunately now you have some good resources to help you on your hunt. And when it comes time to move, please do try to use recycled and recyclable materials in the process- and then recycle your boxes, paper, etc. when you're moved in. Home sweet green home!
Jessica Jensen, Co-Founder, Low Impact Living
Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to incorporate it in our newsletters over the next few months.
Individual results of using green products and services listed herein may vary. Low Impact Living, Inc. takes no responsibility for individual results, nor for service providers or products listed on this website.