I am pleased to let you know that I have become an Earth Advantage Designated Broker. What does this mean? It means that I have attended and passed a course that gives me this accreditation. I have a very strong personal interest in living my life sustain-ably and making choices based upon being environmentally aware (yes, I used cloth diapers on my children and adore re-usable grocery bags). So this felt like an easy and natural thing to take on. I want to share with you a bit of what I have learned.
Earth Advantage is a third-party organization that is very active here in Oregon. These organizations tend to be regional with about 70 of them around the United States. What they do is set standards that are regionally acknowledged to allow home owners, builders, and Realtors to have a basis of understanding a criteria of environmental sustainability.
Earth Advantage is commonly seen in new construction. Builders long ago learned that building to these standards is popular with home buyers. An Earth Advantage designation on a new home makes that home more competitive as a commodity to be sold. So it not only helps the environment, but it helps the profitability of the home for the builder. An Earth Advantage home must have met sustainability standards that are 15% more stringent than building just to local code requirements. This means the house is built to be energy efficient, it takes into consideration where materials come from, and how materials are disposed of. Did you know that it takes an average of 13 years for the world to recover the resources that go into building a new home?
Earth Advantage designations can also be given to homes that are already built. In fact, the most sustainable home you can buy is one that is already built. You can do improvements to an already built home, think new windows, insulation, water conservation, that will make the existing home come up to modern standards for sustainability. A good place to start is by contacting Energy Trust of Oregon (energytrust.org) and obtaining one of their free energy saver kits. To go straight to the website, click here.
This is going to come into play in a big way, particularly in the City of Portland. Beginning January 1, 2018, selling a house in Portland will require providing a home energy score to prospective purchasers. While this is not going to be required in Lake Oswego, I do believe it is going to raise awareness of houses energy efficiency for consumers, and that we will see buyers of homes in Lake Oswego asking for similar accommodations from sellers.
I think we pretty easily understand the benefits of energy efficiency and sustainability for houses. It saves money, particularly over time. It can be better for our health. And it is environmentally responsible. I think some of the most exciting things you can do when you start to prioritize energy efficiency and sustainability are also just super easy. Did you know that putting in a $10 low-flow shower head can save you about $150 a year? Wrapping your water heater with a $25 insulated blanket can save you $200 a year? Things like light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and smart power strips are inexpensive and give you big pay back.
OK. I’ll get down off of my soap box. I hope you can tell that this is a subject that I really like. Feel free to reach out with questions on this subject. All three of us, Linda, Whitney, and myself, love to hear from you.