Green Certs for Realtors
By Gina Dostler
The world is becoming a smaller planet, as a resource hungry and energy depleting population keeps expanding. Common sense tells us we must become more responsible with our imprint on Mother Earth, so our children’s children can inherit the same bounty we live in – no forced rationing or futuristic chaos taking place.
And it is the green movement that paves the way for us to become the conservers of energy and resources that our world deserves. Among the many who dedicate themselves to creating a better place to live, John Shipman has initiated a company that spreads the word about being truly green and energy efficient. John is president of Energy Efficiency Management Inc.
He is also a realtor and a Green Designation Trainer for the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors. A dynamic speaker who is incredibly passionate about green awareness in the housing industry, John educates both realtors and builders on the processes involved for a house to become green rated, an actual bonus for building, buying or selling a home.
Q: Why should realtors consider getting certified?
A: Becoming a Certified Green Real Estate Professional (CG-REP) puts real estate agents ahead of the game and focuses on all programs. The NAR has a recognized course, but it is general in scope and basically talks about energy efficiency. With the CG-REP, real estate agents can arm themselves with good, credible training that certifies them on not only energy efficiency, but on what makes a home excel in the green point rating system.
This differentiates the realtor from competitors – the ability and expert knowledge on buying and selling a truly green home. The realtor can deliver a product that enhances the homebuyer’s health and comfort while reducing the home’s environmental impact. And it’s about the realtor becoming a client’s go-to resource on state disclosure regulations, consumer label programs, and green lending programs.
The two-day certification program shows how to work with the contractors to help the client and teaches them marketing strategies to put green into their business. They become a specialist in energy efficiency. The NAR also recognizes this certification in their course work.
Q: What do you mean by recognizes?
A: The NAR actually allows the Level 100 course to be satisfied with the two day CG-REP training course. Remember, buyers might be asking what expense the utility bills are generating and how can the home become more energy efficient. Or what is the indoor air quality like in the home and what will it take to create a healthier environment. The training teaches all aspects of being green in the home and therefore energy efficient.
Q: What is a green point rated label?
A: It is a way for clients to know the home they are getting is a true green home. Being energy efficient doesn’t necessarily make a home green, though a green point rated home is always energy efficient. The green point rating confirms the home has been evaluated and certified by a credible independent third party.
A: It is a membership-supported, nonprofit organization located in Oakland. It is on the forefront of the green movement and is here to facilitate the adoption of green practices. This is a nationally promoted movement and the CRMLS association uses it. Realtors can list their home with an added benefit of an energy audit. And now the appraisal institute has come on board and trains appraisers on green certification. There is a new addendum for appraising a home which builds value into the home by acknowledging green features. This is definitely a clear signal the industry is changing. Check out Build It Green’s website www.builditgreen.org.
Q: What does it take to be truly green, not just energy efficient?
A: There are five aspects to the question. Energy efficiency in the home becomes realized with proper lighting, insulation, heating and cooling that save dollars with lowered kilowatts of electricity and therms of natural gas.
Resource conservation considers the environment and finds its way into the home through using recycled materials. For instance bamboo flooring, a very hard material, is a readily available resource that renews rapidly and has a sustainable harvest; whereas walnut wood flooring is a burden to our resources due to its long growth period and availability.
Indoor air quality becomes healthy by utilizing improved materials that greatly reduces formaldehyde and other pollutants and includes optimal ventilation. Water conservation with high efficiency toilets and drought resistant landscapes not only saves money but reduces pressure on our water supply.
And for new homes, the surrounding environment issue is included and looks at how the community is impacted with various indicators, such as a walk score – is the home walking distance to schools, grocery stores, places of worship?
Q: Besides creating energy efficiency and a healthier environment, you mentioned a home owner can lower the cost of home ownership?
A: Yes. We call it PITI + E. When the realtors are educated about this, they can show the buyer how to lower the true cost of home ownership through rebate programs and energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs). Any buyer who qualifies for an FHA can get an energy-efficient mortgage. To quote from the government’s website (www.energystar.gov), “EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.”
So, from day one, the principle is going to go up, not necessarily in terms of the monthly payment, but in the cost of the home. The FHA insures the loan because the actual cost is lower. Then combining these with rebate programs is a powerful tool for cost reduction.
Q: Any other good reasons to be certified?
A: Bringing forward the importance of real estate in energy efficiency are groups like the energy commission, and state organizations. Roughly there are 12 million homes in California, and 8 to 9 million have been built before any energy codes, which by the way only showed up in the 1980s. So that makes 9 million homes that literally lack in energy efficiency. That’s a lot.
There is a mindset out there that it is costly to retrofit a house to green, especially in this economy. But with added education to realtors, low-interest financing and energy-efficient mortgages can be brought to the table that otherwise might have been overlooked.
Additionally, John is a California General Building and Home Performance with Energy Star-BPI Contractor; BPI Certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professional; HERS Rater; Program Coordinator and Instructor for California State University, Long Beach, Continuing and Professional Education Department’s Green and Sustainable Building Certificate Program; Creator and Trainer for Build It Green’s Certified Green Real Estate Professional Program™ (CG-REP™), Trainer and GreenPoint Rater; Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Trainer, CalCERTS and a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles.
Energy Efficiency Management, Inc.