Tuesday
August 22, 2017

Sustainable Real Estate Will Be the New Normal

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Sustainable Real Estate Will Be the New Normal

The United States is going through an energy revolution that within 20 years will reshape people’s homes and communities, experts said at the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Sustainability Summit in Washington, D.C., this week. Most people aren’t aware of the revolution right now, but that will change as the cost of alternative sources of energy, such as solar panels, plummets and the use of smart technologies—particularly LED lighting—goes mainstream.

NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall joins other REALTORS® at NAR’s 2017 Sustainability Summit to discuss how changes in the energy sector will affect consumers’ homebuying needs. (Photo credit: John Boal)

“Smart cities are already here, but they’re unevenly distributed right now,” said Geoffrey Kasselman, executive managing director of commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank. Kasselman and other experts were on hand at the summit to give real estate professionals a better understanding of how sweeping changes in energy use and technology will impact what people want in their homes and communities.

“Consumers are already telling us they want sustainable features in their home,” NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall said at the meeting. “What consumers don’t know is how to make their home more energy-efficient and what to ask for, and that’s where REALTORS® can help.”

Prepare for Change

The real estate industry will be on the front lines of changing energy needs as they occur. Stay ahead of the curve with NAR’s 2017 sustainability report.

Among the developments speakers talked about at the summit:

  • Innovation districts. These are already in place in some parts of the country. They use alternative energy sources and digital technologies to manage energy use in homes, commercial properties, and infrastructure to create sustainable live, work, and play clusters.
  • Micro homes. These are typically between 250 and 450 square feet and help make housing affordable in high-cost urban areas so people in modest-paying jobs can live where they work.
  • LED street lighting. These are more than lights. They double as digital sensors so cities can manage traffic, parking, and infrastructure needs more efficiently.

“We’re transitioning from a petroleum- to a solar-based global economy,” Kasselman said. “We might never see a barrel of oil over $50 again. A new world order is emerging.”

—Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine