What Green and High-Performance Real Estate Have in Common (and why you should care)


Creating green investment properties makes sense for numerous reasons including: higher returns, higher sales prices, subsidized repairs, etc.  Another reason not frequently mentioned is that green properties are high-performance properties. 

To truly be green, a property must:

  1. Be less expensive to operate.
  2. Be less harmful (compared to comparable homes) to the environment.
  3. Create a healthier living space.

High performance properties fulfill all of those requirements. 

They operate more efficiently, are more comfortable, cost less to operate and are seen as higher quality properties. It’s the difference between driving a Pinto or a Porsche. Another benefit to investor-owners of high-performance properties is that you have very little competition. Think of the last 20 for sale properties you visited.  How many were high-performance homes that did a good job of marketing their green elements?  How many were being sold by someone who understood green and could talk intelligently about the connection between high-performance and green? Two, maybe three?  I would be shocked if the number was higher.  Green is still very new and few investors around the US really understand how to do it and/or market it.

You can literally corner your target market in a short period of time.  The big key is tying green to high-performance. If you can make that connection to people, then green is no longer a trendy, pseudo political issue; it’s based on performance (financial and operational).

So, in your investing consider performance and efficiency as goals to pursue.  Green is the natural result of those goals. For newbie green investors this will make your life easier.   You don’t have to be an expert in bamboo flooring, SIPS or denim insulation; you just have to focus on high-performance.  I’ve worked with many clients who didn’t have a clue about green and then became extremely knowledgeable in a short period of time.  They now think about green in terms of high-performance. Interestingly enough, they don’t pursue green because it’s en vogue, they do it because it’s more profitable.

To make this easy, there are five questions you should ask yourself during any remodel/rehab/new construction:

  1. What can I do to make this property operate more efficiently?
  2. What can I do to make the building envelop more tighter with less gaps and leaks?
  3. What can I do to improve the indoor air quality of this property?
  4. What materials would make this property less toxic/healthier?
  5. What rebates/incentives/credits are available to subsidize #1-4?

The answers to those questions will create the basis of your strategy for your property. Creating high-performance (re: Green) is as simple as that.

Did you know? (fun green facts)
Duct tape should never be used on ducts.  It cracks, peels and doesn’t last long.  It can also create leaks and gaps that can weaken the integrity of any HVAC system.  A better choice would be to use a zero-VOC (non-toxin) mastic compound.  Mastic is easy to apply and can save you a couple hundred dollars year in heating/cooling expenses.  Save the duct tape for surfboard repairs and emergency bandages.

Photo: jhritz

About Author

I help real estate investors increase profits and property values through a variety of green strategies. I help clients find hidden rebates, tax incentives and credits to maximize returns on any property. www.JimSimcoe.com

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