As the Santa Barbara real estate market has slowed in the last 18 months, it makes sense that some Realtors are trying to stand out with niche marketing efforts. One of these niches seems to be Realtors marketing themselves as eco-friendly and green. While I am 100% supportive for anyone with an eye on environmentally conscious behavior (real estate or otherwise), make sure your Realtor is not using “basic green talk” as cursory knowledge of green building simply as a marketing ploy in a tougher market.

Again, I loudly applaud any Realtor that is going out of their way to learn about solar, energy-efficient appliances, geo-thermal pumps, earth friendly design and products, improving indoor air quality, tax credits for energy saving improvements from a homeowner etc . I think intuitively that people who share strong values ​​of being environmentally and socially responsible will often align themselves with others that share the same beliefs. If these beliefs are then shared among parties involved in a real estate transaction, all the better.

For myself as a Realtor, I try to promote all that I can about green building and am always trying to learn more and understand what truly constituents green with respect to real estate. Our industry needs to follow suit with a lot of other industries that are now making strides with sustaining our environment. Example: If a client buys a home that has older wood floors that can easily be sanded and finished, doing this is in my eyes is potentially more green than buying new Bamboo flooring. At first thought, many people respond that Bamboo is a rapidly renewable material and therefore promotes green development. Yes, but if this is shipped all the way across the world from China, the “gerner decision” would probably be to just sand the old wood floors.

As a start for everyone, some of the most basic green actions you can take as a homeowner are using non-toxic paint, trying to used locally sourced materials if you are remodeling (hopefully recycled), adding insulation, installing quality good windows, and using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.