Green: Here to Stay (2)

by Krystal Goff and Kasia Janczura

Most of the Real Estate Industry has realized that green is here to stay, and it seems our politicians and leaders have recognized this as well. Our 44th president elect, Barack Obama, has made environmental issues a top priority in his campaign. But what can we expect from our country's new leadership team in green building initiatives? What changes will Obama's new energy and environmental cabinet positions implement that affect the Real Estate Industry?

Barack Obama has laid out several clear goals he has set for his time in office. He has sited that we should be open to learning and taking strides from other countries - such as Germany - who has produced over 250,000 new jobs with their renewable energy campaigns. His goals have stated that 10 percent of America's electricity will come from renewable resources by 2012, and he hopes for 25 percent by 2025. Part of this plan includes weatherizing 1 million homes annually.

Obama's answer to our oil crisis includes investing $150 billion in renewable resources over 10 years (15 billion/year), including solar, wind, and advanced biodiesel. Investing in green technologies, hopes Obama, will also create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced.

A great book by Richard A. Muller, “Physics for Future Presidents”, talks about the implications of our growing energy need and a feasible solution to the problem: conservation. What better way to conserve than to engage in Green initiatives? First, such action could help slowdown the growing carbon dioxide emissions. The housing sector accounts for a major portion of the total 5,893 million metric tons of CO2 emission in the USA, residential being 1,247million metric tons of CO2 equivalent and commercial being 1,078 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (and just to compare, the transportation sector emits 1,970 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent). With the implementation of the cap-and-trade carbon dioxide system, which is an emission trading concept to help decrease CO2 emissions, ignoring the need to reduce energy consumption in this sector could result in unanticipated costs. This brings up another advantage of following green trends: the potential to decrease operational costs. On average, there are substantial energy savings (translating to lower bills); bettering the environment and the society while saving money is a decent deal.

The New Energy Plan policies that will structure our everyday practices, in addition to the benefits that come with energy conservation, it is easy to grasp where this leads to: an opportunity to invest in green systems. There is no need to go big right away, starting from simple implementations, such as paperless filing with (ex) RDM's RealAccess can save you money, time and make your workday much more efficient. Implementing other efficient and resource-conscious systems within your existing infrastructure could be a successful way to face an uncomplicated transition into the green future.