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5 Ways to Differentiate Yourself with Earth Friendly Green Products - Real Estate

According to Rex Nutting, Washington Bureau Chief of MarketWatch, the inventory of previously owned homes up for sale in May 2007 rose to the highest level in relation to sales in 15 years, putting even more houses into an already glutted market. With sales of existing homes falling 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million down from the upwardly revised 6.01 million in April, according to the National Association of Realtors, and sales down 10.3% from just a year ago and off approximately 17% from the peak, what can builders and homeowners do to differentiate themselves from the 4.43 million homes currently for sale on the market?

Building or remodeling with Green products is the perfect way to do just that.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders and McGraw-Hill Construction, 85% of homeowners said they were more satisfied with their new green homes than with their previous, traditionally-built homes. The survey allowed respondents to state more than one reason for buying an environmentally friendly home; showing that nearly 50% of those surveyed said that concern for the environment was a reason to buy a green home, and the same percentage held that their family's health was a reason. 63% stated lower operating and maintenance costs motivated their purchases.

Additionally, homebuyers were willing to pay a higher price up front to get those benefits. "We found that people buying green homes were willing to pay an $18,500 premium in order to get a green home," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of industry analytics, alliances, and strategic initiatives at McGraw-Hill Construction.

To be classified as, "Truly Green", homes must include three or more products or features addressing the following:

1. Energy-Efficiency 2. Indoor Air Quality 3. Resource Management and/or Use of Recycled Materials 4. Site Management/Location of the Home and its Surroundings 5. Water Efficiency

Their research showed that only 0.3% of existing homes qualified as "Truly Green" whereas, 2% of homes incorporated a green product, such as energy-efficient doors and windows, appliances, or heating.

In Jack Trout's "Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition", he warns, "Those who fail to differentiate their product or service, in the mind of the consumer, won't stand a chance." This is your chance to differentiate yourself as a renovator, builder, homeowner, real estate agent, or other professional looking to change your business as well as the world.

The report found that those apt to invest in a green home are women, who are married, affluent, well educated and are likely to be in their mid-40s and from the Southern or Western states.

The popularity of green features is not limited to new construction.

The research estimated that about half of U.S. homeowners recently renovated their homes, and about 40% of them used green products. Energy-efficient windows and doors, as well as energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems are some of the most popular green upgrades, Bernstein said.

Examples of Energy Saving Features to Incorporate in your Building

Ridge vents and perforated Hardi soffit vent for maximum air flow

House completely wrapped with 7/16 inch OSB

R-38 insulation in ceiling

R-22 insulation in sloped ceilings

R-13 insulation in exterior walls

Tech Shield radiant barrier sheathing for roof decking

Tyvek HomeWrap for a more energy efficient home

Polyseal exterior openings to prevent air intrusion

Double pane insulated Low-E windows with the choice of three colors

Energy-efficient appliances

Energy-efficient windows

Energy-efficient heating (electric radiant floor heating, zone heating, solar heating)

Recognized Green Building Products

Water-Efficient Showerhead with H2Okinetic Technology from Delta

Delta Faucet Company showerhead uses just 1.6 gallons of water per minute. Delta worked with Bowles Fluidics Corporation to develop their H2Okinetic Technology, which produces droplets that are fairly large, resulting in good heat retention and body wetting. What makes this product green?

* Fixtures and equipment that conserve water * Equipment that conserves energy

Underwater Standing Timber Salvage by Triton Logging

Triton Logging, Inc. harvests underwater standing trees from forests that were submerged decades ago by reservoirs created by hydroelectric dams. The trees are cut, which ensures that the reservoir floor and sediments are not disturbed in the process. Douglas fir, western white pine, lodgepole pine, hemlock, and other species are recovered year-round. All of the milled wood is certified as SmartWood Rediscovered by the Rainforest Alliance. The company produces a range of lumber products and is launching a line of glulam beams made from underwater-salvaged timber.

What makes this product green?

* Salvaged products

SageGlass Tintable Glazing from Sage Electrochromics

SageGlass is an electronically tintable exterior glazing that provides glare control on demand while preserving views. The product is available from such partners as Velux, Architectural Wall Systems, Inc., Harmon, Inc., the Vistawall Group, Wausau Window and Wall Systems, and YKK AP America, Inc. While SageGlass is currently very expensive (increasing the cost of insulated glass six- to seven-fold), Sage Electrochromics expects the cost to eventually become competitive with standard high-performance glazing combined with interior mechanized shades.

What makes this product green?

* Building components that reduce heating and cooling loads * Improves light quality

WeatherTRAK Smart Irrigation Controls from HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc.

The best option for outdoor landscapes is usually native, climate-appropriate plantings that do not require irrigation, but where irrigation is required, efficiency is essential. HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. has revolutionized irrigation management in North America through its WeatherTRAK irrigation control systems that create watering schedules based on physical landscape features (soil type, slope, and plantings) as well as weather data that is beamed wirelessly to the controllers each day. Both residential and commercial WeatherTRAK systems are fully compatible with most irrigation systems, and they offer an Internet control unit. The company has partnerships with irrigation equipment providers The Toro Company and Irritrol Systems.

What makes this product green?

* Fixtures and equipment that conserve water * Reduces storm water pollution

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems by Speedheat US

Speedheat electric radiant floor heating systems conserve energy by being installed in touch directly with the floor covering. This allows the systems to perform optimally, using significantly lower amounts of electricity than similar systems and other conventional heating systems. The systems can be installed under any flooring type, including tile, hardwood, vinyl, carpeting, laminate, and portable products under area rugs. The systems use a programmable smart thermostat, used for zone heating. As a result, you only heat the areas you occupy and not the entire home.

What makes this product green?

* Energy savings

Coolerado Cooler Advanced, Indirect Evaporative Air Conditioner from Coolerado, LLC

The Coolerado Cooler is a revolutionary air conditioning system that relies on the evaporation of water (latent heat of vaporization) to cool a space, but its similarity to standard evaporative coolers, or swamp coolers, is so remote that the company does not even use the term "evaporative" to describe its product. Water consumption can be significant; it is comparable to or slightly lower than that of direct evaporative coolers--as much as 12 gallons per hour at peak load, but typically averaging about 4 gallons per hour over the cooling season.What makes this product green?

* Energy savings

Product information:

Delta Faucet Company 55 East 111th Street P.O. Box 40980 Indianapolis, IN 46280

Triton Logging, Inc. 6675 Mirah Road Saanichton, BC V8M1Z4

Sage Electrochromics, Inc. One Sage Way Faribault, MN 55021

HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. 1726 Corporate Circle Petaluma, CA 94954

Speedheat US, LLC 120 Arnold Mill Park, Suite 100 Woodstock, GA 30188

Coolerado, LLC 4700 West 60th Ave., Unit 3 Arvada, CO 80003

Sources:

Existing home-sales decline hits builder stocks - Full week for company earnings, housing data opens with a thud - /news/story/home-builders-busy-week-gets/story.aspx?guid=%7BA4CD62C3-5CCF-46B1-B673-77F4C33C4182%7D - By John Spence, MarketWatch - Apr 24, 2007Home sweet green home - Most buyers of resource-efficient homes say they're more than satisfied - /news/story/most-buyers-green-homes-satisfied/story.aspx?guid=%7B1539C4AB%2DF4E7%2D49A4%2D99D1%2D83555EC8E27A%7D - By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch - Mar 26, 2007 "Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition" - Jack TroutBuildingGreen Announces 2006 Top-10 Green Building Products - /press/topten2006/top-10-list.cfm#Delta - Jerelyn Wilson - November 15, 2006 U.S. Green Building Council - LEED for Homes - /DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=147 - Homes Pilot Version 1.11a released February 1, 2007Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy Consumer's Guide - /consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12760





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