In 2011, about 17% of the residential construction market was green building, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Smart Market Report. By 2016, it is estimated that between 29 – 38% of the residential market will be green.
“This notion that green building is on the fringe is just not accurate any longer,” says Fiona Douglas-Hamilton, founder of SEEC, LLC, an education and consulting firm specializing in green building evaluation.
Beginning on May 1, Douglas-Hamilton will be leading a series of four workshops geared for real estate professionals. While each course can be taken on its own, the series will significantly progress a broker’s understanding and knowledge of green and energy efficient new homes and retrofits.
“We know that consumers still rely on brokers for current real estate information, but real estate brokers often have the least amount of education about green building,” says Douglas-Hamilton. “The workshops will get brokers up to speed rapidly so they can not only visually identify green building features, but can speak to their benefits.”
Douglas-Hamilton notes that there are some substantial changes coming soon to the NWMLS. “They will be adding quite a number of green fields to the input form. The fourth class (in the series) introduces brokers to a ‘Green Features ’ digital booklet. The booklet imitates how a broker walks through a house, verifying details for the input form,” she explains. This topic will be covered in detail during the fourth course.
With an extensive construction background, Douglas-Hamilton’s experience is suited for this educational series. She has taught continuing education courses to over 400 appraisers on green building and valuation methodology. Her company is an approved real estate school in both Washington and Oregon.
Her career in construction began in the mid-1980s in commercial building. Douglas-Hamilton moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1995 and continued her career in residential construction. She became heavily involved in Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, a four-state non-profit focused on green building awareness for both contractors and the general public.
“As a green builder in Olympia, I found that so much of my time was spent on educating clients, subcontractors and ensuring appraisers understood the difference between a code built home and the green or high performance home they had been assigned,” she recalls. “I was always talking about how we recognize green in the market and value something that is inherently better for us.”
During the four classes, the perception that green building both costs more and is somehow a product that only appeals to tree-huggers is firmly addressed. “I approach green from a very practical perspective, drawing on my experience as a builder to demonstrate green homes are really just homes built to best construction practices. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want either a new or remodeled home that was better built, more durable, had excellent indoor air quality, while costing less to own and operate?” Douglas-Hamilton summarizes.
The four-part realtor education series is sponsored by Thurston Energy and Olympia Federal Savings. For the first twelve brokers to register and pay there is a Two for One offer. To progress your knowledge as a real estate broker, register online.