Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


Sustainability in the housing market.
January 13, 2009, 2:58 am
Filed under: Market Conditions, Rebecca Sargent, Sustainability | Tags: ,

More sustainable living options are available, but the real estate market has been slow in responding to these options. Perhaps people are unaware of the options that are avilable to them. The market is based on the demands of the people, and the people aren’t demanding it. Realtors aren’t advising their clients to upgrade to more sustainable solutions because many improvements don’t increase the value of properties in the market by as large amounts as other more cosmetic upgrades. Not all builders or contractors are salvaging and recycling their materials or using more sustainable solutions in their building practices because they don’t know they exist or believe it is too costly. The government housing structures and policies have not legislated enough to ensure that more sustainable housing is mandatory. It is a complicated system that is influenced by many factors, but you as buyers and sellers of real estate property can help sway the tide.

Not only are sustainable living measures looking towards the long-term health of the population, and the planet, but most also make long-term financial sense. A more efficient home, that uses sustainable options wastes far less energy, and therefore money. Many simple and easy solutions result in instant savings. Caulking windows, adding insulation, turning off lights, unplugging unused appliances or switching to a programable thermostat are cheap alternatives that can save you a bundle. There are low-flow toliets, and shower-heads for the bathrooms; even fixing simple leaks or drips is important. There are tons of energy-efficient appliances that reduce energy waste. You can insulate your hot water heater and pipes. There are soo many options for you to reduce your consumption in your home for little to no cost (and actual savings on your energy and hydro bills)! If you want to know more, please ask me!

An initial moderate investment in more efficient heating systems, windows, roofing, etc. can result in significant difference in energy usage resulting in great savings! A more significant investment into sustainable energy solutions such as solar panels, wind turbines or geothermal powering can reduce your energy bills to zero, and possibly even result in rebates if you sell your excess back to the system. Wind turbines can start at as low as $2,500.

Did you know that can switch over to sustainable power in your home today? It is slightly more expensive than traditional energy supplies, but means that you are not using polluting and non-sustainable solutions such as natural gas, or coal; or using potentially dangerous raditation producing nuclear supplies. Bullfrog power supplies Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge with alternative sustainable power supplies. Check out http://www.bullfrogpower.com to learn more.

The governments of Canada and Ontario offer rebates and programs to help assist you in retrofiting your home to be more energy efficient and sustainable. There are nearly $10,000 worth of grants available to many households to do this. Take advantage of them. Check out Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/incentives.cfm to learn more about these programs or ask me!

If the market (YOU- when buying or selling a home) begins demanding these changes- they WILL happen! We all have a part in this, and can work together to make change happen!

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