The average homeowner in Asheville is no stranger to green building. Ours is an environmentally-friendly community, generally speaking, and we’ve incorporated that love of environment into almost every aspect of our lives, including our homes. Still, it can be difficult to know how best to optimize the energy efficiency of our homes and reduce their impact on the environment – that’s where Mary Love and Love the Green come in!
Love, who is originally from Tennessee, has always had an interest in the environment. She is an environmental scientist with a green building specialty, who currently operates a real estate consulting firm. She and her colleagues at Love the Green work with both buyers and sellers, both of existing homes and new construction, to ensure that environmental and energy consumption requirements and goals are met by providing consultations and referrals to a team of qualified vendors.
While this might sound simple, Love stresses that green building is science, and the bar for the current building code is set high. Things are always changing, and the goals of homeowners and Love the Green have to adapt along with that. This makes green building a dynamic industry, and one with many different variables. There are many factors that contribute to certification as a green-built house, and “green-built” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everyone.
Currently, Love says, one of the main goals that homeowners bring to Love the Green is the achievement of net-zero homes. A net-zero home, in simple terms, produces at least as much energy as it consumes – it breaks even on its energy consumption. Achieving this goal, she says, not only creates an environmentally-friendly home but can also save the homeowner a significant amount of money.
Aside from the relatively obvious things that many homeowners wish to control – electricity usage, insulation, and so forth – Love says that water consumption is another major player in green building. One area in which she hopes to see growth is that of greywater systems – it doesn’t always make sense, she says, to use fresh water for things like water lawns and plants, and greywater, which is wastewater generated from things like sinks, showers, and washing machines, has a role to play in conserving water. Many homeowners are already using rain barrels, and can also use limiting devices on sinks, toilets, and such. These are easy and cost-effective ways to reduce consumption and positively impact the environment.
Many of these changes are easy to make, but they can be mired in confusion and misconceptions. One of the biggest things that real estate professionals need to get past, Love says, is that every buyer and seller may have a different definition of green building or energy efficiency. These can mean something different to everyone, and it’s important to be able to identify what is important to each individual client. To that end, Love offers a class for realtors that helps them learn how to talk to their clients so that they can understand exactly what they want – it’s important, she says, to be educated about all of the benefits of green home certification in order to be able to serve every client well.
Still, even with the best education and intentions, not every client will be convinced. So how does Love handle skeptics? She talks numbers! Tell clients how much money they’re going to save with energy efficiency component and water conservation, she says, and you’ll likely win them over, as it were, to the green side.
Want to learn more about green building and the services that Love the Green offers? Visit www.LoveTheGreen.org, www.GreenBuilt.org, or email Mary@lovethegreen.org or text 828-279-6723.