Thursday, January 3, 2008

The "GREEN" home builders are coming

The Orange County United States Green Building Council Chapter has been growing exponentially over the last year and is expected to explode onto the scene as energy costs rise, product and service costs drop and the main stream understanding that "green" is often times practical sense.

The majority of sustainable building concepts are not new. They weren't invented buy a mad scientist and many are not a result of any sort of scientific breakthrough. Sustainable building concepts have been developed over the ages by man and almost completely forgotten over the last 70 years. As oil and other cheap energy came onto the scene business found it more profitable to push fancy mechanical systems upon you. As a result, home building companies have produced homes that may not even be habitable or affordable without cheap energy.

Whether you're an environmentalist, a trendy "green" yuppie or just a cheap bastard, it's easy to see why building and living more sustainably makes logical sense.

Too many home builders the newest trend to get an edge on your competition is to go "green". As a home builder today, it's difficult to separate yourself in this depressed housing market, but many are seeing green... in "green"... I know, I know. I felt embarrassed as I typed that. So anyways, it's important for consumers to be sure they're not getting caught up in the hype of an "eco-friendly" or "green" product. Both "eco-friendly" and "green" have little to no backing. They're buzz words. They're often words used to emotionally separate you from your personal wealth. So watch out!

Recently, I visited an Olson Homes Company project in Orange, CA called Depot Walk. "In-town, in style, and in reach" has been their mantra since 1988 and I believe they've got it right. First, many of their new home projects are built in existing neighborhoods opposed to taking over the foothills or other cheap open spaces. Next, the Depot Walk is as it sounds... within a very short walking distance from the train station. Also, building in the town center inspires and allows a stronger relationship with the community.

The Depot Walk is also a LEED® certified project. All 32 homes within the project come with their own solar array and more sustainable products and features then you've most likely heard of. There is no sacrifice in going "green" at the Depot Walk and like most "green" principles and products, it's a much more comfortable living environment. The LEED® certification is a rigorous and expensive process where the building(s) must meet and pass certain sustainable tests and qualifications. Not only does the certification encourage energy efficiency, renewable materials and sustainable building techniques, but it also awards builders for installing cultural features like bike racks.

Lastly, in regards to Olson Homes, I was impressed by how well informed the staff was, how much they knew about the homes they were selling and their genuine enthusiasm towards the project's ideals.

Written by, Evan T. Little

Realtor®, EcoBroker®
Volkl Investments Inc.
949.939.9687 phone

My other blogs:
Orange County, CA Community
Real Estate in Orange County, CA

1 comment:

asherin said...

Great post Evan,

Thank you for outlining the difference between Green Marketing and delivering a truly green product such as Depot Walk. Depot Walk truly is the quickest way that a homeowner can live the most complete green lifestyle simply by buying one of these very few unique eco-friendly homes. Since there are only 32 of them, anyone that lives there will be an instant green celebrity and the talk of the town! Anyone interested in minimizing their carbon footprint should consider buying a hybrid and parking it in the garage of a new Depot Walk LEED Certified Green Home.