October 2011 Newsletter

In This Issue

GRC Applauds the 2011 EverGreen Award Winners
GRC is Set to Help You Succeed in 2012
From the Director
GRC's Bright Green Future
This Month's Tips

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GRC Applauds the 2011 EverGreen Award Winners

The votes are in. They're counted. And the winners for the 2011 EverGreen Award have been picked.

The Green REsource Council and an independent panel chose four outstanding GRC members to be honored this year.

They are Evan Little, Melisa Camp, Bill Costley, and the New York State Association of REALTOR®, Inc.

The EverGreen Award winners exemplify what the GRC is all about. Winners have been dedicated to advancing the green industry, they're committed to education, they stay on top of the latest green research and science, and each day they embrace sustainable practices in their work and life.

You can read more in-depth profiles of the winners in future issues of the GRC newsletter. In the meantime, here's a snapshot of the four.

Community green pillar

Evan Little, REALTOR®, GREEN, LEED GA, has become central to the green home industry in his Southern California market. In addition to his work at Surterre Properties, Inc., where he does property sales, rentals, investments, property management and consulting, he's also been instrumental in getting green features and fields added to his local MLS.

Little spent several years organizing the Orange County Green Drinks chapter and has gotten multiple green industry credentials.
Clients give him the nod for "walking the walk" and for being a green pillar of the community.

Queen of green

Melisa Camp, REALTOR®, GREEN, LEED GA, aims to become the green queen in Phoenix, Ariz. She's well on her way. Whether it's her work with the Green Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, her service as a Board Member for the Arizona Young Professional Network or her volunteer activity her local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Camp works to build awareness and demand for green construction and renovation.

She authored and teaches a free, three-hour continuing education course to agents in the Phoenix area entitled "Speaking Green in the Residential Marketplace." She shows her commitment to green in various ways, including operating a completely paperless office and using solar panels on her house. In addition, the 30 green events she attended this year have helped her to keep her green knowledge up to date.

Setting a green example

The New York State Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (NYSAR) encourages members to get up to speed on green trends and the latest products available.

NYSAR features a distinguished faculty and has been offering NAR's Green Designation program since it began. The association offered 11 sets of courses in 2009, six sets in 2010, and eight sets in 2011. As of May 2011, NYSAR had 451 NAR Green Designees in New York State.

The association also sets a good example with its office space. It performed an energy audit on its building and has made energy-saving modifications. Among them were new, efficient light fixtures and a window upgrade. NYSAR also is evaluating a rooftop solar system.

Always a teacher 

William (Bill) Costley, an instructor for NAR's Green Designation, has always been an outdoors person and someone passionate about preserving resources. He's a lifelong teacher and spent 30 years teaching high school biology, chemistry, human physiology, and ecology. After his career in education, he teamed up with his wife to sell real estate.

But once a teacher, always a teacher.

Costley combined his interests in the environment, real estate and education in his work with the Traverse Area Association of REALTORS(R) where he's director of REALTOR(R), Education Services.

One focus has been teaching students in the Traverse City area about the value of sustainability in homes. Costley has also played an integral role in greening the TAAR MLS and he taught the entire TAAR staff and 10 percent of TAAR members NAR’s Green Designation courses. The effort helped his association receive the 2010 Green REsource Council EverGreen Award.

Meet the winners

Remember, you can read more about the winners in the coming months.

But if you need a dash of inspiration from these winners, you can meet them in person.

They'll be taking a bow during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo at a special reception on Sunday November 13th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa in the Sorrel Room.

The event is a terrific place to relax with like-minded professionals, learn about new initiatives from fellow members, and broaden your green network.

The reception is free, but you do need to register.

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GRC is Set to Help You Succeed in 2012

Like you, the Green REsource Council looks across the business landscape and tweaks its plans so that it's in the best position to deliver the green education, tools, and initiatives to help you make the most of your business.

Know that the GRC is looking out for your interests by rolling out new benefits and program upgrades in 2012.

The thinking behind the GRC's plans: "Green is a highly specialized and fast moving industry, so it’s vital that our members keep up to date on issues and trends that impact them and their clients," comments Bob Goldberg, Senior Vice President Marketing, Business Development, Commercial Services & Business Specialties National Association of REALTORS®.

Keep an eye out for new GRC programs, including:

• NAR's Green Designation Facebook app. A strong social media presence is critical to success. The GRC's new Facebook app is designed to help you ratchet up your Facebook profile and showcase your designation. And you can do it without making a heavy time and dollar investment. With GRC's Facebook app, you get an instant green presence, along with the credibility that the GRC brings to your business.

• Print shop: 2012 is a fresh year. It calls for a fresh image. So the GRC is delivering a new suite of customizable postcards. They'll be available at the Online Print Shop, and the 25 percent discount for first-time orders still stands.

Keeping pace

GRC members routinely cite the up-to-date green knowledge that the GRC delivers as a key reason for their membership.

"As the public is educated and starts making changes to go in this direction, it's imperative that REALTORS® keep pace," comments Troy Hodas of Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, Goshen, N.Y. Hodas is a participating builder in the New York Energy Star® Homes Program, he's a BPI-certified Energy Auditor, a HERS Rater and has NAR's Green Designation and was a 2009 EverGreen Award winner.

Jane Ford Clark of Jane Clark Training, Raleigh N.C., an instructor of NAR Green Designation courses, notes that the GRC newsletter and its Webinars are among the most valuable tools new NAR Green Designees can tap to get up and stay up to speed on the green housing industry. Existing members count on them too. "I use this information every day," comments David Popoff, Green, LEED AP, of William Raveis Real Estate in Darien, Conn. "Continuing education and being on top of current news and technology for homes are musts in this business."

Thus, the GRC also will continue delivering all the high-quality knowledge-based benefits you've come to count on. Those key programs include:

GRC Newsletter. The monthly newsletter is how GRC communicates with you, but it's also a vehicle for you to share your own news, ideas, and successes with fellow designees. The newsletter stories delve deeply into green topics and give you the knowledge you need to service clients, market effectively, and stay on top of this changing industry. Plus, there’s the added bonus of you being able to use newsletter articles and content in your own blogs, newsletters and messaging. Just be sure to tell people where it came from.

Webinars. Commit one hour per month to the GRC webinar and walk away with knowledge you can apply all year. The GRC taps the industry's brightest minds to deliver a quick study on need-to-know topics. Webinars cover everything from branding, marketing, and social media tactics, to updates on key industry programs, such as LEED and Energy Star. Coverage of similar critical topics are in the works for 2012.

PowerPoint presentations. The GRC offers a series of customizable presentations that you can download and tweak to your specifications. Topics include how NAR Green Designees can help buyers, sellers, and builders; reasons to consider a green property; and the tools an NAR Green Designee provides.

New clients, enhanced credibility

NAR Green Designees cite an array of rewards they've gotten by taking full advantage of their GRC membership. Among them are Sue Bechtel, GREEN, Iowa Realty, Des Moines, who says, "My green designation sets me apart from the other agents in many ways and it has brought me business I would not have had without it."

Ron Phipps, GREEN, GRI, CRS, ABR®, E-PRO®, principal broker of Phipps Realty Inc., Warwick, R.I., and outgoing NAR President says, "I am proud to have earned the GREEN designation, and I frequently apply the knowledge and insights I’ve gained from the program in serving my clients."

And translating green information in ways that are helpful to homeowners is one way David Kelman, GRI, GREEN, a practitioner with Keller Williams Realty, Westwood, Mass., uses his GRC membership, particularly the GRC website content.

So if you haven't been there in a while, take a look around the GRC site, GreenREsourceCouncil.org, to see what's available.

Your ongoing GRC participation not only is critical to your business, but to the housing industry as a whole. By sharing your expertise and staying educated about green real estate, you're making a significant contribution to making sustainable housing the standard operating procedure in the real estate business.

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From the Director

In the months that I've been the GRC managing director, I've attended a number of green industry events and I've found it rewarding to see so many real estate organizations embracing sustainability. Having a presence at national and regional green events is one way that I keep up on industry developments and get the message out about the GRC's mission.

I recently attended Greenbuild, for instance. The sessions and attendance were tremendous and I was really pleased to see the growing awareness of green homes and green real estate. Several builders said they planned to seek out NAR Green Designees in their area. And more builders are seeing the value that NAR Green Designees can bring to teams that work with buyers on both new construction and renovation projects.

The next big event is the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. If you'll be there, consider attending some of the green education sessions and be sure to stop by the Green Pavilion to meet us. We'll have several 20-minute meet-and-greet sessions with some of the green presenters.

We also can fill you in on how you can take advantage of some of the new curriculum if you are an existing NAR Green Designee. The new program classes are now available with providers around the country. Look for Green 100: Real Estate for a Sustainable Future, Green 200: The Science of Green Building, and Green 300: Greening Your Real Estate Business at state and local REALTOR® boards in your area. Though we're not able to provide discounts for live courses, you can still take them to gain the knowledge, and they may even count for CE. Be sure to check with your state first. Of course, online courses will be available at a discount of roughly 35% for existing NAR Green Designees. This discount off the bundle price of $349 for existing designees makes the price for the new program only $229.

Also on tap at the Anaheim convention is the EverGreen reception. It's a chance to meet fellow GRC members and honor this year's four EverGreen Winners, Melisa Camp, Evan Little, Bill Costley, and the New York State Association of REALTORS®, Inc. The event is free, but you do need to register.

I'm looking forward to 2012. It's going to be a great year for you and the GRC, especially with the new programs and benefits that are in the works.

Some key marketing initiatives (outlined in greater detail in other stories in this newsletter) include a green Facebook app and a new suite of customizable postcards.

And we'll keep advocating for you through referral networks like GreenHomeGuide.com and by our presence at major industry shows like Greenbuild.

As always, our objective is to provide you with the best professional connections in the green industry and find ways to give you a competitive edge.

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GRC's Bright Green Future

Having a powerhouse association like the National Association of REALTORS® behind an organization and an industry niche lends credibility and value to the effort.

So it is with NAR's support of the Green REsource Council.

It's also Sue Bechtel's take, who says, "The GRC is huge for me, and NAR being behind it is huge too."

Bechtel, a practitioner with Iowa Realty, West Des Moines, Iowa, is an early adapter to green, who has NAR’s Green Designation.

She's been instrumental in raising the profile of the GRC and green housing in her community.

For instance, she teamed up with others to form a committee to green her MLS, and she's worked to bring NAR Green designation classes to the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS®.

As a result, she says, "Our MLS is greener, we have more NAR Green Designees and green builders, and we are all keeping in touch and spreading the word about sustainability."

Meeting consumer demand 

The GRC suspects there are many more like Bechtel around the country that are looking to improve their businesses and participate in a niche that is poised to transform the housing industry.

It's one reason NAR leadership envisions a bright green future for the GRC and its designees. It also has cemented a commitment to the GRC by supporting new programs and upgraded services in 2012.

"After all," comments Bob Goldberg, Senior Vice President Marketing, Business Development, Commercial Services & Business Specialties National Association of REALTORS®, "There is emerging research that buyers are placing a premium on homes that are environmentally certified and paying for that premium. We expect that this trend will increase in years to come."

It's why the GRC was developed in the first place. As outgoing NAR President Ron Phipps, GREEN, GRI, CRS, ABR®, E-PRO®, principal broker of Phipps Realty Inc., Warwick, R.I., puts it, "NAR created the Green REsource Council specifically to help REALTORS® meet growing consumer demand for and interest in green building practices and energy efficient homes."

And that demand will likely grow, believes Jane Ford Clark of Jane Clark Training, Raleigh N.C. "Green is going to be not just the 'cause' of the day, but it will become the standard of the industry for future housing," says Ford Clark, who teaches NAR Green Designation courses."

See the other stories ("GRC is Set to Help You Succeed in 2012" and "From the Director") in this issue to learn about new benefits of GRC membership and the education and services you can tap today to position your business for the bright green future ahead.

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This Month's Tips

Lighten Your Holiday Load

Halloween and Thanksgiving are days teeming with environmental no-nos. Just think of the emphasis on junk food, disposable decorations, and other pricey items that you use once and toss.

Follow these four tips to reduce your impact.

1. Save your Halloween costume for next year's costume swap. Swaps take place across the country on the second Saturday in October. For information, see GreenHalloween.org.

2. Adopt a turkey instead of cooking one. Farm Sanctuary www.adoptaturkey.org aims to end the misery of commercially-raised turkeys by placing rescued turkeys into loving homes. It also cares for its own resident turkeys. For a $30 donation, you can sponsor a resident at Farm Sanctuary.

3. Consider using your slow cooker for Thanksgiving dishes. It's an efficient approach and it reduces your work load. Find some traditional recipes that can be made in a slow cooker, like this one.

4. If you're sending home leftovers with guests, ask them to bring their own reusable containers to cut out the need for plastic wrap and foil.

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All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted.

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