Maybe Kermit was right, and it’s not easy being green. But that’s not stopping Northern Michigan Realtors from trying.

TAAR–the Traverse Area Association of Realtors–has been designated a model for the nation for the new National Association of Realtors’ Green Designation, a certification program that was developed to provide advanced training and resources so members may respond to growing consumer demand for so-called green homes. The premise is that not only is being green when it comes to building and remodeling a good idea environmentally, it actually adds value to the home, and Realtors should have a clear understanding of how to gauge that value.

Being green means not just adding extra insulation, though that’s almost always a good choice. It also involves building practices, using sustainable goods in construction and remodeling, and keeping energy costs constrained, both in the manufacture and building processes and in the home’s usage and maintenance.

The instructors "talked about things like Energy Star compliance, advanced framing techniques, and the use of natural daylight,” said Judy Porter of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, one of those who attended the TAAR class. Porter said that a recent survey showed that green features were very important to 46 percent of those responding, and another 46 percent said green features were somewhat important.

“The trend is that the market is clearly headed that way,” Porter said. “People are becoming more sensitive to the operating costs of a home.”

Matt Dakoske of RE/MAX Bayshore Properties also attended the green designation class. He said he believes the project will help members to guide the discussion of building green and sustainability in relation to real estate. “I find that as I continue to list green homes and buildings, I am learning how to guide buyer clients in purchasing green. I also am trying to be more aware of green principles in my day-to-day practice,” he said.

So maybe it’s becoming easier to be green. It is certainly becoming more important.

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