Good and Green

New around here, I thought it would be a good idea to tell a little more about myself.  Earlier I wrote about how I like weird stories, odd facts, and the like.  Another thing I like to discuss is living a green life, and all the cool ways people can be more friendly to the earth. 

How does this apply to real estate? It has lots to do with real estate!  Green building is an industry that is growing quite quickly.  An increasing number of today’s new home buyers are aware of their impact on the environment and are insisting on the availability of earth-friendly houses.  Twin Cities new home builders are building green homes to satisfy demand.  In fact, earlier in this blog it was reported that green building is making an appearance on a very public stage in Minneapolis as the Target Center is getting a green roof, which will last longer than conventional roofs and will cut down on energy bills. 

Also, being kind to the environment and encouraging some “tree hugging” can be helpful to all Twin Cities residents.  You wouldn’t know it unless you travel regularly to large cities, but one thing our metropolis has that many others lack is a significant urban forest from all those great and green Minneapolis and Saint Paul Parks.  Because of the carbon monoxide and other chemicals that trees help to filter out of the air, the fumes from all the cars on the road aren’t completely choking us.  Not only are they beautiful, provide great places for recreation, and filter out toxins, but trees and parks increase land values, meaning all the green foliage can help to put a little green in your asset column. 

Finally, it would be hard to imagine our beautiful Twin Cities metro area barren of trees.  It would be even harder to imagine this section of the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” not having clear blue waters.  Environmentally friendly practices, like installing rain gardens, helps to keep pollution out of the Chain of Lakes, the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Falls, Lake Minnetonka, and countless other bodies of water in the area.

What makes a home “green”?  Well, there are varying degrees to which a home can be eco-friendly in its construction.  It could be made out of recycled materials, have energy efficient fixtures and appliances, include rain water diversion systems, or more.  There could be passive heating or cooling systems, like geothermal heat.  Some even have solar-power panels for electricity, though they tend to be less popular in places like Minnesota.  They aren’t unheard of up here, though, and they are totally “doable”.

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you may have noticed that green homes have been getting more attention in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.  The Living Green Expo has been a great success. The Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour in April bestowed a special category to houses that had green improvements.  The Twin Cities Parade of Homes featured eight homes that had been certified through Minnesota’s Greenstar program.  The Minnesota Solar Tour of 2008 pretty much has a self-explanatory title!  Over the summer, the Minnesota State Fair had an Eco House available for people to take a look at that had all of those aspects of green building demonstrated.

Truly, the practice of being friendly to the environment has taken off in the Twin Cities.  That’s great, because Minnesota just wouldn’t be the same without all of its natural beauty.

Want to know more? Right now there is a demonstration going on at the Mall of America rotunda.  The Good and Green Show House is a 3,000-square-foot Craftsman-style home with a holiday theme and green streak.  It features eco-friendly building materials, products, and appliances.  It will be on display until January 1, so if you’re interested (and not afraid of the holiday crowds) go take a look! 

One thing to remember when it comes to greening up your home, it’s not the scale that is important, it’s your commitment.  Whether it’s as “little” as installing a rain garden or going all out and building a customized green habitat, every little aspect can make an impact on the environment. 

Wow, that’s a lot of links.  I told you I liked green stuff! Do you know of an eco-friendly building topic or demonstration that you would like to share?  Speak up in the comments section or send me an e-mail and I’ll do what I can to cover it!

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