What You Can Do to Make Your Community Greener and Why You Should


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Paul Denikin


How communities build and grow has a significant impact on the environment. Manufacturing, constructing, designing, and operating buildings use a large share of the world's natural resources. According to statistics, buildings in the United States account for 68% of total electricity use, 39% of total energy use, 38% of carbon dioxide emissions, 30% of landfill waste, and 12% of water consumption.


Benefits of Green Buildings

Green buildings have many benefits for people, the environment, and the economy. Sustainable buildings have features that improve the indoor environment. They also use less water, are made with fewer toxic materials, are more efficient to operate, cost less to maintain, emit fewer greenhouse gasses and reduce the use of non-renewable resources.


Features of Green Buildings

Green buildings feature improved lighting sources, ergonomic workstations, and upgraded air quality. They have water-efficient plumbing fixtures that reduce water waste, water recycling systems, and can use alternative sources of water. Green buildings are built without materials that may contain substances that are harmful to human health and feature design elements that reduce energy use.


Benefits of Energy-Efficient Community Lighting

Public parking lots and community areas are often brightly lit to discourage crime, prevent slips and falls on vestibules, stair wells and walkways, reduce traffic accidents, and ensure that people can see where they are going. Your community can maintain safety standards while also using less energy by installing lighting that automatically senses and adjusts light levels instead of being at full power the entire time it is on — energy efficient, better control, much more.


Community Education

Invite your neighbors over and talk to them about the importance of green building. Encourage them to shop with local businesses that engage in sustainable practices and vote for politicians who are committed to green building. Create an educational newsletter about green building and send it to your neighbors, local business owners, and local officials. Host educational events. Show up at school board meetings, town halls, and other public events to speak about the importance of green building practices.


Self Education

Stay informed about the issues. The more educated you are on current topics that affect your community, the better you will be able to persuade others. Read your local newspaper. Check your community's website. Get involved with local non-profit organizations.


Know the law. Federal, state, and local laws are an important part of protecting the environment. Know which laws are already on the books and how they are enforced. Keep up with pending legislation. Stay informed about what types of new laws or changes to existing laws are needed. Many laws and regulations are available online. You can also obtain copies from state agencies, community boards, and city or town clerks.


Decision Making Process

Make sure you know who makes the decisions in your community and what the decision-making process is. Talk to community officials to find out what local procedures are. Find out if officials in your area are required to make meetings, voting sessions, and deliberations open to the public. Find out what the process is to obtain government documents and records. Know who the stakeholders are and what they have at stake.


The world is running out of time to reverse the effects of climate change. Encouraging your community to engage in green building practices is one way you can make a significant contribution to combating climate change.

 

All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about buying a home in NC, our experts at EXP Realty are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a EXP agent about buying homes or land in North Carolina.

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