Green homes are on the rise, but a world dominated by green real estate is far from reality. In this interview with ECOBroker John Beldock, we thought we’d take a look at ways to locate green homes that have already been built. We’ve covered lots of strategies that go into sustainable home design and construction, but how can you find a green home in your area? And how can we raise the demand for these properties?
Eastern Sierra House in Carson City, Nevada
John Beldock, CEO of EcoBroker, is working on this challenge one real estate broker at a time. EcoBroker educates real estate brokers on the ins and outs of green building, in hope that they can get more clients into green homes. Knowledge is the entire battle here – it’s a simple equation: the more EcoBrokers know, the better suited they are to buy and sell green properties. And the EcoBroker curriculum is robust, covering a wide range of principles and the major programs around the country—notably Built Green, ENERGY STAR Homes, LEED, and EarthCraft House, among others.
And even if you’re not a future EcoBroker, rest assured that Beldock and his team are working hard to raise the green IQ of our collective real estate force.
Beldock’s goal is to increase the knowledge base and confidence level among the real estate community, as well as to enrich the connection between the end consumer and their home. Brokers that complete the curriculum can brand themselves as “EcoBrokers,” thus differentiating themselves and drawing green-minded home buyers and sellers. Even as EcoBroker brings new broker recruits to the program, the curriculum is under constant development in order to keep pace with the industry. Green financing, for instance, continues to be an ever-evolving focus.
Inhabitat: Why did you start the EcoBroker?
Beldock:As real estate professionals and green building scientists, we saw a significant disconnect between the real estate and green industries. We built EcoBroker’s training curriculum, support structure, and communication platforms to bridge the gap between real estate professionals and the green market.
Inhabitat: How did the concept catch on and grow?
Beldock:From the start, we’ve put a tremendous priority on the quality of the EcoBroker, training curriculum for real estate professionals and the customer service we provide to our members and their clients. The development has required a tremendous amount of persistence, and it’s still not easy. Over the first three years, with over 600 members in 36 States and Canada, we’ve received a great deal of positive reinforcement that the bridge building, the training, and the EcoBroker platform have been truly valuable contributions to the market. We see meaningful progress in the direction of market transformation.
Ecobroker meeting with a solar consultant
Inhabitat: What have been your most challenging obstacles?
Beldock:Countless things compete for the limited time and attention of real estate professionals. We continue to develop innovative means of keeping our audiences interested and involved. Our learning curve in this regard has helped us create a great deal of institutional knowledge that has created additional benefits for our membership and beyond.
Inhabitat: Will EcoBroker ever expand to be THE clearinghouse for green properties? Some sort of national online searchable directory?
Beldock:We’ve been very deliberate about our searchable directory, and we see this area continuing to grow. Accurate representation is very important here, and a focus on proper representation will continue to set EcoBroker’s communication platforms apart. Our priority is that these platforms continue to provide value to our membership and their clients. It’s one thing to search, and another to find accurate information.
The news is good, though. You can now find a home with green features in many parts of the U.S. and internationally. The real estate industry is really catching on, and there’s tremendous enthusiasm and momentum, stemming from the availability of high quality green products and services.
Inhabitat: What’s the most fun part about running EcoBroker?
Beldock:The market transformation feedback is the most entertaining part of EcoBroker’s educational and training structure. When EcoBrokers come back and report their experiences, when consumers give us positive feedback, and when the green industry provides that same positive feedback, we continuously get the reinforcement that EcoBroker is on the right track.
Inhabitat: Is EcoBroker a sustainable business?
Beldock:Absolutely. We expect EcoBroker to be around when our grandchildren are looking for properties or environmental training for real estate professionals. And EcoBroker has the best team of professionals I’ve ever assembled in any point in my pollution prevention career.
Eastern Sierra House in Carson City, Nevada
Inhabitat: Who are your heroes in green real estate or green building? And what can we learn from them?
Beldock: EcoBrokers are our new heroes. These are the real estate professionals making great progress in their communities. In the early years of the EcoBroker program, we’re seeing the most innovative and highest quality real estate professionals. These are the real estate professionals who recognize they have to innovate to stay on top, and to maintain the degree of quality and performance their clients have grown to expect. EcoBrokers are now part of the change agent force that green market transformation enthusiasts have been hoping to see grow for some time.
About John Beldock:
Beldock built his first solar water heaters at the age of 14 and a series of solar homes in the 1980s. In the early ‘90s, he and his father developed and patented the first hypoallergenic DEET-free mosquito repellents for use in the US and in malaria-plagued developing countries. His entire career has been focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy education and applications. He has also been involved in the manufacturing of smart controllers for large and small plug loads.
Before starting EcoBroker, Beldock was the Director of the Environmental Analysis Program for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. He has taught energy and environmental classes at the University of California, University of Maryland, and George Mason University.
The Solaire Green Apartment Complex in NYC