Gallery: GREEN KEY REAL ESTATE: Sustainable living in San Francisco


Chris Bartle saw a demand for green living in San Francisco, yet he admits the supply of eco-friendly buildings is minimal. So how does his company, Green Key Real Estate, pass Economics 101? Similar to GreenWorks Realty in Seattle, Bartle’s team concentrates on helping buyers and sellers green their existing homes. While new green housing is arriving slowly, Bartle knew he could work with the current stock to help meet the demand for healthier and more efficient homes.

Started three years ago as a subsidiary of The Evergreen Group, Green Key introduces concepts of green building and sustainable design to its clients, and works with them to upgrade their home before they sell or after they buy. Whether remodeling for their own living or raising the re-sale value, Green Key is educating and connecting clients to providers that can help implement the improvements. And the messages are consistent—save money, create healthier homes, and protect the environment.

Check out this Fair Companies video interview with Chris, and TreeHugger also logged a Green Key story last fall.

Here are Green Key’s top 10 green strategies for San Francisco homeowners:

1. Install fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts
2. Install high R-value insulation
3. Select Energy Star qualified appliances
4. Design water-efficient landscapes
5. Install water-efficient toilets and fixtures
6. Use recycled-content insulation, drywall and carpet
7. Use low- or no-VOC paint
8. Use formaldehyde-free or fully sealed materials for cabinets and counters
9. Vent range hood to the outside
10. Install carbon monoxide detector

Bartle notes that most of his customers already want green features by the time they show up in his office. So in large part, Green Key plays the role of facilitator. Bartle’s agents go through EcoBroker’s training and a local 2-day seminar to increase their knowledge of green strategies. Green Key incorporates national and regional programs such as Build it Green, Energy Star, and is readying for upcoming LEED-Homes, which is due to officially launch this summer.

As Bartle has helped to grow the supply and demand of green homes, he has also added some small-scale residential development to the brokerage and works with the real estate industry to add green features to the area’s multiple listing service (MLS) database.

Let us know who is connecting green home buyers and sellers in your community. We’re excited to show how the real estate industry is making green more accessible and achievable.

+ Green Key Real Estate

+ EcoBroker

+ GreenWorks


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  1. Laura & Marty Dobos June 25, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Very interesting these 10 steps.

  2. Exton Real Estate June 21, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    We are going to have to start “re storing” existing buildings etc instead of tearing them down and building new ones.

  3. Main Line Real Estate June 20, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Green Key is a great idea and very rewarding. Increases value to buyer and seller

  4. adam June 20, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    These guys are ahead of the game! While San Franciscans live comparably conscientious lifestyles, the housing market is a new frontier. LEED for homes and the subsidies for solar power, not to mention the plethora of contractors heading that way….it’s only a matter of time until we start truly embracing the tennets of responsible living. And it all starts at home, in my opinion. Now, if I could only afford to buy….

  5. Hun Boon June 18, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Somehow when we think of “green houses”, we imagine that it must be very complex. These 10 green housing tips above show that it doesn’t have to be so. We can take simple measures to make our houses green.

    But I have doubts on how much it’ll raise re-sale values by..

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