It’s getting easier for real estate professionals to go "green."

The first training was held this month for a new Green Designation program affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.

The program, offered by NAR’s Green Resource Council, adds to a growing field of environmentally focused training programs available for real estate agents and brokers.

The National Association of Home Builders in January launched a Certified Green Professional designation, and NAHB announced in July that about 800 builders, remodelers and other industry professionals had received the designation, as an example.

NAR has nine affiliated institutes, societies and councils that offer a range of designations and certifications, such as Counselor of Real Estate (CRE), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), among a lengthy list.

NAR reported in October that more than 200 members had registered for the first Green Designation training, held Nov. 5-6 in Orlando, Fla., during the group’s annual conference.

The Green Designation program offers instruction on building techniques that are less environmentally damaging, marketing to "green" consumers, regulatory issues relating to environmental sustainability, potential cost savings for employing "green" features, and education on energy efficiency, air quality, and sustainable communities and land planning, among other topics, according to a course description.

The program is offered online and in live lecture formats at a cost of $295.

According to NAR’s Green Resource Council, buildings account for 70 percent of electricity consumption, 39 percent of all energy use, 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of raw materials use, 30 percent of waste output (136 million tons per year) and 12 percent of potable water use in the United States.

According to a consumer survey (see Inman News) conducted for Realogy Corp.’s Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise company, some consumers are willing to pay more for less environmentally impactful home enhancements.

About 30 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay $5,000 or more on green improvements to increase a home’s appeal to potential buyers, for example, and 51 percent of survey respondents said they "believe in the importance of working with a green-certified real estate agent."

The Green Designation program is the only environmental-related designation program recognized by NAR — among the other programs offered by outside groups are the EcoBroker designation and the Green Real Estate Certification (see Inman News).

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