St Lucia Real Estate Tips: 5 Ways for Green Living on the Caribbean Island

St Lucia’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty play a significant role in the island’s culture and economy. The island’s 2 major industries, tourism and agriculture, both depend on sustainable environmental practices. In 2004 the Pitons were inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their outstanding beauty and unique ecology. Environmental awareness is therefore a crucial part of life in St Lucia. Every human interaction with nature leaves behind an indelible fingerprint. When building a home in St Lucia you should be vigilant to minimize the impact on the environment. Here are 5 easy ways in which you can do so.

Do not clear land indiscriminately. Before starting construction, consider how your home will impact the tree cover in the area. St Lucia is a heavily vegetated country. The prevalence and variety of trees is one of the things which makes the island unique. Save as many mature trees as possible. Incorporate existing foliage into the design and layout of your house. This ensures that the island remains green. Mature trees also add majesty and beauty, while keeping a property cool.

Use renewable energy. Sunlight and wind are two of St Lucia’s most abundant natural resources. It is now possible to have one’s home completely powered by solar panels and wind turbines. Whether you use wind, solar or a combination of the two depends on the location of your home. For instance, home sites on the island’s east coast have a constant Atlantic breeze, and are well placed to utilize wind power. While solar or wind power will increase your construction costs, it will eliminate utility bills in the future. In St Lucia, electricity is the most costly utility and the savings will add up in the long run. Renewable energy also reduces the burning of fossil fuel and helps to keep the air clean while reducing the island’s carbon footprint.

Harvest rain water. St Lucia has approximately 2000 mm of annual rainfall. Using drainage systems, it is easy to collect rainwater, which is stored in tanks or underground cisterns. This helps conserve the island’s public water supply. It also ensures that you have a backup if there are shortages after a hurricane.

Maximize natural ventilation to minimize cooling costs. In St Lucia, air conditioning units are major culprits when it comes to high energy usage. Keeping your house naturally cool will significantly reduce your consumption of electricity. High ceilings, large windows, insulated roofs and cross ventilation are just a few ways in which your house can be designed to remain cool. Many homes in St Lucia are located on elevated hillsides where there is a constant breeze. A well ventilated house can eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the need for air conditioning. (Besides the practical benefits, high ceilings and large windows are great for admiring those amazing St Lucian vistas!)

Grow a kitchen garden. Gardens flourish in St Lucia’s rich, volcanic soil and tropical weather. It is common for backyards to be laden with tropical foods such as mangoes, guavas, dasheen or breadfruit. Eat your own organic, delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs grown right in your back yard! Once you’ve gotten your garden started it’s easy to maintain. The prevalence of backyard gardening helps ensure the island’s food security and preserves the indigenous foliage. The rewards are delicious and good for both you and the environment!

These are just a handful of ways to live a nature friendly lifestyle if you have decided to buy St Lucia real estate. The island is loved for its lush, green beauty. Everyone in the country must play their part to maintain this. Cautious real estate development can enhance rather than diminish the island’s natural environment. Energy efficiency is also a great investment as it will make your home more appealing to buyers should you ever decide to sell.

The UK’s Green Real Estate

With worries about climate change on the rise, eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The demand for environmentally sound housing is leading constructors to source innovative alternatives to traditional building materials, including straw and even grass!

Eco building consultants ‘Home grown Home’ have designed and built a cabin using bales of straw. Located in East Yorkshire, the Straw Bale cabin has been constructed using 96 full and 46 half bales of wheat straw sourced from local farms. The bales themselves bear the weight of the roof, removing the need for a timber frame. Aside from straw, other renewable materials used include sheep’s’ wool as wall insulation and paints and oils made from plant extracts. A range of recycled materials have also been put to good use including an old barn door for beams in the lounge, reclaimed railway sleepers and even pipes from the old milking parlor.

Cliveden Village in Taplow, Buckinghamshire is a development of properties built on a prestigious National Trust estate. All 134 houses and apartments have been designed to protect the environment and maintain high ecological standards. All properties have been built from rated materials such as FSC sourced timber and recycled materials from the original brown field site. Inside the homes, the use of PVC has been voided by choosing low volatile organic chemical fittings and finishes. Other eco-friendly features include solar hot water and mechanical heat recovery systems, as well as energy efficient lighting and insulation. Water use across the estate is reduced through the use of rainwater collection and low volume fittings on taps and toilets.

Dunescape is a three floor eco-property in Camber Sands, Rye. Built in 007, the environmentally-conscious house is let to visitors as a contemporary holiday home. A grass roof soaks up rainwater and solar power provides hot water in the summer. Geothermal heat from the ground insulates the house in the winter months, ensuring guests keep warm after bracing walks on the nearby beach. Finishing touches in the property include tables made from reclaimed timber, phosphate-free natural washing up liquid, vegan toiletries and organic cotton towels.

BedZED is a carbon neutral community in Sutton, South London. Completed in 2002, the housing development comprises a total of 99 homes each specifically designed to support a sustainable lifestyle. An innovative joint venture between the Peabody Trust and environmental charity arranging, the project has won a raft of awards for its cutting edge design and impressive environmental performance. Recent figures show that BedZED residents use an average of 81% less energy on heating and 8% less water than the local average.

Ecostessey Park is a development of 22 town houses on the banks of the river Tud in Norwich. Each property is built to a demanding ecological specification and is zero carbon rated. A number of environmentally-friendly features are included as standard in each home, such as photovoltaic solar panels which allow residents to sell energy back to the National Grid. Other energy efficient features include low energy lighting and a thermostatic bath to control water temperatures.

Essential Green Factors for Real Estate – Turn Green Time for Real Estate

The factors to be considered by Construction / Real Estate firms to turn green are:

Energy Saving Electricity: – Solar Power

Moving away from first generation power usage techniques i.e. depending on Electricity generated by power plants which run on water / coal, present day Realty sectors could possibly adopt the technique of absorbing the power of Sun, otherwise named as Solar Power to generate electricity.

Solar power makes us to think of energy efficient techniques in constructing a home or gated community’s viz. quipping solar Facades in exteriors to absorb the energy of SUN, painting interiors with brighter colors to radiate more light with less power etc. The other useful power saving technique could make Realty firms in turning green is automatic power off system which helps in turning off unused electricity automatically.

Inserting solar panels, solar equipped glass facades, solar powered water heaters & illuminating systems and using energy efficient paints at interiors could really help Realty firms in turning attentive to Green Earth Revolution by reducing usage of power and coal generated electricity.

Water Storage: – Rainwater harvesting tank

Water shortage, the popularized household problem these days is the major concern for Realty builders. Against drilling down 1000 to infinite feet down the ground for water and settling with non-resulted trials, some Real Estate firms have dusted the age old technique of storing water through tanks to tap the requirement of daily necessity – WATER. With the increase in demand for water and less adequate resources to fulfill it, apartment builders adopted the Rainwater Harvesting System which possibly can resolve the water problem restricted to certain qualitative measures.

Rainwater Harvest tank is a specially paved area on the rooftop / in the courtyard of a building to store rainwater or sometimes even a gutter in the garden would help to be a water harvesting tank. Heightening these kind of water storage techniques, builders could give uninterrupted water facility to dwellers though it depends on water sources i.e. rainfall in that particular area. With the minimal concerns for clean and safety water, builders can effectively use this technique to address water related problems especially without depending on ground water levels.

Plastic Usage:- High toxic levels

Matching up with the global uproar against plastic usage and to be in the path against global warming, ‘plastic-free environments’ are rapidly dotting up the cities like never before. Plastic the excessive use of which may contaminate under ground water due to its very slow decomposition levels compared to other materials can harm the marine population and is severely hazardous for drinking water. Disposal of plastics either into water or on ground should be avoided cause of the high toxicity it has in using and by manufacturing them.

Hence, in the course to turn towards greener earth, real estate firms have the need to build their gated communities or any other form of group housing insisting on absolutely ‘Plastic – Free’ environments. Indeed, attaining plastic free environment certificate will also be beneficial in escalating flat or plot sales, is also a major factor for real estate firms to turn green.

Plantation: – Air Purification

‘How about residing amid greenery? Wake up and say good morning to 75000 Tulips’; these were the catch-up lines pitched by some of the Realty firms in recent times at Hyderabad. Having heard of the same intentional messages for numerous times, it’s been proved that Real Estate has lent its hand / land to sufficient plantation required for healthy life.

More plantations in the vicinities makes the area protected from pollution thus leads to air purification which of a great concern in giving a quality living style. Against deforestation and concrete landscapes, turning to green panoramic landscapes would fetch Realty industries to cope up with the increase in need of life style away from regular hustle – bustle with more fresh and quality breath.

Waste Management Techniques: – Landfills

Probably, the foremost hectic task confronts by contemporary construction world is managing the waste. Maintaining Garbage dumping yard popularly known as landfills, has been a difficult task for present day apartment builders as the vicinities are dotted up with concrete blocks not allowing space.

In this scenario, allotting a special slot outside / inside the row housing for garbage dump is definitely a valuable idea. It creates opportunity to be hygienic and indeed can helpful in producing bio fuel. Adding to it, with the help of Plasma we can even turn garbage into Gas which is another advantage of using dumping yard or landfills. Instead of spewing up the garbage into neighborhoods and leaving the environment more unhygienic, dumping yards are of more useful methods for Realty firms in tapping the turn of green revolution.

In this way, Realty Firms can effectively turn green by following above stringent factors.

On an ending note, though the methods like solar systems and dumping yard maintenance demands more practicality, with the little care Real Estate firms can turn to greener phase easily.

Benefits Of Going Green In Real Estate

There are a number of reasons why you should go green. A green lifestyle is not only good for you but also for the environment. Moreover, making eco-friendly changes in one’s life is not as costly as many people believe. For instance, walking instead of driving whenever possible is an easy green lifestyle alteration that does not cost anything, but still helps in saving the environment. Some of the most important benefits of going green are listed below –

* Home value – The value of your home would increase, if you consider using sustainable and eco-friendly materials in your house. For example, water saving toilets and solar panels can save you a lot of money on the utility bills.

* Water bills – Using appliances with energy star ratings can help you save a lot of water and cut back on your monthly water bills. The newer low flush toilets are also highly efficient and use lesser amount of water.

* Energy bills – If more and more buildings are updated with energy saving green units for water and electricity, then people would apparently consume lesser energy annually. By making such upgrades, you can also enjoy deductions and refunds on the taxes by the government.

* Durability – Eco friendly homes tend to last longer, as compared to traditional homes. Moreover, green homes do not really need painting or treating for the outdoor projects, such as decks.

* Less toxicity – Materials that are toxic in nature come out of cleaners and paints that have volatile organic compounds in them. Green or eco-friendly houses do not support the use of such materials and thus, have a good indoor air quality.

* Less waste – By building or renovating a home, using green products, the waste can be significantly reduced, as eco-friendly products are recyclable.

* Adaptability – Green homes last for more number of years, in comparison to traditional homes. Many eco-friendly houses incorporate big open areas, which are easy and simple to rearrange and remodel.

* Preserve the surroundings – Green homes have the least footprint on the surroundings and thus, work towards safeguarding the nature.

* Conserve the natural resources – The green building practices focus on conserving the natural resources by supporting the use of recycled materials, rather than new trees.

* Affordability – Majority of the green building materials and products available in the market are available at more affordable rates, than the traditional materials. Moreover, the green alterations that you make in your life also help you save a great deal of money.

To summarize, going green offers a lot of benefits and thus, it is important for each one of us to support the “green movement” and lead an environment friendly life. By going green, you would not only be able to have a better health and improved lifestyle, but also save a great deal of money. Above all, you would be able to play a significant role in protecting Mother Nature.

Green Real Estate and Education Go Hand and Hand and the Timing Couldn’t Be Better

What a better time to think of value in residential real estate than in the present challenging times. Most are still wondering if the projections of a turn around in the current marketplace are just fiction or truth. Five steps forward and two back, then three forward and three back. So what is really going to drive value for the buyer to buy again? What does a buyer consider in today’s economic climate for the decision to buy a home? Do they think of a home for their family in terms of how their parents looked at the purchase? Do they still think a home is the American Dream where investment returns will be offered in the 6-8% in annual growth patterns as in the past?

The current climate offers a new sales technique for mortgage and real estate companies in moving property. The “short sale” market is of value to the investor, but counter productive for future community values. So, if you want to sell a home in this market, what are your options? The appraiser will always look at recent sales, and there have been several homes foreclosed and resold as short sales in your neighborhood. The bad thing is the family that wants to move across town into a nicer home, but the short sales will affect the value of their home dramatically. Appraisers will look at the most recent sales using the cost approach to determine value. This gives you only one real option to take less for your home, and hopefully buy a short sale across town if any are available. I mean why should we take such a loose; we were always on time with our mortgage and taxes, why are we being so affected by others hard times.

So you don’t sell, because you do not want to take such a loss and there are no foreclosures in the area you want to go. What do you do to build value for the future? What do you honestly think will help your home stand out in front of the others? What do you think a buyer is thinking about today? Low utility bills? Are they considering looking into solar or energy savings? Are they curious about green building and green renovation products? Here is an idea. Put $15,000 in energy efficient upgrades in your existing home, taking advantage of the tax incentives and rebates. Now, depending on the upgrades you have chosen, the property stands out in this development. With offering up to 65% lower energy bills alone a buyer desiring your neighborhood may lean towards your home even if there is a short sale for less money. The timing couldn’t be better as most are curious on how to renovate to lower utility bills. Green renovations, can make a difference in real estate values. Using healthy materials and installing more high efficiency systems will making a difference in quality of life. While economic times are challenging those involved in the energy sector hold promise for growth. Our company, Green Real Estate Education is educating all sectors in the real estate industry to bring these points to those is there markets. Our educational programs are in demand even in these economic times.

Energy Efficient Homes and proper marketing especially if they offer the added benefit of being green certified properties are some of the most sought after residences and gaining strength daily. The entire building industry is changing towards sustainable and green techniques; it’s about time we embrace the new green revolution.

It is our opinion that a home seller should separate their property from the short sales and get green products and systems into their home as soon as possible. Some may not be thinking of selling right now, maybe in the future. But all renovations need to have energy conservation and the concepts of offering healthier indoor air quality in all they do in the future. . To investigate the best and most affordable way is to do a green renovation that will produce future value, is to hire a one of the 5,000 Green Real Estate Education has trained. A GCMP-GL is a Green Certified Mortgage Professional with a Level One Green Leadership Certification and a GCREP-GL is a Green Certified Real Estate Professional with a Green Leadership Certification. These professionals will offer options many do not even realize exist. Preparing your home for your future and the future of others will be a key to a successful sale. As a buyer, using these professionals will bring you additional information for becoming more aware of what your investment can bring in the future. This can and will support value while separating your home from others.