Portland (Oregon) has done it again. The number-one city in SustainLane's US City Rankings will become next year the first U.S. city to make green home features such as LEED or Energy Star accreditation show up in the city's real estate multiple listing service (MLS).
As anyone who has bought real estate knows, the MLS format is a standardized template--the green MLS in Portland could well become a standard for such listing services across the nation, particularly in areas where there is adequate supply and demand for green features.
I met the person who was largely responsible for this further mainstreaming of the green building movement, Kria Lacher, with Meadows Group Realtors. In June, Lacher came to the SustainLane event we had awarding Portland as the most sustainable U.S. city and she described to me then how she was trying to make the green MLS happen in the area since last year.
She told me today that come 2007 the MLS listing will have a pull-down menu for new homes that meet third-party green certification standards including the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the US EPA's Energy Star, and Earth Advantage, one of 65 regional or local green building standards in the U.S., according to Larcher.
The Portland metro area MLS will also include standalone criteria search options for existing homes such as high-efficiency furnaces, off-grid or supplemental solar energy systems, and solar water heaters. Portland's metro extends into neighboring Washington State's Vancouver area.
Most of the homes Lacher handles either have green features, are close to public transit, or are good candidates for solar energy and other green building systems.
Lacher refuses to rest on her laurels--"I'm just getting started," she said. "The next opportunity is to convince banks to make loans that take into account life-cycle cost savings for homeowners that result directly from green building features."