Its not Easy being Green in Vancouver Real Estate
We just finished a weekend at the EPIC environmental fair in Vancouver. It was very interesting. In particular, I found two things of interest:
1. It was surprising to me how much more mainstream the environmental crowd has become in Vancouver. Having been an environmental lawyer for 20 years, I have been quite aware of who is interested in the environment, and who is not for a couple of decades. It seems to me that over the past 5 years, there has been a huge jump in the "average person" environmentalist in Vancouver. Previously it seemed that there were segments of the well educated, segments of the wealthy and then a huge number of the stereotypical environmentalist. This seems to have shifted-of course these segments continue but there are a lot more "average joes" taking an interest. This is fantastic (although to achieve real environmental improvements, I think we still need a lot more people to take enough of an interest to pressure the politicians-it works!)
2. It was also surprising to me how much of the fair focused on real estate issues and the greening of real estate. There were home improvement and renovation options; yard and garden ideas; home cleaning supplies; and of course our Vancouver real estate booth. The second suprise tied into this was that people seem to now being a lot more willing to spend a little bit extra to help or at least not hurt, the environment. I think a lot now know too that at least with housing improvements, the payback for environmental upgrades usually happens fairly quickly so is definitely worth the initial expenditure.
I spoke to an architect at the fair who has been trying to do this type of work for years and he said people haven't been willing to spend the extra 10-15% initial costs. He says that clients will be committed to the environment but when he tells them that it will cost them an extra amount, they say "do whatever you can to help the environment as long as it