By Karen Monroe
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Going green is no longer a new concept. It's now the way we live. Being green is easy, cost-effective and almost a mandatory requirement for many people. But what is “green,” anyway? Is it a noun to be green or a verb, like greening? And does it really matter?
These days, old and new buildings alike are calling themselves green. Whether it's the LED light bulbs, energy efficient appliances and fixtures or re-purposed and sustainable materials used in construction or renovation, it's considered going green. Recycle, reuse, re-purpose – that is the green picture in a very broad sense.
Whether we live in a high-rise apartment, Brooklyn brownstone or a co-op in Prospect Park, there are simple, everyday choices we all can make to help our neighborhood become a bit greener and more sustainable.
Here goes: separate your trash as in paper, glass, plastic; switch to efficient light bulbs; turn off the lights when you leave a room; conserve your water usage and take shorter showers; use lead-free paints when freshening up your apartment; if you have outdoor space, compost; leave the car at home and walk. I could make this list eight miles long, but you get the point. It's up to us as individuals to contribute to the green scene, too.
Being green has been talked about for more than a decade, but now people are proactive about taking green steps. As real estate sales people, we can attend continuing education classes and earn certification as green building specialists. What this really means is we are able to make recommendations and refer our clients to the experts on how to best create a green living environment. Solar panels are a great idea, but not so hot when your roof is in the shade and gets no sunlight to generate energy. Windmills are cool, but really not too helpful to a single homeowner; they are best used in multiples to provide power to commercial sites or towns.
Knowing this stuff is helpful to our clients. There are even money-saving incentives available to homeowners who chose certain green options. I personally believe we should all be green. Green is the new black. But cost-savings aside, the real price is the world we leave to our kids and grandkids. We are already too late. To be green is not a question, but a lifestyle. And yes, it does matter.
On the Run
Sleep on it. No joke. If you are not certain a particular property is right, visit at different times of day or night to see how the neighborhood changes. Is it noisy or calm, scary or safe after the lights go out? You decide.
Years ago, in San Francisco, I worked with a real estate agent who recommended her clients actually spend the night in a home before making a purchasing decision. That's interesting, huh?
More recently, an agent bought her client to two open houses I was hosting in different Brooklyn Heights buildings. The buyer is sensitive to sound, so her job had an added layer of challenge. And when I say sensitive to sound, I mean super sensitive – this guy had to turn off the refrigerator because the faint humming noise bothered him. I really don't know where the perfectly silent property exists. But that's his agent's dilemma to solve.
It takes all kinds. And there really is the right property out there for all buyers. Just know what you are getting into before getting in. It never hurts to sleep on it.
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Karen Monroe practices real estate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 156 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. She lives in the neighborhood and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at [email protected].