Ecologically friendly, economically smart - green is the new gold standard for outfitting a home



    - Royal LePage Eco Home Survey finds 88 per cent of Canadians want green
    qualities in their home -

    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - Green friendly home improvements will likely
yield a solid return on investment come selling time as almost three quarters
of Canadians (72%) say they will look for a green-improved property in their
next home purchase, and 63 per cent will be willing to pay more for an
environmentally friendly home, according to the Royal LePage Eco Home Survey
released today.
    The Royal LePage Eco Home Survey, which examines the attitudes and
opinions of Canadians with respect to green living, found that Canadians are
willing to pony up cash for greener home features. In fact, of the majority of
Canadians who are willing to pay more for an eco home, 62 per cent are willing
to pay between $5,000 and under $20,000, for green features, while eight per
cent (8%) of respondents are willing to spend $20,000 or more on a home deemed
green.
    "The mood of Canadian homebuyers and sellers is changing with the times -
environmental concerns are impacting the decisions people are making about
their dwellings. From simple energy conservation efforts to the more elaborate
use of organic building materials, the environmentally conscious mindset that
our agents are seeing in clients is not a passing trend," said Phil Soper,
president and CEO, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "To service this growing
segment of the real estate market, we are pleased to launch our partnership
with the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) as well as
the green accreditation program. This program will educate and empower our
REALTORS(R) and brokers, as well as consumers on how to make eco-friendly
decisions when it comes to the home."
    Through various education courses funded in part by the Ministry of
Energy, Royal LePage real estate agents will be trained by the National
Association of Green Agents and Brokers to assess environmental elements
within a home and identify properties that adhere to green standards. Royal
LePage members who take the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers
training will be easily identifiable though a special designation logo.
    "Few people realize that residential, commercial and institutional
buildings represent more than 33 per cent of our total greenhouse gas
emissions," said Elden Freeman, National Association of Green Agents and
Brokers founder and executive director. "While it is unreasonable to
completely reduce carbon dioxide created by homes, there are various practices
homeowners can implement, such as installing high-energy efficient windows,
doors and insulation, high efficiency furnaces and appliances, and
water-conserving fixtures such as showerheads and toilets that will
significantly reduce negative effects on the environment."
    While positive changes are occurring in the general population there is
much work to be done. More than half (51%) of all survey respondents say they
are very concerned about the environment and think we are in dire need of
change some are not as quick to implement changes. When asked, "What is
preventing you from making your home more green?" over half (54%) of
respondents said it was too expensive to do, while 15 per cent said they have
no idea where to start.
    Added Soper: "Canadians need to know that going green can certainly be
within their means and within their reach. There are many simple and
affordable measures that can lead to big gains for the environment, and many
of the practices can actually save homeowners money."

    Small Steps for Big Change

    When it comes to describing how green their current lifestyle is, 72 per
cent of Canadians say they engage in traditional recycling practices. Making a
difference can be as simple as implementing small environmentally friendly
practices. The most popular green modifications that poll respondents already
implement in their homes include switching from regular light bulbs to CFL
light bulbs (74%), adding window and door sealers to prevent heat loss (61%)
and switching to high efficiency washers and dryers and using low flow water
fixtures (54%).
    Some homeowners are taking bigger leaps. Caryn Thompson, a Toronto-based
health promoter and owner of an eco-friendly home, is among those Canadians
that took on green modifications when she and her husband decided to renovate
their home. To create their eco enclave they opted for highly energy efficient
windows made with low-e glass that decreases heat gain in the summer and keeps
the house warm in the winter, installed central air that uses puron, and have
painted with low or no VOC (Volatile organic compounds) products.
    "When we decided to renovate our home, we wanted to make choices that
would have the least impact on the environment and create a healthy indoor
space for us," said Caryn Thompson.

    Motivating Forces of Nature

    When asked, "What is the most influential factor for making your home
more or completely green?" 35 per cent of respondents cited they are doing it
for their children so they inherit a healthy planet; 32 per cent are doing it
for the cost savings; and one quarter (25%) are doing it for their health and
to have peace of mind they are living the best they can.
    Mature Canadians edge out the younger set when it comes to recycling.
Respondents aged 55+ (77%) are more likely than those aged 18 to 34 years
(67%) to engage in traditional recycling practices.
    More women (31%) than men (18%) are going green for their health.
Conversely, more men (41%) than women (23%) cite cost savings as the most
influential factor for making a change.

    
    Additional Poll Highlights
    --------------------------

    -   Atlantic (72%) residents are the most likely to pay more, whereas
        Ontario residents (60%) are the least likely to pay more for an
        eco-friendly dwelling.

    -   Fourteen per cent (14%) of homeowners are already living in an
        eco-friendly abode.

    -   The survey found that 16 per cent of respondents say they exercise
        their green side from time to time, when it is convenient, and only
        nine per cent (9%) claim to be at one with Mother Earth, and live a
        very green lifestyle.

    -   Seventy-eight (78%) believe there is a direct link between the
        unseasonably warm temperatures and decades of the world's lack of
        awareness about the environment. Albertans are the most reticent
        about such a link, with 68 per cent of respondents from Alberta
        claiming to see a link, whereas 82 per cent of people in Quebec
        believe the two elements are related.
    

    Poll Methodology

    Angus Reid Strategies conducted poll portion of the Royal LePage Eco Home
Survey, with fieldwork completed on Tuesday, October 16, 2007. The poll was
conducted on-line with a national representative sample of 1,266 Canadians
survey respondents aged 18 year and older. The results have a maximum margin
of error +/- 2.75% 19 times out of 20.

    About Royal LePage

    Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to
residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 13,000 agents and
sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada operating under the Royal
LePage, Johnston & Daniel, and Realty World brand names. Royal LePage manages
the Royal LePage Franchise Services Fund, a TSX listed income trust, trading
under the symbol "RSF.UN." For more information visit www.royallepage.ca.

    About National Association of Green Agents and Brokers

    The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) is Canada's
largest non-profit association of real estate agents committed to reducing
greenhouse gas emissions. The association's Greenrealestate(TM) curriculum
provides an education and certification program for real estate agents.
Through the association's innovative offerings, real estate agents promote the
benefits of energy conservation to their buyers and sellers. The National
Association of Green Agents and Brokers has over 15,000 affiliate members
coast-to-coast and boasts support from major corporate and government
sponsors. For more information visit www.nagab.org.





For further information:

For further information: Tiffany Fisher, Mansfield Communications Inc.,
Phone: (416) 599-0024, Or e-mail: tiffany@mcipr.com


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