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Why Building Inspectors Need To Get On Board With The Green Market

Sally Smith

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It seems like everyone is talking about going green. At some fundamental level, it appears that a lot of people have a deep concern for improving the environment. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing and building homes. An increased number of people are seeking to make their homes more energy efficient. There is also a move to make homes healthier for both the occupants and the environment. Additionally, there is a movement to employ the use of sustainable materials and practices when developing a home as well. Ultimately, changes to the way people think about building homes will tend to lead more to changes in how building inspectors conduct house inspections, if such professionals want to generate a greater income based on these now existing trends.

For building inspectors to truly capitalize on these trends means that they will need to begin to play the role of an energy auditor, when conducting house inspections. For a lot of green minded people, the idea of energy efficiency is key, if not critical, in their decision to build or purchase a home. Unfortunately, a typical home inspection fails to take energy efficiency into consideration far enough to be considered a green home inspection. Door blower testing for leaks and performing an analysis on electric bills over a lengthy duration, are just a couple services an inspector could provide to meet the needs of the emerging market trend of green minded home buyers.

When considering sustainable materials for use in a home, an inspector may want to point out that using materials that get replenished at the same rate or higher than they are being used up is a truly sustainable environmentally friendly practice. Such as in the case of wood that is taken from a dense area of tree growth, where the trees are replenished at a rate that is greater than they are being used up. Alternatively, a sustainable practice is another important form of conservation. Such as in the case of using water saving equipment, like low water volume flush toilets in a home, rather than toilets that use way more water than is necessary. This sort of analysis leads to a more in depth inspection, thus helping to meet a market need that can potentially earn an inspector more money for such expanded services.

Expanding an inspection to also include how a home will impact the health of humans and the environment is needed more than one might imagine. People who have severe asthma or allergies, for example, want to be sure that a home is safe for them to occupy. A home with a lot of carpeting, rather than tile floors, may not be healthy for such a resident. Or, the location where one attempts to build a home might produce a problem with a person's health or an ecosystem, which would not be healthy for the environment. Inspectors who provide this sort of analysis would be giving customers a valuable service--especially for many home owners whose health hinges on living in a home that satisfies certain pre-qualifying factors.

Inspectors can address all the above concerns and better monetize their field of expertise with additional training as a home energy auditor. They can also learn to point out green features of a home for their clients. And perhaps more importantly, if a home seller is claiming that a particular green feature exists in a home, the inspector can help the potential home buyer to determine if the claims are true or not. This can be done by acquiring from the seller the appropriate documentation necessary to substantiate such claims about the property in question. In essence, such modifications to the tasks of an inspector can dramatically improve their marketability to the growing numbers of green niche consumers.


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