Real estate agents in South Florida know that resilient features that help protect homes against hurricane damage are popular with consumers.
Whether it’s high-impact windows, a home’s design, or “smart” electronics, a homeowner’s investments in resiliency pay benefits. Resilient homes also tend to be more energy-efficient, helping homeowners save on monthly utility bills.
Building resiliency into homes in South Florida isn’t a trend, it’s a necessity.
Steadily rising sea levels and stronger hurricanes threaten our region’s coastline and even some inland communities. By 2060, climate experts predict that South Florida’s sea levels will rise by 14 to 34 inches from today’s levels.
Elected leaders are addressing the threat through the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. This collaboration brings together officials from four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach) and many of the region’s cities. They work with business leaders and other stakeholders to implement practical policies and solutions to this critical challenge.
The climate compact intends to reduce climate risks and foster long-term economic growth by coordinating infrastructure resiliency throughout South Florida.
This is a wise public investment in our region’s future. According to the Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, every $1 spent on mitigating natural disasters saves taxpayers an average of $4.
Real estate is one of Florida’s largest industries, so what can real estate agents do to help reduce the effects of sea-level rise?
Selling more buildings that feature green technologywould be a great start.
After all, selling is our business, and South Florida boasts innovative green residential and commercial buildings that are resilient and energy-efficient. Some are designed with battery storage units to charge electric vehicles. These “smart” green buildings represent some of the most resilient building stock available.
However, to sell green properties, real estate agents, appraisers, buyers and sellers need to be able to find them in the first place.
Right now, green buildings are difficult to pinpoint in this region’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — the database of properties on which the real estate industry relies.
At the moment, the MLS does not contain search fields for such “green” features as solar electricity, passive solar design and resiliency features. Conducting searches for these features is a hit-and-miss proposition.
The Realtors trade association that serves Broward and Palm Beach counties (“Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale”), operates the region’s MLS. The group is working to correct this search deficiency.
A newly created “Green Task Force” will make recommendations to the association’s board on modernizing the MLS to enable agents to readily identify “green” or “high performance” homes.
Making resilient “green” homes easier to find in South Florida’s housing market should help spur additional demand among homebuyers. That, in turn, will benefit the region’s economy and lessen the damage caused by our changing climate.
Craig Cox is a licensed Realtor based in Boca Raton. He is a former clean energy trade association executive and is a longtime advocate for clean energy and climate policies that create beneficial new economic opportunities.
“The Invading Sea” is a collaboration of the editorial boards of the Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald, with reporting and community engagement assistance from WLRN Public Media. For more information, go to TheInvadingSea.com.