Atlanta Takes the Lead in LEED Development

Did you know that on the national map, Atlanta is regarded as one of the most “organically-green” regions?

That means that “green” is driven by market demand and not government mandates. We dive deeply into this issue in our new book due out later this month: “Green Matters: The Residential Builders, Visionaries, Communities & Lifestyles Shaping Atlanta’s Landscape,” www.GreenMattersToday.com which takes a unique look at this issue, and features interviews with myriad renowned business leaders and lifestyle experts. The book explains where the housing market is headed and why, how to optimize your investment as a buyer or owner, and how to begin adopting a greener lifestyle.

Research on the book began in 2006 when Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Analytics and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction, declared “Green homebuilding is at a tipping point among the builder population. The data we recently collected indicates 2006 to 2007 is the time frame from which the builder population moves from a majority less involved to more involved with green building. The market is expected to expand up to $38 billion by 2010.”

McGraw-Hill is North America’s leading provider of construction project information, plans and specifications, product information, industry news, and industry trends and forecasts. So we came back to McGraw Hill in 2008 and asked whether green homebuilding has in fact “tipped” as they projected in 2006. The answer was an emphatic “yes.”

Take a look at a release that they issued in May 2008.

We spoke with Michele Russo, the Director of Green Content & Research Communications at McGraw-Hill Construction last spring. She has the LEED accreditation, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University.

“[All this work] traced back to what we did in 2006,” she said. “We asked some other questions, but we also wanted to see what had happened since then. Housing, the economy, conditions are drastically different. It’s great what we found. Even though the market is down, the percentage that’s green is actually increasing. That was the good finding. Anecdotally, we’ve heard people saying that. People are reporting that they are getting more marketing push out of being green in the down economy, but what was nice about the research is that it confirmed what we’ve been hearing anecdotally. That was one finding I found to be particularly helpful. There’s a silver lining amid all the bad economic news.”

“What we found in this study – and it was no surprise – is that the Southeast, the Pacific Northwest and the West were big growth areas for green,” she said. “One factor is simply the amount of generalized construction down there. Because they’re actually doing a lot of construction relative to other regions, they are able to incorporate things like LEED much more readily. I think this contributes to a lot more public awareness. Also, the Southeast is a prime area for senior citizens, and we are seeing that housing for this market is going green much faster than the mainstream.”

To hear more about our interview with Michele Russo, be sure to get your own copy of Green Matters Today!

mikephotoMichael Eastman is an Atlanta Relocation Specialist, Columnist, Co-Author of “Green Matters: The Residential Builders, Visionaries, Communities & Lifestyles Shaping Atlanta’s Landscape” and a 1984 graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in Economics. He is a member of the Million-Dollar Club and a 2007 award recipient for multi-million dollar sales volume. He has 20-plus years sales experience, has generated over $70 million in revenue and is currently with Solid Source Realty. He is also the Founder of TeamIvy, a 12-year-old professional networking organization in Atlanta comprised of nearly 2,000 alums from the Ivy League Universities and Seven Sisters Colleges. Board members include graduates of Yale, Harvard, Bryn Mawr, Emory, Cornell and the Wharton School of Business. TeamIvy hosts Business Networking Breakfasts and Luncheons with Guest Speakers, fund raisers, Tables for Eight dinners, wine tastings, and book signings.

Jill Elizabeth Westfall was a bylined Contributor to Money magazine for 15 years, and has shared investing and cost-cutting tips with HGTV’s The Front Door, Glamour magazine, Woman’s Day Online, and BobVila.com. Her work has also been featured in People, MORE, Time, Newsweek, Newsday, The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsday, CNN International, Rocky Mountain News, The Asbury Park Press and The Anchorage Daily News. She is the co-author of “Green Matters: The Residential Builders, Visionaries, Communities & Lifestyles Shaping Atlanta’s Landscape” (January 2009).

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