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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Expanded Wilmington MLS features help promote environmental sustainability, building council panelist says

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Finding and developing environmentally friendly properties in the Wilmington area will be easier with a feature of the Wilmington-area expanded real estate multiple listing service.

When the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors expanded the MLS system to include 10 neighboring systems, it allowed for the MLS to list “green certifications” that can help residential and commercial buyers focus on sustainability, said commercial real estate appraiser Elise Rocks during a U.S. Green Building Council North Carolina event on climate change at Bluewater Grill in Wrightsville Beach on Thursday evening.

While there are a few listings that now highlight “green features,” Rocks said more information and participation from home sellers and listing agents will help

“We don’t have the data that we need to support a full green evaluation,” said Rocks of the JC Morgan Company. “The more that Realtors put up this information, the better it will get.”

A full green evaluation would include a range of characteristics, including energy efficiency, landscaping and walkability, she said.

Environmental sustainability in housing and commercial buildings can be implemented through all parts of the design phases, said Lauren Brown of the Wilmington interior design firm Big Sky Design, an audience member at the event. The firm works with architects in the design process to help maximize sustainability, she said.

“It’s the placement of windows, energy efficient lighting, water-efficient plumbing, low-VOC paint,” Brown said. While environmental sustainability can have higher up-front costs, “you can see the turnaround in energy savings quickly,” she said.

The council held the event to help local real estate developers and professionals learn about the impacts sea level rise and changing weather patterns from climate change could have on North Carolina’s coastal communities.

The dangers for Wrightsville Beach include the potential for increased damage from stronger storms, as well as sea level rise. And while the greatest impact wouldn’t likely occur until centuries in the future, stronger storms might be the trigger that starts migration away from coastal town like Wrightsville Beach.

Dr. Lawrence Cahoon, professor of biology and marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, said climate change could lead to stronger hurricanes, with average wind strength rising from 120 mph up to 140 mph. And while that may not seem like much of a difference, Cahoon said there is a cubic relationship with wind power and the destruction it can cause.

“It gets really expensive and difficult, really fast,” Cahoon said.

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