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Sustainability

PMAR Green

With a changing climate and a growing emphasis on more environmentally conscious practices, the idea of sustainability is more important now than ever before. Your clients expect you to be informed on sustainable practices, particularly with Portland continually ranking as one of the nation’s most sustainable cities.

Don’t know where to start? PMAR is here to help. Our Sustainability Page is here to help you learn the basics of sustainability as well as sustainable home improvement projects, recycling, business practices, sustainable preservation and more.

The site is updated quarterly, at minimum, to ensure information is accurate and up-to-date. Per policy, we only link to non-profits or governmental agencies. The one exception is in the Realtor® Education section, where we do link to a few for-profit education providers.

What does "sustainable practices" mean?

Sustainable practices are actions that can be taken in every day life that use resources in a responsible way and do not harm the environment. The most basic example of this that we are all familiar with is the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

In the homebuying world, this can mean buying a house with energy efficient features or one that has been renovated using non-toxin and/or recycled/salvaged materials.  Both of these are examples of using resources in a responsible way, and both work towards ensuring that our planet will be able to support life in the future.

Why is this important to my business as a Realtor®?

Realtors® have a responsibility to keep up to date on sustainable practices and understand the financial aspect and livability issues of various properties in order to help their clients think through these issues as a part of the decision making process. While you are not expected to be an expert, it is important to have a basic understanding and provide access to good and reliable resources.

Whether you want to obtain a certification, a degree, or simply want to stay informed, we’ve gathered resources that Realtors® can use to help education themselves on the issue of sustainability.

RMLS has also compiled a list of features you might see when walking through a home with sustainable improvements. Learn from their Green Features Guide here.

Classes & Events
Information is verified for accuracy quarterly at a minimum; however, always verify course information by clicking on the “additional course details” link. Inclusion of an education program on this site does not constitute endorsement by PMAR.

Sustainability Seminars
Portland State University offers various free seminars throughout the year on sustainable practices. Additional course details can be found here.

Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network. A United Nations University Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. View their classes and workshops here.

LEED Green Associate: A foundational credit for professionals
The LEED Green Associate Exam measures general knowledge of green building practices and how to support others working on LEED projects. This course is ideal for real estate professionals, contractors, and those new to green building. Additional course details here.

Green Designation for the National Association of Realtors®
Position yourself as a leader in green real estate by learning about energy efficiency/sustainability issues as well as custom marketing tools. The only NAR-recognized real estate designation on sustainability issues. Learn more about their online and in-person classroom options here.

Energy Trust-Sponsored Education
Click here for their online events calendar which features trainings, workshops and events related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability topics.

Become an Energy Trust Trade Ally. Join Energy Trust’s ally network and learn how to promote energy efficient improvements and cash incentives to your clients. Find more information here on how to participate.

EcoBroker® Certification
EcoBrokers® are there to help clients address issues with water quality, indoor air quality, solar energy, environmental property history and more. Find more information on how to obtain your EcoBroker® certification here.

Earth Advantage-Sponsored Education
Earth Advantage Broker (formerly E.A. S.T.A.R.)

The Earth Advantage Broker accreditation course provides real estate professionals with a competitive edge in communicating features and benefits for green and energy efficient home opportunities in their market. Additional course details here.

Sustainable Homes Professional
Learn cutting edge building best practices required to design and build high performance homes. More information here.

You can also find more Earth Advantage-sponsored trainings and resources here.

Most of the following actions were selected by the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program as starting points for a small office working to make its operations more green. In addition, completing many of these actions will apply toward recognition in Sustainability at Work’s business certification program.

Materials and Waste

  • Get free recycling boxes from Sustainability at Work and set up an efficient recycling area in your office.
  • Set all computers, copiers and printers to print double-sided by default.
  • Use a system of collecting one-sided copies and use the blank side for scratch paper or in a designated draft printer.
  • Three major office supplies (including copy/printer paper) are made of 30% or greater post-consumer recycled content.
  • Provide durable dishes (including coffee mugs) in the office.

Energy

  • All employees turn off computers each night.
  • Use power settings that automatically turn off or hibernate idle monitors and printers after 15 minutes or less of inactivity.
  • Use programmable thermostats to automatically reduce heating and air conditioning during closed hours.
  • Occupancy sensors or timers are used for lighting in storage rooms, offices, restrooms, and other common rooms.

Transportation

  • Teleconference and videoconference technologies are used.
  • Workplace website lists transportation options for guests.
  • Provide bike parking for staff and customers.
  • Make available free bike, transit, and walk maps for employees and customers (Smart Trips Business Program).
  • Get There is a local ride matching tool that matches you with people going your way for work or play to create a carpool
  • Transit Pass Programs are available for employers to provide as a benefit to your employees. Tri-Met offers free services and support including a newsletter, fairs, surveys, staff training, new employee kits and more.

Water

  • Install free faucet aerators in the kitchens and restrooms available from Sustainability at Work.
  • Employees and guests drink tap water rather than bottled water.

Information and Education

  • Appoint and empower and employee or team of employees to lead sustainability efforts.
  • Make sustainability related information available to staff.
  • Recycle at Work is another program that offers free, customized assistance to all types of businesses throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Request assistance and access online tools. Get free recycling containers, posters, presentations and other education materials.
  • Receive Kill A Watt monitors free from your local libraries to measure how much electricity electric devise are using when plugged in. Find a participating library here.
  • Use Energy Trust’s Evaluate Your Home to document information about your building and how you use energy, organized by lighting, office equipment, HVAC and foodservice equipment.

Homeowner Resources

Can green updates increase the value of your home? The answer is yes! Click here to learn more about the most cost-effective options for adding value to your home.

Weatherization/Insulation Resources

Insulation Fact Sheet: DIY smart approaches to adding insulation to your home: Learn more here.

General Weatherization/Energy Tips: Find tips on how to weatherize your home from the Department of Energy. Learn more here.

Solar Resources

Steps to Solar: Resources on the steps for going solar, FAQs, group buying opportunities, incentives and more. Learn more here.

Reducing of Resources: Resourceful PDX has creative ideas on borrowing, sharing, and repairing to decrease unnecessary purchases and conserve resources, as well as events and education.

New Homebuyer Checklist

Look behind the walls and discover the hidden value of energy-efficient newly built homes. This checklist will help you talk with builders and real estate professionals about home energy efficiency.

Natural Gardening & Outdoor Water Efficiency

Expert Gardening Advice: Grow a garden that’s beautiful abundant, and safe for children, pets, forests and streams. Find free expert advice, workshops, videos and more here.

Learn about eco-friendly landscaping tips here.

Outdoor Water Efficiency: Learn more about water efficient plants, landscape irrigation and maintenance here.

Free site visits: A resource for those living east of the Willamette on how to manage issues such as erosion, mud, and areas near streams geared toward keeping water clean, conserving water, and keeping soil healthy. Learn more here.

City of Beaverton Sustainability Resources

Energy Use

Saving Energy
Click here for the Energy Saver’s Guide to saving energy and money in your  home.

Purchasing Energy Efficient Appliances
Read more here about how to purchase an energy efficient appliance using the EnergyGuide Label.

Home Energy Score
The Home Energy Score™ provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use. Learn more here.

Renewable Power Options

Portland General Electric: Green Source

Pacific Power: Blue Sky Renewable Energy

NW Natural: Smart Energy

Incentives for Improvements

Cash incentives, tax credits and low-to-moderate-income assistance opportunities for energy efficiency home improvements are listed by project. Only non-profit organizations or governmental agencies are listed.

Home Audits

  1. Free, online:  Online tool for calculating your home’s current energy use.
    Cost varies: 3-4 hour Home Performance Audit. Customers also receive a list of available cash incentives for the recommended energy-saving home improvements.
    Additional program details here.

Energy Saver Kit

  1. Incentive: Free energy savings kit customized to information you input about your home – may include lightbulbs, faucet aerators, showerheads etc.
    Requirements: PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas customers.
    Additional program details here.

Cash incentive: $1.75 per square foot of windows installed with U-Value 0.28 to 0.30.

$4.00 per square foot of windows installed with U-Value of 0.27 or less

Requirements: Incentive application must include proof of window size and U-Value, provided by the manufacturer, for each window installed.

Additional program details here.

Insulation

  1. Cash incentive for professional installation: Depending on project, from $0.25 per square foot to $0.50 per square foot.
    Requirements: Varies, depending on project.
    Additional program details here.
  2. Cash incentive for self-installation: Depending on project, from $0.25 per square foot to $0.50 per square foot.
    Requirements: Varies, depending on project.
    Additional program details here.
  3. Low-to-moderate-income Assistance: $0.50 per square foot for attic and/or wall insulation. $0.40 per square foot for floor insulation.
    Requirements: Varies depending on project.
    Additional program details here.

General
The Community Energy Project offers free Weatherization Workshops in which participants receive a free kit of weatherization supplies. More information can be found here.

This organization also offers free in-home weatherization and safety repair services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Additional program details here.

Efficiency Devices

  1. Free items: Free water conservation kit. Choose from a variety of simple to install water-saving devices for fixtures in your home.
    Requirements:
    Portland Water Bureau customers only.
    Additional program details here.
  2. Cash incentive: Up to $100 rebate when you replace your current water-wasting toilet with a new High Efficiency Toilet and recycle your old toilet.
    Also, up to $75 rebate when you replace your washing machine with an Energy Star certified residential washing machine.
    Requirements: Participating Clackamas River Provider districts and/or cities only.
    Additional program details here.
  3. Cash incentive: Maximum combination landscape rebate of $310 with qualifying purchases.
    Requirements:
    Choose any of the following: Rain senor/switch, Manual Hose Bib Timer, WaterSense Weather-Based Irrigation Controller, Multi-Stream Rotating Irrigation Nozzles Retrofit. Participating Clackamas River Provider districts and/or cities only.
    Additional program details here.
  4. Cash incentive: $100 rebate per WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and $3 rebate per head for Multi-Stream Rotator Nozzles to help reduce peak summer water use outdoors.
    Requirements: Portland Water Bureau customers only.
    Additional program details here.
  5. Cash incentive: $50 rebate for replacing an old toilet or urinal with a high-efficiency model.
    Requirements: Portland Water bureau customers only.
    Additional program details here.

Heating

  1. Cash Incentive: Energy Trust of Oregon has cash incentives for multiple heating upgrades including Smart Thermostats, Gas Fireplaces and Furnaces, Heat Pumps and Heat Pump Controls.
    Requirements: Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NQ Natural, Cascade Natural Gas or Avista customers only.
    Additional program details here.

Outdoor Spa Cover

  1. Cash Incentive: $100 to upgrade to an energy-efficient outdoor spa cover.
    Requirements: Purchased through Energy Trust’s participating retailers.
    Additional program details here.

Solar Electric

Wondering if the effort of installing solar panels is worth it? A 2015 study says that adding solar panels does increase the value of your home. Learn more here.

  1. Cash incentive: $0.40 per watt of installed capacity up to $3,200 maximum incentive per home.
    Requirements: Available to PGE or Pacific Power customers working with an approved Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor.
    Additional program information here.
  2. Tax credit (federal): 30% of the cost (including installation costs), with no upper limit. Credit decreases to 26% for tax year 2020; drops to 22% for tax year 2021.
    Requirements: Systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirement.
    Additional program details here.

City of Portland grants to reduce lead paint hazards

  1. Incentive: Grants up to $10,000.
    Requirements: Home is an owner-occupied residential property built before 1978 and is in Portland. A child under age 6 occupies the home at least 60 hours a year or a pregnant woman lives in the home. Total household income is at or below 80% of HUD Area Median Income adjusted for family size. Total household assets do not exceed $20,000. Property is not located in a flood plain.
    Additional program details here.

Smart Thermostats

  1. Incentive: $50 coupon
    Requirements: Smart thermostat must be on Energy Trust’s list of qualified products, be connected to the internet through Wi-Fi, and configured with home’s location. Home must be heated with electricity or natural gas provided by PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas, or Avista.
    Additional program details here.

Gas Fireplaces

  1. Incentive: $150-$250
    Requirements: Qualifying models only. Gas fireplace must also be vented to the outside with sealed combustion. For NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas or Avista customers only.
    Additional program details here.

Gas Furnaces

  1. Incentive: $200-$550 cash incentive
    Requirements: Minimum 95% AFUE. For NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas, or Avista customers only.
    Additional program details here.

Ductless Heat Pumps

  1. Incentive: $800 cash incentive
    Requirements: Home must be a single-family or manufactured home and currently use electric resistance heat as the primary heat source. Ductless heat pump must replace electric resistance heat, have a heating seasonal performance factor of 9.0 or greater and by installed by a qualified contractor.
    Additional program details here

Heat Pumps

  1. Incentive: $250 cash incentive. Can be combined with $700 cash heat pump incentive.
    Requirements: Unit must have a heating seasonal performance factor of 8.5 or greater. PGE or Pacific Power customers only.
    Additional program details here.

Heat Pump Controls

  1. Incentive: $250 cash incentive. Can be combined with $700 cash heat pump incentive.
    Requirements: Controls must be included in Energy Trust’s list of qualifying products. Installation must be performed by a contractor with a valid Oregon Construction Contractors Board license. Heat pump must have electric furnace backup to qualify. Controls must either have an outdoor temperature sensor and be configured with a 35 degree furnace lockout, or be a qualified web-enabled model that is connected to the internet.
    Additional program details here.

Clothes Washers

  1. Incentive: $65 cash incentive
    Requirements: On qualifying Energy Star front-load clothes washer (2.5 cu ft or larger) with an IMEF or 2.76 or higher.
    Additional program details here.
  2. Incentive: $75 rebate
    Requirements: Must be Energy Star certified residential clothes washers. Participating Clackamas River Provider districts and/or cities.
    Additional program details here.

Recycling

From hazardous waste to construction salvage, find a way to recycle or reuse.

Community Warehouse collects and redistributes donated furniture and household goods to low-income people in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is open to the public and sells donated new and quality used building materials, appliances, and furniture at prices well below retail. With three convenient locations, you’ll find a wide selection of items for your home improvement projects. Bring in items you wish to donate or request a pick-up for items that are too big for you to manage on your own. Proceeds from sales help Habitat for Humanity build homes in the Portland and Vancouver areas.

The ReBuilding Center inventory includes sinks, tubs, tile, lumber, doors, windows, trim and much more, all available for purchase. They also accept donations and their Driving Team provides free pick-up service for large and pre-approved material donations.

Bikes for Humanity PDX is a non-profit bike shop and school in SE Portland whose mission is to increase public access to affordable and safe bicycles while empowering self-sufficiency in bicycle maintenance and commute. They accept donations of used bikes and parts at their shop.

Recycle up to 35 gallons of paint for free at Metro Central or Metro South. Quality batches of leftover latex paint are then turned into MetroPaint, which can be purchased for $14 a gallon at various retailers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Find more information here.

PaintCare is Oregon’s paint stewardship program, making it possible to conveniently get rid of leftover house paints, stains, and varnishes. Find more information here.

Homes or businesses that use heating oil can donate used or unused fuel to the Oregon Energy Fund’s Oil Recycling Program. Run in partnership with the Oil Re-Refining Company (ORRCO), this program converts donated oil into dollars for energy assistance – while also contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable environment. Call (971) 386-2124 for more information or to request a pick-up.

Wondering how to best dispose of those old paint cans, motor oil or solvents? Whether you’re a home or business, Metro has drop off centers to take your hazardous waste.

Information for the Portland metro region and City of Beaverton

Metro Recycling Information Hotline has friendly staff with fast, helpful answers to your recycling, disposal and waste prevention questions, including recycling beyond the curb, hazardous waste, and more.

City of Beaverton has information on recycling at the curb and beyond.

Metro has resources for recycling computers, televisions and other electronics.

TonerRecycle.net strives to keep toner cartridges out of landfills and increase the number of cartridges that are reused and recycled.

Goodwill has partnered with Dell’s Reconnect program to help you easily and responsibly recycle household electronic wares. Bring computers and peripherals to any participating Goodwill collection location.

Recycling and reuse of building and materials can yield significant economic and environmental benefits. Learn more here.

Check out Metro’s guide to construction salvage and recycling for information on how you can reduce waste in your next home improvement project.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s Building Material Recovery Specialists can remove your old cabinets, appliances, fixtures, doors and other items that you wish to donate.