Real estate reps, like other sales professionals, are sometimes accused of being full of hot air. While that’s the kind of wildly misleading notion I’d rather not perpetuate, I would like to talk about the issue of hot air.
I’m referring to that stifling, oppressive heat we sometimes suffer during
the summer months. There are low-cost, green ways to fight the rising
mercury levels in and around your clients’ home or commercial property. Not
only do these methods cool homes and buildings and reduce energy costs, they
also offer the added luxury of beautifying properties, which naturally
serves to increase property values.
Believe it or not, trees, shrubs, vines and vegetation are a highly
economical way of keeping your house cool and comfortable at an affordable
cost. Trees and vegetation cool properties by providing shade, deflecting
winds and blocking unwanted sunlight. Temperatures near trees are cooler
than temperatures away from trees. The larger the tree, the greater the
cooling. By using trees in the cities, we can moderate the heat-island
effect caused by pavement and buildings in commercial areas. Well designed
landscaping can reduce cooling costs by 20 per cent or even up to 100 per
cent in areas that don’t have significant cooling demands, according to B.C.
Thanks to shading from leaves and branches, the amount of solar radiation
reaching the ground is reduced. This process decreases surface temperatures
below the canopy, which in turn lessens the amount of heat transmitted to
buildings and the atmosphere.
Another way of lowering your home’s outdoor thermostat is a natural process
called evapotranspiration, a combination of evaporation and transpiration
from plants. It cools the surrounding area in much the same manner as
mammals sweat to keep cool. Aside from blocking sunlight, the water vapour
that is released makes the surrounding environment fresher.
While homeowners may be tempted to consider evergreen trees to block the
shade, deciduous trees are better because they shelter your home from the
hot summer sun, without blocking the good winter sun.
Deciduous trees are best planted at southeast, southwest and western
exposures to provide optimum shelter from the sun. Consider using trees to
shade your home, paved areas and air conditioners. Plant deciduous trees so
they will shade east-facing walls and windows from 7 am to 11 am and west
facing surfaces from 3 pm to 7 pm during June, July, and August.
In some climates, particularly in windy locations, evergreens work well as
they tend to be more resilient. Just make sure you don’t plant evergreens
where they will block winter sunlight from warming south and west windows.
Junipers, spruces, firs, Douglas fir and evergreen shrubs are good choices
for wind protection.
So while your clients are thanking you for helping lower their cooling bills
and prettying up their properties, know that the planet is also sending an
appreciative nod your way. That will be for the reduced energy clients use
for air conditioning, which results in lower greenhouse gas emissions and
Knowing about these simple, practical and low-cost solutions and sharing
that know-how with clients bodes well for your credibility as a real estate
professional. You’ll look good this summer, no matter how hot the air gets.
The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) provides a
Greenbroker and Greenagent certification program to Realtors across Canada.
To get more information or to sign up for a course, visit
Elden Freeman M.E.S., AGB, broker is the founder and executive director of
the non-profit organization. 1-877-524-9494 Email