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This encompasses a fairly broad set of objectives. It is important to acknowledge that the profit motive is not secondary, but rather the use of the term "investment" makes it clear that the measures incorporated are still expected to generate a return on the capital directed to the projects.
The difference between a socially responsible property investment and any other type of investment in real estate is the dual focus on both profit and social factors such as use of green materials, sustainable development practices, and even attention to the type of labor employed by the developers.
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Factors to Consider
Use of Green Materials
A large part of socially responsible real estate is focused on building practices and the materials used. Green builders incorporate the use of renewable resources, such as bamboo for flooring, and even cabinets and doors. They pay attention to the types of windows installed to ensure that energy does not easily escape by using double-paned glass, for instance. They may even avoid carpet and other poor material choices in the design of their living spaces. There are new innovations every day that focus on using recycled materials in countertops, floors, and even in various furniture styles. These features are much appreciated by the green consumer and even by those of fewer consciences, because they are comforted by them, even though the green nature of the building may not have been at the forefront of their minds.
Use of Union Labor
Socially responsible property investment does not stop at using green materials. The type of labor employed by the projects is also an area of concern. The project managers make it a point to use union labor to ensure they adhere to best practices in the construction industry.
Urban revitalization projects can breathe new life into an area that was considered depressed or run-down. By taking an existing building and redesigning it according to green standards, the investors get to bring a community joy, while also using fewer natural resources and land space, because the project simply transforms what was already there. These projects can lift the value of properties within the area as well and inspire other builders, developers, and residents to continue along the path of transformation and revitalization that has begun. Developing these areas also provides much needed living space in communities that are closer to commercial districts or jobs, and in this way decreases commute times, and cuts back on carbon emissions.
Energy Efficient Buildings
A development project that is built to energy efficient standards is one that will not only avoid getting into trouble with government regulations, but also one that rewards its residents with lower energy bills. Using compact fluorescents, installing low-flow toilets and shower heads, and using modern electric water-heaters, can all combine to create a space that is as green as it is cost-effective.
The benefits associated with a socially responsible real estate investment create value for both the investor and the community so this is a win-win strategy.
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