Realtor debuts offset program

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Ashley Ford

The real-estate industry has long stood accused of being transfixed by “green,” as in money. Now Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty is thinking about green in an environmentally friendly way and has launched a “carbon-neutral” offset program for home buyers and sellers.

Macdonald has joined with Vancouver-based, non-profit carbon-offset provider Offsetters Climate Neutral Society that invests in high-quality CO2 emission-reducing projects that otherwise would not proceed.

Buyers or sellers wanting to participate simply log on to the Macdonald website and complete a form. The agent bears the cost of the offset, which will vary from transaction to transaction.

According to Offsetters, the average car emits five tonnes of carbon per year, which costs approximately $100 a year to offset.

Lynn Hsu, Macdonald CEO said: “The fact is real-estate agents drive a lot and are perceived to drive a lot. However, for every tonne of carbon that is released driving clients from house to house, an agent can compensate for emitting that tonne through offsetting.”

It is believe Macdonald is the first full-service real-estate company in Canada to bring in a carbon-offsetting program for buyers and sellers.

Offsetters projects have included installation of high-efficiency lighting for schools in Kazakhstan and households in South Africa and less polluting bio-gas stoves in Honduras, Bangladesh and Madagascar.

In a further effort to become a carbon-neutral company, Macdonald is also launching an in-house Green Facilitator Program intended to “green” as many company operations as possible by reducing, reusing and recycling and encouraging its agents to develop and implement waste reduction and energy saving practices.

MacDonald realtors aren’t the only ones interested in the environment.

James Rodgers of, who is part of Dexter Realty Associates, offers clients a $500 incentive to buy “green” homes that are energy efficient or built with environmentally sustainable materials.

© The Vancouver Province 2007

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