Every locality grapples with its own collection of natural and human caused challenges (and potentially disasters). While most people don’t often think about the connection between property values and water runoff, flooding, heat waves, fires, hurricanes, drought, new power and gas lines, density, open space, access to public transportation, and air quality – I can tell you that the National Association of REALTORS is thinking about it.

All of these topics and more were up for discussion at the invite-only National Association of REALTORS Sustainability Summit in Denver last month. As a member of NAR’s Sustainability Advisory Group, I was heartened to learn about the leadership at local associations, in brokerages large and small, and from individual agents. Everyone gathered there understood that the prosperity of their business was tied to the prosperity of their communities – and to natural systems currently undergoing transition to a hotter world. This headline, “Climate change is here and it’s already impacting property values” is a case in point

And here was the question: How can the nation’s largest trade association bring its leadership to bear in a way that provides more resources to localities and to agents? What models can be shared? What education needs to be developed? How can REALTORS – who are passionate about their communities – be a part of a solution at both the local and the national level? I won’t pretend we solved every problem over the course of a two-day work session. We did, however, take a few important strides down an action-oriented path that will bring new opportunities to associations and agents in time.

But there’s really no time like the present for each of us to:

  • Make use of that Google search to learn about how to improve the comfort, efficiency and value of your home (for example, search “benefits of air sealing my home”)
  • Pick up a few LED light bulbs at your local store
  • Think about ENERGY STAR products for upcoming appliance purchases.
  • Get your furnace tuned up before heating season kicks in
  • Use a new tool like FloodiQ to help assess your property’s flood risk now and in the future — surely a signal that times are changing
  • Get another crystal ball glimpse into what that change looks like with this tool that shows how hot your hometown was when you were born vs. now and compared to future projections

Lastly, we might pause for a moment the next time we step outside to really appreciate the world we know and love.

(This article by Cynthia Adams, first appeared here in the Daily Progress.)