Commercial: Will the business of ‘going green’ follow Chicago’s lead?

Understanding phrases like “energy-use benchmarking” and the ramifications of a recent ordinance passed in Chicago will make “going green” increasingly important to you and your clients, says one Chicago REALTOR® in the October issue of Illinois REALTOR® magazine.

Angela Aeschliman, the chief operating officer for Watermark Property Management in Chicago and a past president of the Northern Illinois Commercial Association of REALTORS®, says the Chicago ordinance creates new standards for property owners and managers of commercial, municipal and residential buildings, as well as anyone who buys or sells.

In June, owners/managers of buildings with more than 250,000 square feet submitted their first reports on energy consumption, water usage and greenhouse-gas emissions to the city.  In June 2015, owners of buildings with between 50,000 and 250,000 square feet will provide similar reports.  The data will be measured by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency software and must be verified by a licensed architect, engineer or other professional recognized by the city.

The city will be able to share individual building performances next June and Aeschliman says the information could increase competition for more energy-efficient properties.  How quickly these concepts spread to suburban Chicago and the rest of the state will be watched closely by the IAR, local associations and their members.

Read the whole story, “The Growing Business of Going Green,” which includes client concerns about the costs of “going green.”

Happy Earth Day! Tips for making your home more green

Earth Day is the perfect time to take a look around your home and see if there are steps you can take, both big and small, to make it more eco-friendly. The National Association of REALTORS® HouseLogic consumer website has tips, tools and inspirations to make your home more “green”


FREE 3-Hour Online CE with Rebate Program

Still need CE for the April 30, 2014 renewal?

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance through its Illinois Home Performance Program is partnering with the real estate industry to provide $29 rebates for taking specific online courses in topics of green building and energy efficiency. Students learn about energy efficiency in online real estate CE courses, but Illinois students can add to their knowledge by taking a short 30 minute webinar to go deeper into:

  • Illinois-specific programs and trends that you will encounter in the field
  • The value of third party certification on recognized efficient homes
  • Green MLS developments in Illinois
  • Building energy codes in Illinois for new construction

Add to your toolkit and separate yourself from your competition by attending the 30-minute webinar, and receive a $29 check in the mail (the cost of the 3-hour online course) when it is complete. Rebates are capped at 500 students, so reserve your spot today in three easy steps:

  1. Complete an eligible online course for real estate CE credits (see below)
  2. Email your name, mailing address, and proof of course completion (CE certificate preferred) to Kelsey Horton at
  3. Register for & attend one webinar, which will be available at two convenient times:Wednesday May 14th from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM: Register here
    Thursday May 15th from 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM: Register here

After successful attendance on the webinar, Illinois Home Performance Program will mail you a check for $29 to cover the cost of your original online CE class!

IAR Eligible Online Course (taken between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014):

ENV 1230 The Whole Systems Approach to Green Building (video) online course.

Please contact Kelsey Horton at with any questions. Kelsey will contact you with a confirmation of your rebate reservation within three business days of submitting your rebate reservation information.

NOTE: Students must be Illinois residents, must have completed an eligible online course between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014, and must attend one webinar to receive the $29 rebate.

Morning Minute: Make your home more energy efficient and qualify for a tax credit

Planning on making some energy-efficient home improvements this year? Homeowners who move quickly and get the qualifying improvements done by Dec. 31, 2013, could be eligible for up to $500 in consumer tax credits. The improvements must be made to a primary residence and include upgrades to insulation, windows, roofs and more. Read more in the Chicago Tribune article, “Time is running out on energy tax credits,” and find details of the tax credit program at

In other headlines:

Seeing green over mortgages – Daily Herald

Home Buyers Plan to Make a Move This Winter – REALTOR® Magazine

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage at 4.22 pct. – Herald-Review

It’s Radon Action Month

January is Radon Action Month and the perfect time to make testing for radon a New Year’s resolution.

Why test your home for radon? Test to determine your risk of radon-induced lung cancer. The U.S.  Surgeon General stated: “Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country.”

Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless radioactive gas that comes from the radioactive decay of uranium in the soil and is the first leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Radon enters buildings because of air pressure differences between the building and the outside air. It enters through openings between the interior and the soil such as crawl spaces, floor and wall joints and cracks.

The largest exposure to the public from radiation comes from radon, which is also a Class A known human carcinogen. Radon and Radon Decay Products (RDPs) are breathed in and the radon is exhaled. RDPs remain in lung tissue and are trapped in the bronchial epithelium and emit alpha particles which strike individual lung cells and may cause physical and/or chemical damage to DNA.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Radon Program and USEPA estimate that as many as 1,160 Illinois citizens are at risk of developing radon-related lung cancer each year.

Take action and test your home this year. You can purchase test kits from a hardware store, department store or find a list of laboratories on the Illinoie Emergency Management Association website,

Hire a licensed radon measurement professional if you are involved in a real estate transaction. While the occupant of a home can test their own residence, anyone providing a service to test or reduce radon levels must be licensed with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Radon Program. (Editor’s note: The Illinois Radon Awareness Act requires that before a buyer will become bound on a contract to purchase real estate the seller will be required to provide a pamphlet entitled “Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions” and the Illinois Disclosure of Information on Radon Hazards. The pamphlet is provided by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Division of Nuclear Safety.)

More questions? Visit or or call the radon hotline at 1-800-325-1245.