Sustainability in Real Estate: National Initiatives & Milwaukee Green Housing Trends

Sustainability in Real Estate: National Initiatives & Milwaukee Green Housing Trends

  • Karine Sewart
  • 02/7/24

In an era where environmental consciousness plays a pivotal role in shaping our communities, the real estate landscape is experiencing a transformative shift toward sustainability. From coast to coast, national initiatives are driving the adoption of green practices, and within the heart of the Midwest, Milwaukee stands as a beacon of innovation in sustainable housing trends. This exploration delves into the dynamic intersection of Sustainability in Real Estate, examining both the overarching national initiatives that set the tone for change and the distinctive green housing trends shaping Milwaukee's real estate market.

As the global call for environmental stewardship intensifies, the real estate sector finds itself at the forefront of change, compelled to adapt and contribute to a more sustainable future. This journey begins with an overview of nationwide initiatives that are reshaping real estate practices, emphasizing eco-friendly designs, energy efficiency, and the integration of renewable technologies. From ambitious government policies to industry-driven green building certifications, the focus on sustainability has become an integral aspect of modern real estate development.

Nestled within this broader narrative is Milwaukee, a city that has embraced the challenge of sustainable urban living with fervor. The blog will unravel the distinctive green housing trends that characterize Milwaukee's real estate scene, from innovative architectural designs and energy-efficient structures to community initiatives that foster environmental responsibility. Milwaukee's commitment to sustainable development not only aligns with national goals but also reflects the city's unique identity and dedication to creating a resilient and eco-conscious community.

Join us on this insightful journey as we navigate through the evolving landscape of Sustainability in Real Estate, shedding light on the initiatives reshaping the nation and the vibrant green housing trends setting Milwaukee apart as a leader in sustainable living.

The Emergence of Sustainable Real Estate


Adopting Sustainability in Real Estate

As global environmental concerns escalate, the real estate sector has made substantial strides toward embracing sustainability. Referred to as green or eco-friendly real estate, this approach entails the planning, construction, and management of properties with a commitment to environmental accountability and efficient resource utilization. This piece will delve into the ascendancy of sustainable real estate, its influence on shaping a more environmentally conscious future, and the advantages associated with investing in properties that prioritize ecological responsibility.


The Expansion of Sustainable Real Estate

In recent times, the noteworthy expansion of sustainable real estate can be attributed to a heightened awareness of environmental concerns and a growing demand for energy-efficient and environmentally conscious living environments. Stakeholders such as developers, investors, and homeowners are progressively acknowledging the significance of incorporating sustainable principles into the real estate industry. Whether in residential structures, commercial developments, or eco-conscious communities, the trends in sustainable real estate are reshaping conventional approaches to construction and living.


The Contribution of Real Estate Experts

Real estate experts, encompassing developers, agents, and property managers, play a crucial role in advancing sustainable practices within the real estate industry. Their involvement extends to endorsing certifications for environmentally friendly constructions, promoting the development of sustainable properties, and enlightening clients on the advantages associated with eco-conscious real estate. Through these efforts, these professionals actively contribute to fostering a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future.


The pandemic sparks a growing interest in the concept of "health- conscious structures."

The pandemic underscored the susceptibility of urban areas to viral outbreaks. In dense citenvironments, significant residential structures posed challenges in controlling the spread of COVID-19, prompting governments and residents to express concerns about preventing future infectious disease transmission.

Now, there is a shift towards exploring how various features in green buildings can play a role in disease prevention and societal health. As individuals spend 90% of their time indoors, developers are recognizing the increasing significance of designing structures that enhance overall well-being. Aspects such as natural light, ventilation, and air quality are considerations that will remain relevant long after the pandemic has subsided.

China, having faced significant challenges in densely populated cities during the pandemic, has introduced the Healthy Assessment System for Residential Building Epidemic Prevention (HASRBEP). This system aims to proactively design measures for epidemic prevention and evaluate how buildings align with health standards.


The WELL Building Institute, an organization dedicated to establishing healthy building standards, has seen a daily enrollment of over a million square feet of real estate since the beginning of the pandemic.

Understanding Green Real Estate

Green buildings symbolize a dedication to environmental stewardship, encompassing structures meticulously planned, built, and managed to minimize their ecological footprint while optimizing efficiency and sustainability. These properties adhere to a set of guidelines prioritizing energy efficiency, water conservation, the utilization of eco-friendly materials, and the promotion of a health-conscious indoor environment.


Embracing these principles allows luxury properties to provide distinctive living experiences that align seamlessly with a lifestyle characterized by responsibility and sophistication. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these green buildings offer a plethora of environmental and economic advantages.

Milwaukee: environmentally friendly homes

In Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood, the challenge of vacant lots that have persisted for years is now becoming an opportunity for transformative change. Spearheading this endeavor is Erick Shambarger, the Director of Environmental Sustainability for Milwaukee, who envisions a shift towards more environmentally friendly and affordable housing solutions.

Shambarger recognizes that numerous vacant lots have posed challenges for the city, hindering efforts to fill them with new homes. However, he believes that the city's Climate and Equity Plan, focusing on constructing Net-Zero Energy Homes, could be a game-changer. The innovative approach involves designing homes with high insulation, heat pumps, and solar panels to minimize reliance on fossil fuels for heating and power.

To introduce this concept, Milwaukee is considering the construction of two Net-Zero Energy Homes in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood—an ambitious project that includes a single-family home and a duplex. Shambarger sees this not only as an opportunity to address the issue of affordable housing but also as a potential job creation initiative.

According to Shambarger, attracting a manufacturer capable of year-round home construction is crucial to achieving the necessary volume of new homes. Scaling up the construction process is vital, emphasizing the need for a more substantial impact in addressing the city's housing challenges.

While the vacant lots may remain unchanged for a little longer, Shambarger is optimistic about the project's potential impact. The goal is to select a contractor for the construction of the first two homes later this year, with plans for these pioneering properties to be available for sale by 2024.


Community engagement is a key component of this initiative, ensuring that the housing design aligns with the neighborhood's character and garners support from the local community. As Milwaukee takes bold steps towards environmental responsibility, housing affordability, and job creation, the Net-Zero Energy Homes project emerges as a promising venture for a greener, more sustainable future.

Energy-Efficient Homes

Achieving an energy-efficient home is contingent on prioritizing energy efficiency, which entails utilizing less energy while maintaining optimal comfort and functionality. Making deliberate decisions to minimize energy consumption not only plays a vital role in fostering sustainability but also results in substantial cost savings on homeowners' energy expenditures.

Reduced Energy Expenditures

A key rationale for the importance of energy efficiency lies in the diminished costs associated with energy consumption. Employing diverse energy-saving strategies, such as integrating energy-efficient appliances, enhancing insulation, and optimizing the use of natural light, allows homeowners to experience a visible decline in their monthly energy expenses. This decrease in energy usage leads to substantial long-term savings.

Environmental Consequences

The connection between energy efficiency and sustainability is evident in the endeavor to lessen our carbon footprint. As our homes become more energy-efficient, there is a decreased dependency on non-renewable energy sources. This reduced energy consumption directly mitigates the environmental repercussions linked to energy production, including the emission of greenhouse gasses. Constructing energy-efficient homes stands as a crucial stride towards cultivating a more sustainable future for our planet.

Elevated Property Worth

A home that prioritizes energy efficiency represents a significant asset. In a real estate market where energy efficiency holds growing significance, residences equipped with energy-saving attributes and certifications are in high demand. Allocating resources to energy efficiency enhancements not only enhances the comfort and functionality of a home but also raises its resale value, positioning it as a prudent and enduring investment.

Improved Comfort

Residences that prioritize energy efficiency offer heightened comfort to their inhabitants. Through enhanced insulation, windows, and air sealing measures, such homes sustain a uniform indoor temperature, reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Furthermore, sophisticated ventilation systems contribute to maintaining optimal indoor air quality, establishing a healthful and cozy living space for those residing in the home.

Extended Financial Benefits

Although energy-efficient enhancements may involve an upfront expenditure, their dividends become apparent over time. Opting for energy-saving appliances, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and adequately insulated windows enables homeowners to realize significant, enduring savings on their energy expenditures. These financial gains, coupled with potential tax incentives and rebates, establish energy-efficient homes as a financially prudent decision.

Diminished Maintenance

Compared to conventional homes, energy-efficient residences typically encounter fewer maintenance issues. Transitioning to more efficient appliances and systems entails the use of durable, high-quality materials that demand less frequent repairs or replacements. This not only results in cost savings on maintenance but also alleviates the inconvenience linked with recurrent repair needs.

Wellness Advantages

Implementing energy efficiency measures can markedly enhance the quality of indoor air, fostering improved overall health. Effective ventilation systems play a vital role in eliminating pollutants, allergens, and excess moisture from the air, thereby diminishing the likelihood of respiratory issues and allergies. Energy-efficient residences prioritize the health and well-being of their occupants.


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