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BOCA RATON, FL-Going Green as the rallying cry of the commercial real estate industry has gotten louder in the past few years, but it’s just finding its voice in the multihousing industry.

“I would love to sit up here and tell you we understand the green initiative and have it all figured out,” said Paul Hutchinson, president of Lane Realty Construction LLC. “But we don’t know the answers yet.”

LEED certification was initially directed at other sectors, mainly office, and the movement has only just started getting legs in multihousing. “It’s only recently [the industry] has been trying to get certification to the multihousing sector,” he added. “It is still so new.”

So without official certification guidelines to follow, Lane Realty Construction focuses on providing green features, he explained. For example, its properties recycle all waste materials, which he said is just practical, and use energy star appliances.

Greg Lamb, executive vice president and regional managing partner at JPI, explained that going green is only a matter of time in the industry. “We’re going to be required to be product certified within the next five years.” He added that in some markets, like the Washington, DC and Virginia there is a strong legislative push for multihousing developers to develop green-certified properties.

“We think in the long term we are going to be required to do it, so why not get in early,” Lamb said. JPI is currently looking at going green with two properties–one in Virginia and one in Downtown DC. In the long run, he explained, with proper marketing of green technology we will be able to charge premium rates, adding that a green property will be a resident draw. “We think it will be a reason why people select this product.”

Lamb also found that many institutional investors are looking toward green properties for investment opportunities. “Why not learn early,” he asked.

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