Danielle King

It’s been many months in the making but a committed batch of passionate green real estate and green building educators has finally launched its first course, pitched to real estate professionals and consultants.

The online Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate course, developed by the recently launched Green Building Institute, has been reviewed by leading industry groups such as the Green Building Council of Australia, Melbourne’s 1200 Buildings program, the Better Buildings Partnership, CitySwitch, NABERS and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Savills has also run a pilot of the course internally.

The course will be managed by Melbourne-based green real estate educator Danielle King with the support of fellow directors Daniel Wurm, founder of Green Painters; Ronny Matzat founder of DSGN Kartell; and Emma Thirkell, founder of the Tropical Green Buildings Network.

According to Ms King there is a huge need for better education of real estate professionals.

The is ample evidence that there is significant value in green buildings, proved by research in Australia and internationally.

The trend continues to grow, she says, but all too frequently highly sustainable and energy efficient buildings are marketed without a word about their green credentials.

Even highly rated Green Star or NABERS buildings don’t rate a mention in marketing material or pitches, she says. And worse the rating logos don’t appear.

The GBI, King says, thinks it’s due to the scarcity of available education for real estate property professionals.

“Apart from RICS, who have updated their training materials to include sustainability features during property valuations, there seems to be little education available for real estate professionals to assist them to identify, understand the benefits of, and better market such buildings,” Ms King said.

(Other sustainable property and real estate educators such as Cecille Weldon who leads LJ Hooker’s Liveability initiative and Chiara Pacifici of the Perth-based property educator Green Gurus, have frequently echoed these sentiments in previous interviews with The Fifth Estate.)

One reason cited by Ms King is time pressures and the need to fast track sales and leasing deals.

“Real estate professionals are generally very busy and time is a premium,” Ms King said.

She thinks the online training format will be a way through this barrier. Next cab off the green education rank for busy people will be sustainability training for tradespeople, which will be managed by Mr Wurm, Ms King said.