Kellie Rastegar is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Rastegar Property Group.
With the pandemic causing many to flee densely packed coastal cities, smaller metros have boomed and will be looking to build on that growth in the coming years. With the populations in these areas rising and global consciousness around environmental stewardship and overall health moving to the forefront of politics and everyday life, sustainability initiatives will likely become a top priority for communities, local governments and real estate investors, as well as act as a catalyst for city growth and prosperity across the United States.
On a national level, I’ve noticed the following sustainability and green initiatives taking center stage:
After the Biden campaign promised to invest in high-speed rail across the country, the United States High Speed Rail Association presented the president with a five-point plan to tackle public transportation expansion across the country. One piece of the plan looks to lessen the harmful effects of air travel on the environment by reducing the number of shorter flights and replacing them with railway lines.
For real estate investors, watching these rail projects and targeting investment opportunities around rail lines and near stations will be key. In addition to these new stations and lines creating much-needed jobs across the U.S. following the mass unemployment caused by the pandemic, businesses and residential communities are likely to spring up in the areas surrounding stations, even while they are in the planning stages.
The national interest in increased sustainability doesn’t stop at railway improvements. Already, in cities large and small, many local government workers and private investors are focusing their efforts on beautification and improving the quality of life for citizens through sustainability efforts. Projects including clean energy infrastructure, weatherizing buildings and constructing affordable housing units are all on President Biden’s radar in 2021. Should these ambitious plans for projects across the nation come to fruition, the resulting boom in business would likely result in incredible growth for cities around the country.
Green space isn’t limited to traditional parks, and developers have already begun to incorporate rooftop gardens and living walls into their plans. Urban greenery can improve cities’ aesthetics while also helping to improve air quality, reduce noise and decrease ambient air temperature, benefitting residents and visitors alike.
We’ve seen that some private investors have already begun their foray into more sustainable building, and with support from the Biden administration, real estate investors may have more reason than ever to consider sustainable initiatives. Whether it’s the use of sustainably sourced materials, the inclusion of green spaces to decrease carbon emissions or upgraded technology to improve overall utility maintenance, there are a variety of ways the real estate industry can get more on board with efforts to go green.
As more attention turns toward both sustainability and infrastructure, real estate investors should start ensuring existing properties have the capacity to meet the aggressive carbon emissions goals set by the Biden administration — making the country carbon neutral by 2050 — while also making sure investment properties they’re considering can be developed to meet these new sustainability standards. To meet these aggressive but necessary goals, developers must consider advanced technology and champion new, sustainable development methods. While some will focus too intently on the added upfront cost, those who approach these green initiatives as an opportunity will benefit the most.
Real estate investors should pay attention to properties that are aligned with this approach, if they haven’t done so already. By zeroing in on areas that are likely to benefit from sustainability and low-carbon initiatives in the coming years, real estate investors can set themselves up to benefit from the myriad of public works improvements we might expect.
As Biden’s plans become more concrete, real estate investors will be able to target their investments to areas that are more likely to see the growth these plans could bring. Watching carefully for localized and national sustainability initiatives could help bolster the impact of real estate investments within growth areas that are likely to emerge across the U.S.
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Kellie Rastegar is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Rastegar Property Group. Read Kellie Rastegar’s full executive profile here.