buildings accounted for nearly 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. That’s something everyone in the real estate development world can improve upon. Usually, when people think about climate change and envi- ronmental sustainability, they pic- ture massive government spending programs. I’m not going to debate the merits of the Green New Deal. Instead, I will take steps on our own to leave the world a better place. Of course, we’ll do it in a way that’s market based. There is a business case to be made that sustainability in the hous- ing market is achievable through consumer demand. We’re seeing a lot of transplants come to Tennes- see from the Northeast and Califor- nia. Many of these people coming to Tennessee place environmental responsibility high on their list of

housing attributes. We’re happy to fill that demand. Net-Zero homes are a key part of the environmental leg of the sustain- ability stool. The initial investment in materials and equipment can drive up a home price by about $20,000. Taking the long view, however, con- sumers will eventually save money on energy bills to offset the cost. We’re seeing estimates of a break- even point for homeowners after only 3-7 years. This trend certainly will start with higher-income consumers. Typically, they have higher demand for environ- mentally friendly housing strategies and the means to make it happen. Over time, however, we see Net-Zero homes becoming more affordable for the masses. As more people invest in Net-Zero homes, economies of scale will likely drive down prices for the initial invest-

ment. This will make them more accessible to the masses and little by little start to make a difference in sustainability and the environment. I’m just one builder and climate change is a big elephant. But, we’ll be taking our first bite out of that elephant within the next year or so. If more investors and developers jump into this trend, together we can make a big difference in the world. •

Bruce McNeilage is the managing member and a co-founder of Kinloch Partners and a partner in Harpeth Development.. He is a passionate

advocate for housing affordability and homeownership, and invests heavily in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as throughout the southeast. Learn more about his projects, including single-family built-to-rent communities and the Solo East and North condominium projects at

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