A study out of the University of Waterloo has found that builders and realtors play a key role in promoting residential water efficiency and green building.

The study, Building Towards Water Efficiency, found that although collaboration between municipalities and builders is essential for fostering green building innovation, the residential builder community has been neglected in water efficiency research.

To assess innovative builders and realtors, this study focused on tacit knowledge. The point is to gain an understanding of builders’ and realtors’ learning processes, motivations, and the organizational cultures in which they operate to help generate more informed policy recommendations for residential water efficiency.

Green building and realtor innovators surveyed indicated that they were motivated by economic success, peer recognition and the perception of being ahead of the pack in the housing market. But a major constraint identified is the availability of collaborators or municipal support to reduce the perceived or actual economic risk associated with environmental innovations and new technologies.

Submitted to the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, and the Real Estate Association of British Columbia, the study concludes that as municipalities across the country try to fund their aging or insufficient infrastructure capital, collaboration between water efficiency experts, municipal officials, builders and realtors represents an opportunity to promote long-term change.

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