Posted March 3, 2009

Real estate goes green at TUCC

New courses responding to hot market trend aren't just for brokers and appraisers

Temple University Center City's Real Estate Institute (REI), the largest program for professional real estate education in the region, is keeping up with one of the hottest trends in the business: green real estate practices.

The Real Estate Institute is offering four non-credit courses in March, April and May on a broad range of sustainability issues, including green buildings (residential and commercial), smart growth, the greening of historic properties, the costs and benefits of building green and the adaptive reuse of older and unusual properties.

"We are excited to lead the way in green real estate," said Barbara Korns, director of REI. "The wide variety of courses we offer is a response to intense demand. We see more people incorporating green values into their lives, and more successful businesses incorporating sustainability into their business plans."

Although REI programs are designed to meet the needs of real estate brokers and appraisers, green real estate instructor Leah Erickson stresses that the courses will appeal to just about anyone who's interested in homes, offices, land use, architecture, design, business, technology, the green movement, or just saving money in a challenging economic climate by saving energy.

"People are looking for ways to improve their homes and offices to make them more energy efficient and responsive to the environment — especially in Philadelphia, where we have old buildings and cold winters," said Erickson, a long-time appraiser, broker and environmental consultant who will teach all four of REI's green real estate courses.

Starting in March, REI will offer four green real estate courses that fulfill state continuing education requirements for appraisers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. One of the courses, "Green Buildings and Smart Growth" (see below), also fulfills Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission educational requirements obtaining a broker's license as well as continuing education for real estate brokers for the 2008-10 license renewal period.

"The Financial Risks and Rewards of Building Green" (March 17, March 23, May 4 and May 12) is aimed at consumers who want to make sense of the bewildering range of ways they can improve properties with green practices or technologies, from sealing windows to solar panels, by understanding their costs and benefits.

"The Greening of Historic Properties" (March 19, March 31, May 8 and May 14) will offer tips on how to make green improvements to old homes and other buildings without violating historic commission guidelines. "Many people think that just because their home is old, it can't be green," Erickson said.

"Adaptive Reuse of Real Estate" (March 25 and May 6) explores how to take old warehouses, rowhouses, office buildings, fire stations and other challenging structures — even outhouses — and adapt them for new purposes. Adaptive reuse, which Erickson compares to recycling, can reduce sprawl, unnecessary expense, and most of all, waste.

"Green Buildings and Smart Growth" (offered on five consecutive Wednesdays from April 1 to April 29) is an introductory course that will familiarize students with the basic concepts of building, renovation and development in a sustainable fashion. The course will explore site sensitivity, natural resource protection, energy and water efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

All REI courses are taught at Temple University Center City, conveniently located at 1515 Market St., adjacent to City Hall.

For registration and other information, go to or call 215-204-1539.