The Future of Real Estate Is Green – And Houston’s Leading the Charge

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Experts at Southland Homes predict green home construction and renovations may soon eclipse traditional methods.

A kitchen painted with low VOC paints.

There are so many more ways to build and renovate green homes that soon green building will become the norm. It’s exploding in Texas, and we’re watching the trend gain popularity across the nation.

The green home trend is growing so fast that Colin Shelton expects green building technology and materials to eclipse traditional building practices by the year 2020. As President of Southland Homes of Texas, Shelton should know: he’s seeing it happen all over Houston. Green technology is evolving to encompass every aspect of construction and remodeling, from building site selection to the use of locally sourced lumber.

“Decades ago, our ideas of what made a building environmentally friendly were pretty narrow,” Shelton says. “Thanks to over $51 billion in green stimulus spending, the research has evolved, the technology has evolved and so has the mindset of homeowners. There are so many more ways to build and renovate green homes that soon green building will become the norm. It’s exploding in Texas, and we’re watching the trend gain popularity across the nation.”

Owners are choosing to build in existing neighborhoods instead of developing new land. They’re using locally sourced or reclaimed lumber, which can save over $1,000 in single-home construction costs. Formaldehyde free insulation can now be blown-in, water heaters can be tankless and even the types of paint used in homes can be more sustainable. Builders are using low & no-VOC paints, which release fewer volatile organic compounds into the surrounding air. VOCs have been linked to cancer.

“These features aren’t just good for the environment,” Shelton says. “They benefit homeowners too, and that’s a big part of the reason why the green home movement is growing. People want to do their part for the environment, but they also want to save money and make decisions that benefit their families. Green technology is more affordable than ever before, so home buyers don’t have to be rich to afford these choices.”

One neighborhood that’s been rapidly adopting these green building and remodeling practices is the northeast-central neighborhood of Houston Heights. Originally a streetcar suburb, the community is over 100 years old and is full of historic buildings. More and more of those buildings are being renovated with green practices in mind.

“Houston and Dallas topped the list of cities with the most expensive power bills,” says Shelton, referencing a Forbes exposé titled “America's Highest Power Bills.” “We’re not surprised that these areas and the surrounding suburbs are full of homeowners who are looking to make their homes more energy-efficient.”

One reason that people are more willing than ever to invest in sustainable building projects is the U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED program. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) offers third-party verification of green buildings. That means owners can receive government certification that the green features they’ve paid for were properly executed and installed.

Why does LEED matter? In Shelton’s words, “Homeowners today don’t just have access to green products and practices. They also have a government-backed system in place that lets them trust in the decisions they make and the builders they choose. That’s a big thing. It’s one of the reasons we know that demand for green homes will only continue to grow.”

To learn more about green home technology and Southland Homes of Texas, visit To schedule an interview with Colin Shelton, email alayna (at) contentfac (dot) com.

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Alayna Frankenberry
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