10 Top Towns

Settled by the Dutch, Quakers, or Huguenots, nestled in the Catskills or on the river’s banks — these 10 Valley communities all have one thing in common: They’re great places to call home


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Home, Green Home

A new program teaches realtors how to help homebuyers find the house of their eco-conscious dreams

There are endless ways to go green inside our homes, from switching to power-saving light bulbs to buying organic, fair-trade coffee. As for the building itself, choosing a green home — those which run on solar power, use energy-efficient appliances, or that have been built with environment-friendly materials — can be beneficial to both its inhabitants and our surroundings.

Due to the rising demand for green homes, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has developed a training program to teach its members how to determine if a house is eco-conscious, and how it can best benefit their client.

Established in 2008, the NAR’s Green Designation Core Course educates realtors on a variety of topics, including home design, energy-efficient technology, and the availability of financial incentives for homeowners. Those who apply for the program must submit an application and complete both the two-day Core Course and a one-day elective class to earn their Green Designation title.

So far, more than 1,100 NAR members have achieved this status, including Mon Dorris of New Paltz, a realtor in the Ulster County area since 2006. “About 50-60 percent of my clients are interested in green homes,” he says, “especially for the health benefits, such as better air quality, and for the energy savings.”

Although green homes tend to cost more than the average house, according to Dorris, the investment usually pays off in the end. “Homeowners who use solar paneling for electricity might pay more up-front,” he explains, “but it’s a fixed cost and over the years, they don’t have to pay the fluctuating price of oil or propane.”

Dorris looked into the program because he thought it would “help others help the environment.” With the knowledge he’s gained, he says he’s able to assist clients in finding options that are healthier for themselves and for the Earth.

» Next: Sticking to a budget? Find out what $300,000 will buy
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