a graphic of a sustainable house with the NAR green designation logo and a for sale sign in the front yard

*The Green logo is courtesy of NAR and its Green Designation program.

Energy matters to today’s homebuyers and home sellers more than ever. Real estate resource PropertyNest, in a 2022 survey, reports that 90 percent of potential buyers want energy-saving features to cut down their energy bills. That’s why becoming a GREEN realtor is in your best interest. What is a GREEN Designation, and does it matter if you have one?

The National Association of Realtors issues the GREEN Designation to real estate agents dedicated to energy efficiency for all their clients. To earn the certification, you must be a NAR member, complete coursework, and join the GREEN REsource Council.

If this is the first you’re hearing of a GREEN Designation and you’re interested in learning more, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will explain the designation, how you obtain it, and the benefits of being GREEN designated.

Let’s begin!

What Is a GREEN Designation for Realtors?

Considering how much buyers and sellers prioritize energy efficiency in the real estate market, real estate agents must respond in kind.

That’s part of what has inspired the National Association of Realtors or NAR to issue qualified real estate agents the GREEN Designation.

NAR states that the GREEN Designation was created “for agents looking to learn about issues of energy efficiency and sustainability in real estate.”

The backyard of my first net-zero home in Florida.
With a GREEN Designation, you could begin selling homes like my first net-zero property in Florida!

The GREEN Designation “positions you as a leader in the green real estate market who’s fully equipped to help clients take advantage of the benefits in energy-efficient housing,” says NAR on this page.

Homebuyers and sellers who use Realtor.com and NAR’s services can search for GREEN agents by name (if they know it) or seek them out by the state, city, zip code, or country.

Just like if you knew you wanted to buy a Victorian home would you turn to a real estate agent specializing in historic architecture, buyers and sellers who want green features have a handy way of finding real estate agents who are masters on the topic.

How Can Realtors Get Certified GREEN?

Suppose you’re already a practicing real estate agent who wants to add a GREEN certification to your list of qualifications. In that case, you might wonder how to get this special GREEN Designation.

It’s a three-step process for realtors in the United States, although each step is somewhat involved. So let’s take a closer look at the steps now.

Join NAR If You’re Not Already a Member

If you have yet to join NAR, you need to do so before you’re eligible to become GREEN certified.

According to this page on the NAR website, joining requires you to look up local or state NAR associations and sign up for the group closest to you.

The full list is available here.

Take GREEN Coursework

Now comes the bulk of your requirements to become GREEN certified.

First, you must take a two-day program offered online or as a live lecture.

You can select the best option for your schedule and lifestyle, but keep in mind that the coursework isn’t free.

We couldn’t find the prices for the in-person lecture, but per day of NAR GREEN coursework, NAR members will pay $149, and non-members up to $298.

You can sometimes get a discount on the courses and bundle both days together to save money.

The first day’s course material is GREEN Day 1: The Resource-Efficient Home – Retrofits, Remodels, Renovations, and New Home Construction.

The course is six hours and will instruct you on topics such as keeping custom and new construction green, remodeling in an eco-friendly fashion, replacing and retrofitting systems, smart home technology, and resource-efficient testing and projects.

Energy readout meter in my net-zero home; to earn one's GREEN Designation, you need to know a lot about this stuff!
To earn one’s GREEN Designation, you need to know a lot about this kind of stuff!

The second day of the GREEN coursework is GREEN Day 2: Representing Buyers & Sellers of Resource-Efficient Homes.

This course is also six hours and goes over topics like searching for resource-efficient homes, buying resource-efficient homes, marketing and listing resource-efficient homes, making home valuations greener, and the factors that affect the market, including affordability, transportation, and walkability.

If you take the courses in person, you’ll sign up for them as they’re offered. For those who opt to purchase the coursework online, you have a year from the date of purchase to complete the two days of classes.

However, online class takers have to complete an exam where they must score at least 80 percent.

This exam traditionally isn’t offered to those who sign up for the in-person class. Still, if you need continuing education credits in your state, you may have to take an exam.

Join the GREEN REsource Council

The last step separating you and your GREEN certification is a membership to the GREEN REsource Council.

This NAR organization affords you marketing tools, resources, and education for staying abreast of all the changes in the green real estate market.

You usually pay a fee to be a member of the GREEN REsource Council, but NAR will cover the cost of your first year, so you don’t have to pay a thing.

Once you’re GREEN designated, your fee will be prorated. So in the third year and onward, your membership will cost you $98.50 per year.

Here’s How International Realtors Can Become GREEN Certified

NAR understands that international real estate agents may also want to go green.

Here are the steps to follow.

Join a Cooperating Association

Only United States-based realtors can join NAR.

For international realtors, you must be a member of an association in your country that’s “a party to a Bilateral Cooperation Agreement with the National Association of Realtors.”

You also have to be “in good standing” with that association, which is deemed a Cooperating Association.

Complete Your GREEN Coursework

Part of obtaining the GREEN certification is setting aside two days for coursework for international realtors. You can complete your education online or in a classroom with real-time lectures.

The course materials will be the same as described in the last section.

However, whether the fees are the same and whether you must complete an exam if you take an online version of the GREEN coursework is unclear. More than likely, yes, you will have to.

Pay an Application Fee

International realtors must pay an application fee to become GREEN-certified agents. The price is $170 USD. You’re only charged the fee once.

Keep Your GREEN Designation Current

Once your application fee gets processed, you’re officially GREEN certified as an international realtor.

You also become a complimentary International Member of NAR for the remainder of the calendar year.

Net-zero home kitchen with a close-up shot of the counter
Sustainable properties like my net-zero home will be in your future with an international GREEN Designation!

Each year, you’re required to pay $75 USD to maintain your NAR International REALTOR Membership. Allowing this membership to lapse means doing the same for your GREEN Designation.

What Are the Benefits of Being a GREEN Realtor?

For many reasons, joining NAR and becoming GREEN-certified greatly benefits your real estate career.

Exclusive Access to Resources

As a member of the GREEN REsource Council (for national realtors only), you’ll have resources, guides, and toolkits at your fingertips. This members-only information will help you get a leg up on the competition.

You’ll also receive the monthly GREEN REsource Council newsletter.

Access to Promotional and Marketing Tools

Marketing yourself as a realtor has never been easier now that you’re GREEN designated.

You’ll have promotional tools like the GREEN REsource Council Facebook group, personalized press releases, marketing brochures for builders and consumers, and customizable postcards.

On top of that, you can use professional banner ads, social media images, and headers. You’ll also receive customizable client handouts and prewritten green social media content.

These marketing tools are just for members and can help you position yourself above the competition!

A Spot in the GREEN Directory

The GREEN Directory will make some room for your name, as you’re now eligible to be included in it. So consumers could choose your real estate services when deciding to buy or sell a home!


The GREEN Designation through the National Association of Realtors separates the real estate agents who are genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about green homes from those with only a passing interest in the topic.

Being GREEN certified means you’re currently keeping a NAR membership, taking GREEN coursework (and passing any requisite exams), and remaining a part of the GREEN REsource Council.

Although becoming a GREEN designated realtor isn’t free, certification benefits your career and could help you grow your clientele!

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