When I say "green real estate," I’m referring to all aspects of the real estate business. That includes the following jobs: developer, owner, third-party manager, agent, broker, investor, architect, contractor, sub-contractor, etc. There is a business case for the greening of real estate, but here are some preliminary considerations.
First, "green building" is not only about energy and water efficiency. It must be remembered that "green building" includes the concepts of indoor air quality and environmental impact. These three concepts can overlap, but they are distinct. Each concept can bring profitability in different ways. Lloyd Alter blogged about this concept (specifically on "ethical design") today on TreeHugger.
Second, "greenwashing" is a pejorative term for companies that are trying to realize value from sustainability when their products, processes, or services do not deserve the green emphasis. It’s free loading. It’s disingenuous. It’s deceptive. And it’s counter-productive. To make matters worse, public opinion will draw the line between greenwashing and green marketing, so companies must tread water honestly.
It’s my personal goal for 2007 to flaunt the business case for sustainable real estate. Here are a couple good examples from 2006.
- Ex 1: Adobe created value by greening their existing building.
- Ex 2: Ecobroker provides a way for agents to differentiate themselves in a competitive market.
- Ex 3: New Resource Bank is a case study in efficient market positioning as a niche bank.
The opportunities exist for companies that want to make a difference and still remain committed to profitability; Jetson Green will remain committed to exposing and documenting those cases.