Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — November 23 - December 13, 2018 — 21C


M id A tlantic

O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

By Lisa Cassidy, ecoImagine The future of sustainable housing is here


Business Model. This model emphasizes that businesses who leverage sustainable prac-

Depending on the business’s goals, sustainable solutions can also incorporate envi- ronmental strategies that re- duce consumer food waste and utilize renewable energy sources such as solar panels or improve societal objectives by offering affordable housing and fair wage jobs opportuni- ties for its employees and sup- pliers. In fact, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission has outlined 60 “hot spots” worth up to $12 trillion a year in business sav- ings and revenue. Trends like Smart Homes

wenty years ago, I worked in the energy conservation depart-

so much more. Sustainable business programs, products, and practices are built around

(networking home devices to adjust thermostats, lights and monitor home safety) and Net-Zero Homes (homes that create as much renewable energy as they consume) are bringing sustainable housing to the masses. The next gen- eration of home owners see sustainable housing solutions as a baseline requirement, not a nice to have. I’m glad to see it. Twenty years ago, we could have only dreamed of this type of progress. Lisa R. Cassidy is President & Senior Marketing Strate- gist with ecoImagine. 

men t o f a l a r ge New E n g l a n d electric util- ity. Despite t h e o b v i - ous conflict of trying to save utility c u s t o m e r s

Today’s sustainable solutions incorporate much of what we considered to be conservation strategies of yester year, but also so much more. Sustainable business programs, products, and practices are built around environmental AND social considerations.

environmental AND social considerations. In my last article, “Profits and Purpose: How Sustainable Business Practices Become a Competitive Advantage,” I introduced the Cut Costs

tices, like recycling and energy management, are rewarded with lower costs and increased profits. But cutting costs is not the extent to what businesses can do or how they can benefit.

Lisa Cassidy

money by offering them en- ergy efficient products and services, we were excited to of- fer revolutionary new products ranging from energy efficient light bulbs to remote monitor- ing systems for commercial buildings. The purpose of these con- servation programs was to provide residents and busi- nesses the tools they needed to conserve energy. To us, there was no reason why someone might not want to partici- pate. I mean, save energy and money? That was a no brainer. However, there were obstacles. The products didn’t always work as well as we hoped. The technology available in the early 1990s wasn’t based on WIFI so connectivity was a challenge. And probably worst of all, “ease of use” was practically an oxymoron for everything, but the light bulbs. Needless to say adoption was slower than anticipated. But the truth is, the concepts were dead on. After all, we had mountains of data and loads of analysts who studied customer usage. We knew where the op- portunities were for improve- ment. We just needed a way to make the products better. Today, most people know the energy saving opportunities that exist and where to get it. There are products available in most home improvement stores AND through elec- tronics retailers that enable residents to manage a range of things through their home WIFI including electrical and gas usage. The average per- son can turn lights on and off in their home through their phone, or by their voice, if they choose to. Talk about progress. Another big leap from twen- ty years ago is the concept of implementing sustainable solutions, rather than conser- vation strategies. Today’s sus- tainable solutions incorporate much of what we considered to be conservation strate- gies of yester year, but also

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