Compiled by Lauren Elkies
In honor of Earth Day, The Real Deal checked in with some New York City residential and commercial real estate companies — from Sotheby’s International to CB Richard Ellis to Related Companies — to find out about their latest green initiatives. While a number of companies said their clients don’t seem to care about their green efforts, the firms do.
Here’s what the real estate companies said about their latest green initiatives, their most interesting sustainability efforts and their plans for Earth Day.
What is your company’s most interesting green feature/initiative?
Kathy Korte, president and CEO at Sotheby’s International Realty: Sotheby’s International Realty’s team of agents have the option to donate a portion of their sales commissions to the Protect-an-Acre Program on behalf of their clients in lieu of, or in addition to, a traditional closing gift or holiday gift. Sotheby’s International Realty then matches agent donations up to a preset number of acres per year.
Dave Pogue, national director of sustainability at CB
Richard Ellis: CBRE established the Green Knights program, a group of sustainability
advocates that assist clients with the transformation to sustainable
David Schlamm, president and founder of City Connections
Realty: Our new purified tap water system. By not having to use the standard
plastic water containers you see all the time, this eliminates the waste
of energy and the creation of pollutants by manufacturing these
Eric Duchon, a manager of sustainability strategies for Cushman &
Wakefield’s corporate occupier and investor services group:
[Cushman] challenges its portfolio of managed properties in the U.S.
annually to reduce year-over-year energy consumption, water use, and
waste disposal by 10 percent. The challenge acknowledges environmental
achievements through an internal recognition and awards program.
Asher Alcobi, president and founder of Peter Ashe: Because our
office is completely surrounded with windows, we keep the lights off
during the day and allow the natural sunlight to provide us with
lighting in our office. This saves a lot of energy.
What is one of the top ways your company is green?
Erik Serras, principal broker at Ideal Properties Group: Use of eco-friendly, recycled and reused materials in office design (artwork made of recycled MTA roll signs; old coffee mugs reborn as planters; low-VOC paints), operations (use of energy-efficient light bulbs, eco-friendly electronics), and maintenance (cleaning products, janitorial equipment).
What is the most recent green initiative your company has introduced?
Charlotte Matthews, vice president of sustainability at Related Companies:
Our latest launch is a “Turn it Off” campaign for employees. The campaign involved a small card with facts about the carbon credit of turning off lights and computers . Employees were to leave the card on each other’s desks as an anonymous reminder for each other. So far, it’s been a failure. People have held on to the cards and kept their lights on.
Jeff Schleider, founder and managing director of the New York City office for Miron Properties:
Last Sunday [April 15], Miron Properties helped plant a community vegetable garden in East Harlem with Nourishing NYC. It was a ton of fun and felt great to make a hands-on difference to our community.
Is your company doing anything special for Earth Day?
Barak Dunayer, president and founder of Barak Realty: We’re having everyone bring in a mug. We believe that by implementing a green initiative in the office (no matter how big or small) we will encourage our employees to practice these ideas in their daily routines and personal lives.