Green Vocabulary

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Tina Haubert
Energy and Sustainability Services

In my last post I offered comments about trends driving companies toward sustainability. Lately I’ve been thinking more about other comments made by CEL & Associates, Inc. President & CEO Christopher Lee on ways for real estate organizations to become more customer-centric like this one:

“Hard-wiring the voice of the customer in all you do is an essential business strategy. I like the term ‘becoming real estate multilingual.’ Every organization must be able to communicate, interpret and understand the language of each very different customer group. Lenders communicate differently from tenants; investors do not speak like vendors; government agencies communicate in a way dissimilar from brokers.”

Is sustainability yet another ‘language’ real estate people must learn? The focus on sustainability introduces a new vocabulary to all the other languages as business people attempt to integrate green concepts with other organizational goals, such as making money.

In my opinion, the challenge for energy and sustainability professionals in real estate is in translating environmental benefits into meaningful metrics for the customer or client whether that is return on investment, carbon footprint reduction, social responsibility, or whatever metric they want.  This challenge is compounded by the sheer volume of green claims we all hear and read about, which can sound like babble after a while.

Eventually, sustainable practices will be so engrained in end-to-end real estate decisions that the green vocabulary will be a natural part of the business language. Until then, keep refreshing your translation skills.

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