Chicago's Green Future
Forget the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day. Chicago’s REALTORS® are going Green all year-round. CR asked members to share the ways that they are integrating eco-consciousness in their professional and personal lives for 2008 and beyond.
Marty Bhatia, Owning Broker
"My brokerage, Om Realty Group is working to 'green' every transaction. We are Chicago's first full service green realty brokerage. Om Realty was born from my 'green' development company, Om Development, which has been building Energy Star and Chicago Green Home Certified Buildings since 2007. Our newest project is four condos in East Roger's Park and is our greenest project yet.
Om Realty is dedicated to improving home values through energy efficiency while serving the environment. We achieve this by offering our clients Energy Savings Assessments to reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint. We plant 100 trees at the close of every transaction and our office is actively working to be carbon neutral by 2009. We use technology as much as possible. For example, we provide our clients with a choice between print or electronic copies of our presentations.
Without being intense or aggressive, Om Realty is working hard to bring green living to everyone we interact with. We connect green to saving money, present clients with green options and then help them get there."
Om Realty Group LLC
Janice A. Hiley, REALTOR®
“Being an appraisal office, we have to print out listings when working on assignments. We use both sides of the paper and recycle all of it when we dispose of it. We reuse folders and envelopes, and we are switching to compact fluorescent bulbs in the downlights—they are great! We keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees – radiant heat is efficient. It all helps the environment and saves money too!”
Janice A. Hiley & Associates, Inc.
Evan Kane, Managing Broker
“As real estate agents, we tend to like to show how successful we are, and it seems that one of our favorite ways of showing our success is with BIG cars and SUVs. That leaves most agents generating around 16,000 to 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year with their vehicles. I got rid of my gas guzzler and purchased a hybrid electric car, effectively cutting my vehicle emissions by half. I am now on my second hybrid and I am still making a statement but it’s a positive one. Besides me, two adults and two children fit comfortably into my Prius and my clients seem to really get a kick out of all the hi-tech gizmos the car has.”
WEICHERT, REALTORS - Endeavor
Mark Weitekamper, Broker-Associate
“It is very positive to see more and more Realtors working with and towards green practices.
My business is two-fold: part one is as a broker promoting a steadily increasing client base of buyers interested in environmentally friendly buildings. The second part of my business is eco-friendly rehabbing, contracting, and construction projects. Recently, we completed a single family row house as a gut rehab using recycled and sustainable materials, as well as solar hot water heat, and soy-based spray insulation for superior energy efficiency. The home, located at 1900 W. Newport in Chicago, has been enrolled in the pilot Chicago Green Homes program. Another similar project is a four-unit condominium building at 3517 W. Wolfram in Chicago. Information on the row house is available at www.chicagogreenbricks.com.
In daily living, I am promoting and continuously making people in all contact circles aware of the benefits of eco-friendly building practices, as well as energy efficient designs and lifestyles, and the use of sustainable and recycled materials. In addition, my own practice has--when possible—involved biking or using the CTA to and from showings and other work related activities. At this point, I sold my own car and instead of replacing it, I use public transportation and biking when possible, as well as a car sharing program when needed.
I am looking forward to more involved ‘green’ REALTOR® activities and policy in the direction of environmentally friendly practice.
Green Tech Certified Contracting Haderlein and Co., Realtors
John Bosco, REALTOR®
“We are recycling all of our office paper, newspapers, junk mail, plastic, and aluminum. The paper that is processed through the shredder is also recycled.
We have installed an on demand electrical hot water heater. There is no need to keep 40 gallons of hot water around to wash hands and a few dishes occasionally.
We have installed the plastic window covering on the windows in the rear office and have installed a sweep on the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
We have installed an e-fax system that allows printing when required and also saves the faxes for future use.
We have installed LED light bulbs in the EXIT light where the bulbs have burned out and have installed florescent lighting in the offices. Additionally, we have installed CFL bulbs in all of the track lighting.
We have installed a programmable setback thermostat, no heat required when nobody is in the office.
We have installed a garbage disposal to keep the smelly trash volume down to reduce our garbage can liner needs.
We bring our own bags to the office supply store so we do require yet another plastic bag.
We are using 100 percent post consumer recycled paper for our everyday use. When our current supplies of paper towels, toilet tissue and Kleenex have been depleted we will be using the 100 percent post consumer recycled products.
We are working with the office cleaning staff to use environmentally friendly cleaning products for the floors, windows, desk and table tops, and kitchen area.
We are trying to use less paper towels and more cloth napkins and dish rags that can be cleaned and reused.
The Broker has suggested that everybody in the office complete their LEED accreditation testing.
Keep it GREEN…”
Central City Realty and Management
Jane Bishop Lillegard, Real Estate Consultant
“The greenest thing that I do for my business is to use a car from "I-GO", Chicago’s only non-profit car sharing service (see www.igocars.org for more information). Whenever possible, our office carpools to ‘Broker's Opens’ and Regional Meetings. I have also been known to ride my bike to ‘Broker's Opens’ and appointments.”
Keller Williams Realty - Lincoln Square
David Frankel, Principal
“I’m in a small office, but every day do things that add up. My big green practices are:
- Minimizing printing and reusing paper as much as possible. I browse listings online, never printing just to look. I also reuse old listings, flyers, etc and print on the backs of them. My clients never know what will be on the back of listing info sheets when I show them property. Finally, I religiously recycle everything I can't reuse.
- I carry my own coffee mug and have done so since my college days. If I stop for coffee while driving I save paper and often save money. If I meet clients for coffee I choose to go to places that have real mugs for sitting in a shop rather than just paper mugs like at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. I also fill a Nalgene bottle with water at home if I'll be out driving around for a few hours in warm weather.
- I use my lucky fountain pens for signing documents and taking notes in client meetings. I have two pens- one that I've had since 1990 and one I purchased in 2005 and replace ink cartridges in them rather than throwing away disposable pens. They make a good impression aesthetically too.”
Whitney Hall Realty