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Vote With Your Dollars

Events That Led Up To This…

This week stacked up perfectly to tell me what to write about on here.  Early this week, I instructed a group of people on how to be “Green” real estate professionals.  Covering the various national and regional certifications, tips for their business and building techniques, they walked away with a new outlook on their industry.

Then Wednesday, Jim shared a story of one of his clients who doesn’t give a rip about the environment (wow) but is making “green” decisions because of the cost benefits.  Then Jim shared some great “green” information that I encourage you to check out if you haven’t already.

Jack Johnson

That night, testing our might against some strong rain storms, I ventured out to be a volunteer for All At Once, Jack Johnson’s fan community.  I was amazed to learn that Jack almost didn’t tour because of the environmental impact a global tour can have.  Furthermore, he doesn’t take any profit from the entire tour, anything left over after expenses goes directly into a charity that disperses money out to other environmental organizations.  Finally, he has strict requirements of the venues that force him to play very specific locations because his rules typically will create less profit for the venue owners in favor of supporting non-profits Jack invites (and donates to) to the show.

For anyone who has known someone in the music industry, it’s standard mantra to hear that CD’s don’t make a band rich, it’s the touring.  So to hear that Jack Johnson does not personally profit from his tour was simply amazing.

What Does This Have to do With Us?

I have met thousands of real estate professionals in my area and many of them donate to various organizations.  However, I encourage you to do more than that.  Vote with you dollars.  And I’m not talking about political voting, I’m talking about the things you buy.

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  • Making your next car a hybrid shows the automobile industry that you want more eco-friendly, fuel efficient vehicles, which in turn forces them to produce more.
  • Buying organic foods show that you care about our groundwater and the chemicals you are consuming.
  • Using reusable grocery bags demonstrates that you don’t want millions of plastic bags ending up in our oceans and landfills.
  • Buying products from corporations who are using methods to improve their environmental footprint helps their bottom line which shows their competition this is something important and forces everyone in their industry to raise the bar.

Do What You Can

I honestly don’t think Jim’s client is the norm these days, so doing these things and showing them off to your clients and potential clients will hit home and make a great impact on what people think of you, along with making the world a better place for generations to come.  This industry is one of the most uneccessarily wasteful ones I can imaging, between driving endlessly showing properties to the hundreds of printed pages for a simple refi, it’s absurd.

If you need some direction on how and where to vote for the environment with your dollars, check out these resources:

  • ClimateCounts – great information regarding which corporations are taking responsible steps to improve their impact on the environment (sorry all of you Apple fans, they’re not doing so hot these days in this arena).
  • Vote The Environment – put together by Patagonia, this site gives clear information on how our political representatives are treating the environment.
  • The Surfrider Foundation – I’m also a SCUBA instructor, so the oceans are especially important to me.  One of their best initiatives to me is their encouragement of eliminating plastic grocery bags.  I know I have five or six of the reusable bags in my trunk at all times, they’re great.
  • 1% For the Planet – This is a group of companies and independent professionals (you can join too) who give 1% of their sales to help better the worldwide environment.
  • TerraPass – if nothing else, buy carbon offsets for all of the driving and flying you do and your home energy consumption.  It’s incredible inexpensive and very easy to do.

Research Time

I will be going on vacation for the next two weeks (leaving tomorrow!) and will be exploring ways to live with less impact on our environment, from eco-friendly energy sources to proper disposal of waste.  Feel free to interrogate me as much as you want on any of these “green” topics, I love learning and sharing.

In honor of Jack Johnson who seriously impressed me with his unwavering stance on the environment as well as all of those Americans who are currently “upside down” in their current housing situations, enjoy this song/video:

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Written By

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.



  1. Matthew Rathbun

    August 22, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Just this year, I’ve been really making an effort to be more “green”. Unfortunately, I tend to not side with the politicians who try to make this an voting issue. Regardless of who you are, the earth is a gift and we have responsibility to care for it.

    That being said, going “green” for a consumer means more front in cost for a long-term return. My wife and I are on the local Habitat for Humanity Board and we are trying to get information together to build a “green” home. The costs are considerably higher than a traditional home and without substantial sponsorship just isn’t going to happen. So why we’re running around trying to find money to be “green” there are people who are near homeless and have very little time to wait.

    For all other consumers, it’s hard to show the benefits of going green, if the person is already struggling to build the modest home they’ve chosen in the first place.

    I don’t think the real issue with most home buyers is proving the need for a green home, it’s proving how they can afford it.

  2. Nick Bostic

    August 22, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    When I get back, I’ll be sharing a bunch of info over time about the green building process. Here in Oregon, we are a bit more lucky because we have so many government rebates and incentives for many of these programs to help offset the cost. In my class, we learned that to get some of the various certifications (Energy Star, LEED, etc) that the cost to build to these standards only increased the cost by roughly 10%, yet the annual energy savings were greater than 30%. I personally spend about $3000 per year on electricity, natural gas and water/sewer. Taking a $300k house as an example with some very basic numbers, I’d be looking at about $2700/month in payment. If I took it up to $330k (due to “green” expenses), my monthly payment goes up to about $2900/month BUT I’d be saving roughly $1000 per year or $83 per month, making my increase in my payment only $117. Although many people are having a hard time maintaining any form of housing, I think many others who are looking in that price range (and higher) could probably afford the extra $117, I know I could. My next house will definitely be green certified in one form or another because I know I am investing wisely.

  3. Jim Duncan

    August 22, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Nick –

    And that’s the thing. Combine rebates (wish we had ’em in Virginia) for green building with potential savings from green mortgages (again, if wishes were fishes) with the monthly savings in utilities … and the “extra” cost frequently is either a wash or you may come out ahead …

    It’s about dollars for most.

  4. Charles Richey

    August 22, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Nick, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Your saving $1000 a year NOW. Energy prices aren’t going to go down any time soon, if ever. So your potential savings could be $2000 a year in just a year or two. For that reason alone, every home owner should be interested in green technologies. Nevada is behind the curve on promoting green. There are some nice tax breaks, but most of them target new construction. The government needs to really step up to the plate and put out some big tax incentives for energy conservation. Some homebuilders are starting to jump on board here. The increased costs are only about 10% here as well.

  5. Glenn fm Naples

    August 24, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Nick – you should apply any income tax savings to the extra $117 and you will find a lower additional cost.

    Matt – here in the Naples area a number of suppliers and businesses all chipped in with an Xtreme Makeover of a landscaping project to show enviromentally or green methods in landscaping. You might want to consider soliciting business and merchants for the green supplies and offer them some free advertising in front of the home. Hope that helps with your project.

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