Admittedly, and almost embarrassingly, sustainability is one of the topics with which I am wholly unfamiliar. Although unfamiliarity is the very reason I endeavored a graduate education, it is an awkward feeling to be so much more familiar with other topics and then attend a class where you feel like your lack of knowledge is almost a faux pas. Tsk, tsk Stephanie.
My primary objective in enrolling in graduate school was to widen my breadth and depth of knowledge associated with anything real estate so that I would be better able to deliver quality products and solutions while intelligently navigating conversations with peers, mentors and clients. Without a doubt, sustainability is, has been, garnering much needed attention and the introduction had on Tuesday was enlightening for me. I’ve never really put thought to what are the emerging trends or innovations. Having the opportunity to think and then discuss, hear other’s ideas and so forth, was a great start. I must say my ideas of electric and hybrid cars, wind farms and solar energy sounded less sophisticated.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss with a colleague the idea that individuals can think about or even measure their own carbon footprint, and then make a conscious effort to do things that will earn credits, if you will. Companies can utilize education of their employees on this topic as a means to get them involved and feel personally responsible for being more conscientious. It’s a lifestyle, not something considered in certain places or among certain people. After that discussion, I looked up a few sites in the internet and for the first time, learned about greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. (Again – tsk, tsk) Since then, I’ve been much more conscious of being wasteful and neglectful in my consumption and use of various things – for lack of a better word.
Further, in light of the multiple references to social media and technology as an emerging trend having a significant impact, this is true not only with respect to the speed which business can now be conducted, but also with regards to giving employees and companies more options on how to work. Telecommuting and the use of live meeting technologies allows individuals to work remote and I can personally speak to the increased productivity if affords. It shouldn’t be construed as the opportunity for one to slack off or fly under the radar (assuming your hiring practices are rigorous and tight!). Telecommuting reduces the number of times employees must travel to client sites, subsequently reducing congestion and pollution emission sources. Space policies employed by companies are moving towards smaller and smaller footprints as they realize individuals don’t require so much dedicated space and actually prefer having the option to work from home or otherwise. This is evidenced by the best in class average square foot per worker dropping down to approximately 180 rsf/person, a reduction of nearly 75-100 rsf/person compared to just 5 or 10 years ago. That’s a considerable savings in terms of rent, operating expense and capital required to build space out. These industries are pioneering this new mode of working. I look forward to learning more of the economics associated with sustainable lifestyles and modes of operating!