Feb. 29: What real estate agents may want to know about sustainability & green houses

Rob Chrisman

Rob Chrisman began his career in mortgage banking – primarily capital markets – 31 years ago in 1985 with First California Mortgage, assisting in Secondary Marketing until 1988, when he joined Tuttle & Co., a leading mortgage pipeline risk management firm. He was an account manager and partner at Tuttle & Co. until 1996, when he moved to Scotland with his family for 9 months. See more

Living in a WI-FI world:


Rheem has outfitted its Prestige Series water heater, plus furnace and air conditioner units, with the Wi-Fi enabled EcoNet system. If you find this concept as fascinating as I did, check out the video. What will they think of next?


Innovation with shipping containers:


Here is another, wow, who thinks this stuff up? An Argentinian mall was constructed with shipping containers! Designed by Cecilia Bertezzolo from the Buenos Aires-based BZZ Architecture, the QUO Container Center consists of 57 maritime shipping containers salvaged from a local port. The community features rows of restaurants, art shops, boutiques, cafes, and gallery spaces. These astonishing photos are well worth the click.


Streetlights named amazing:


The latest major advancements in streetlight technology, including models in Copenhagen, Denmark, that point out empty parking spaces, in Glasgow, Scotland, that measure air and noise pollution, and in Los Angeles that boost Wi-Fi coverage. The newest of the bunch is designed specifically for Southeast Asia, and can kill mosquitoes, charge cell phones, and issue flood warnings. Eight of these lamps have already been installed at the University of Malaya campus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as a pilot project.


At the top of the new Malaysian streetlight, a wind turbine and solar panels gather power, so it’s possible for it to work completely off the grid in rural areas. A box on the lamppost attracts mosquitoes by trying to smell like a human: a UV light and titanium dioxide combine to make a little CO2, which is as irresistible to mosquitoes as human breath. Once the insects fly closer to investigate, a fan sucks them in and kills them. Having a network of the lights could help fight dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness that killed 200 people in the country last year. In a flood, something that’s also common in the area, the streetlight can measure the height of floodwater, and send reports and warnings via an antenna. Because all of the electronics are at the top of the pole, and the bottom is waterproof, it can keep working as the water rises. If other power sources go out, people in a neighborhood can walk to a streetlight to plug in their cell phone or rechargeable batteries.


My only concern with this amazing technology is, what if a flood triggers a mosquito attack causing a power outage? How would I make a phone call?


The French are going solar:


The French government announced a plan to outfit 621 miles of road with solar panels in the next five years. After completion, the road will become the first photovoltaic road surface in the entire world, and will be able to provide energy to millions in the country. The solar road project, “Wattway”, was first introduced in October 2015, the technology consists of ultra-thin (7 millimeters or less than 0.4 inches) yet durable panels of polycrystalline silicon that convert solar energy into electricity. Wattway will be able to power to street lights, illuminated signs, tramways, housing, and office venues in huge volumes. A 215-square-foott Wattway panel, for example, is able to accommodate a single home without heating. And a 3,200-foottlong section of Wattway panels are able to power the street lights for a town of around 5,000 inhabitants. With the current prices of electricity, I would take a holiday with the savings.



Further proof of solar power gaining steam:


According to a new report released by the Solar Foundation, the solar industry is adding workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy. The National Solar Jobs Census 2015 report there are a total of nearly 209,000 workers employed in the solar industry as of November 2015, representing 1.2% of all jobs created in the U.S. over the last year. Over the next 12 months, surveyed employers expect to see total employment in the solar industry to grow 14.7%, in contrast to the 1.1% growth expected for the overall economy.


By division, respondents expect installation firms will add the most jobs during 2016, followed closely by project development firms. Solar workers are paid at a competitive rate with an annual raise, according to the report. But, employers in the solar industry reported difficulty finding qualified labor during 2015. By Census division, employers in the Middle Atlantic had the most difficulty hiring in 2015, as opposed to employers in West North Central and West South Central, where 31.9% and 31.1% of respondents reported that it was “not difficult at all” to hire skilled employees. The Solar Foundation drills into employee demographics, as well as division-specific data in their full report. 


Sustainability is where it’s at:


Future employment opportunities are most certainly catapulting toward sustainable business. There is a growing need for a skilled labor force that can meet the needs of socially and environmentally focused firms. The rate of growth for jobs with “environmental compliance” as a keyword has increased by 24 percent since 2010, while jobs focusing on “energy efficiency” have grown by 500 percent since 2009.


California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland are the top states for sustainability jobs, based on the number of job listings on Simply Hired. Many of these states, particularly California, are where there has been the most job growth in the cleantech sector.


The sustainable buildings sector is also a major source for sustainable business opportunity. California, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia topped the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) recent list for top states for number projects for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system.


The front-runners in sustainability employment include: solar power contractors, wind turbine installers, sustainable construction engineers, hybrid vehicle techs, environmental protection specialists, environmental engineers, water engineers, agricultural and food scientists.



Bambi, a blonde in her fourth year as a UCLA Freshman, sat in her US government class.


The professor asked Bambi if she knew what Roe vs. Wade was about. Bambi pondered the question; then, finally, said, “That was the decision George Washington had to make before he crossed the Delaware.”




(Copyright 2016 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman. To subscribe please visit www.knowledgeforrealestateagents.com.)