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Green Certification: A Way to Meet Community Involvement Requirements

This article provides a way for you to meet community green certification requirements by learning about valuable information. Information you can use. After all information is power. Right?
Written Nov 05, 2008, read 2859 times since then.
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This article provides a way for you to meet community green certification requirements through self-empowerment by learning about valuable information.  Information you can use to make a real difference.  After all information is power.  Right? 

Much has been written about the "green" movement as it relates to environmental sustainability.  Community involvement is a component of environmental sustainability that each of us should include in our Environmental Management System plan (please reference my other article, "Being Green and Environmental Sustainability").  Environmental sustainability involves a personal or business ownership emphasis that contributes to reducing our carbon footprint on the earth.  As we continue the good work of contributing to our carbon footprint reduction and "green" certification, how can we contribute to the carbon footprint reduction of properties that are already contaminated...properties that we don't own in our communities?  Many of us see these properties everyday in our neighborhoods or when we travel within our communities.  Further, many of us may know someone as a friend, family member, business acquaintance or a company representative that owns or may know someone that owns one of these contaminated properties.   So, what information can we pass on to our contacts that will influence and motivate them to cleanup their property?  First, here is some background information.

Economics drive contaminated property cleanup.  It is that simple.  Owners are motivated to cleanup a contaminated property because it makes good business sense.  Because of the environmental liability, owners are not able to refinance the property and potential buyers or developers are not able to obtain institutional financing either.  Stakeholders are restricted by the environmental risk.  Additionally, they are trapped by fear of regulatory exposure, legal exposure and the costs associated with environmental investigation and cleanup.   So, there it sits.  Until now...

An easy way to have a personal impact on the cleanup of community contaminated properties toward green certification is: We can pass information to the owner about insurance and regulatory instrument solutions.   Believe it or not, owners of these environmentally impacted sites are not aware of regulatory and insurance solutions that pay for investigation, cleanup and legal costs.  So, take the bull by its horns and raise the consciousness of contaminated property owners about economic solutions that will appeal to their monetary interests.   Communicate to your contacts that the use of insurance and regulatory statutes to fund the site cleanup will allow them to access the market value of their environmentally frozen real estate asset. 

In other words, money is available to clean the site up and by cleaning up the site the owner will be able to monetize their asset.  The owner isn't spending their money to cleanup their property, they increase their wealth by eliminating the environmental liability and by the way, they will engage in a noble environmental cause.  And, you will have contributed to community cleanup as well.

Key information to pass on to people we know that have contaminated property is: Outside funding sources will pay for investigation, remediation and legal services.  Historical insurance policy funding and potentially liable party (historical owners in title) cost recovery funding is available to every contaminated property owner.  The size of the commercial property, the chemicals-of-concern and the responsible party for the chemical release does not impede instituting these economic solutions.   Incorporation of these sound business principles will provide financial motivation to manage their environmental liability. 

Now you know how to use valuable information in an effort to have a personal and positive environmental impact in our communities while meeting community involvement green practices.  Of course the devil is in the details regarding the specific approach for cleaning up a contaminated property.  You have enough information to be dangerous, a righteous dangerousness if you will, but nonetheless information that is self-empowering, information that will make a difference.

Do you know someone or someone of someone?  Are you ready to communicate an economic solution to that someone that owns an environmentally impaired property?    If you answered yes to each question, what are you waiting for?  Get busy being environmentally powerful!  And, then check the box that asks about community involvement during your green certification efforts.

Learn more about the author, Conrad Vernon.

Comment on this article

  • Business Education 
Bellevue, Washington 
Kirk Davis
    Posted by Kirk Davis, Bellevue, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Hey Conrad, this is an interesting thought on cleaning up our environment.

    It seems like there should be an urgency to get these contaminated properties cleaned up. With outside funding ready to pay for it, how would I identify a contaminated property if I saw it?

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Thanks for your comment Kirk. A contaminated property looks like an abandoned facility. Chain link fence usually surrounds the property with keep out signs. Old former gas stations are typical, but in more industrialized areas many manufacturing facilites will likely have an environmental impact component. Old dry cleaners, even if they are in operation are usually on contaminated property from past years of dry cleaning fluid release before environmental laws were passed.

  • Rental home buyer, and Mentor 
Seattle, Washington 
Allen Cooper
    Posted by Allen Cooper, Seattle, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Hi Conrad, Thanks for the article. This really sounds like a way that we can be proactive in changing our current contaminated environment.

    I was just driving around Seattle and the North end yesterday and it is amazing how many areas are being revitalized or are in need of this. Fixing (decontaminating) these properties would go along way in getting some of these older neighborhoods going again.

    I like your thought especially with these tough times for some businesses that the owner of a property thought it was a liability and not a useful asset can become a positive asset again instead of a negative liability. Please keep up the articles. I would bet that most people in Seattle don't realize that they have the power to help make a positive change in this way. Thanks, Allen

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Allen, I'm glad you see the benefit of environmental sustainability and that all small businesses can engage in community involvement as they strive to become green certified. This is just one way we can become involved in sustaining our communities. Another way may include picking up trash off of our freeways...and many other socially responsible activities. I've planted trees too. :)

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Kirk, I should add to what contaminated properties look like. 55-gallon steel drums on the property are a dead give away. They contain contaminated soil and groundwater from subsurface drilling investigations. And they just stay staged on the property. Its funny, the owners find out they have a contaminated property, but, they don't know that they can take cleanup to the next level at little or no cost!

  • EcoBroker Realtor - LEED AP BD+C - Green Real Estate Agent 
Seattle, Washington 
Shane Petersen
    Posted by Shane Petersen, Seattle, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Excellent article Conrad! In mertropolitan areas most of the real estate has been previously developed and is often contaminated. Your strategy and knowledege of environmental cleanup is invaluable in situations like this. With the availability of insurance and other options to aid in the cost of cleanup many landowners will be able to develop previously contaminated sites into vibrant sustainable projects.

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 09, 2008

    Thanks for your comment Shane. LEED is a program for green sustainable building. As a LEED consultant you are aware that builders/developers get green credits for cleaning up a contaminated property toward gold, platinum status. As soloprenuers we can help them to understand that the credits exist!

  • Founder, UnitingCreatives.com 
Bellingham, Washington 
Joy  Gilfilen
    Posted by Joy Gilfilen, Bellingham, Washington | Nov 10, 2008

    This is terrific to read about. So what's next? Where do I send someone to read more, learn more, get their feet wet?

    Usually people who are in this situation, like you say, may be scared of getting hit with legal problems and financial burdens they would rather not think about.

    How can they get informtion in a safe way that allows them to learn more, even before they contact you for specific help? Are there any great websites to send them to, books they can read, free resources available?

    If you have a couple of leading edge things to refer people to, I would love to post this on one of my life-enhancing business websites.

    Thanks for taking action on global revitalization.

    Joy

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 10, 2008

    Hi Joy,

    www.vernonenvironmental.com provides insight into insurance funding on its homepage and under the services link for Insurnace Archeology. Also, William Willard attorny at law specializing in contaminated site funding through CGL insurance policies at 206.300.7475 and Michael Oskouian with Choice Insurance Brokerage at 425.739.6565. Each are intimately familiar with this program. This program is leading edge in the environmental consulting community. I am considered an expert in the field. Please let me know if my reply is helpful.

  • Sales  Marketing 
Bellevue, Washington 
Grover Naslund
    Posted by Grover Naslund, Bellevue, Washington | Nov 10, 2008

    All good information and it does all of us no good when these types of properties just sit and the environmental issues go unresolved. Knowledge is power and we all have a stake in seeing these type of sites cleaned up. The more we learn, the better we all are. Grover

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 10, 2008

    Thanks for your comments Grover. I presented in this article one way to meet community involvement as it relates to those seeking green certification or ISO 14000 accreditation. Information is powerful. I will continue to drill down into what environmental sustainability means to all of Biznik small businesses from a non-greenwashing perspective.

  • Founder, UnitingCreatives.com 
Bellingham, Washington 
Joy  Gilfilen
    Posted by Joy Gilfilen, Bellingham, Washington | Nov 11, 2008

    Thank you Conrad. this is essential, need to know information...and the most empowering is how to get their feet wet and moving towards getting it done.

    As a student of leadership from the inside out my whole life...the most powerful thing we can do is acknowledge what is possible, to put the potential out there, then provide the tools to get it done. Then let it loose - people do it because they want to make this world a better place. They just need the tools, and a jumpstart to get it going.

    I will post your solutions to my website at www.soapboxcommons.com. Check it out, and if you want to write or comment on it with further information, I would really like that.

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 11, 2008

    Hi Joy,

    Please include a link to www.Vernon Environmental.com when posting my article. This is important to me.

    I'm glad to provide further comments. -Conrad

  • Interior Decorator | Redesigner:  Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island 
Seattle, Washington 
Amy Woidtke (woid-key)
    Posted by Amy Woidtke (woid-key), Seattle, Washington | Nov 13, 2008

    Conrad- Would you consider hosting a workshop on this for us? It can be a beneficial for our clients and for us as community involvement people.

    It's hard for me sometimes to digest things I don't entirely understand by reading - but in a forum in person, where can ask questions and discuss, I become much clearer on things.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  • Licensed Massage Practitioner/Dog Lover/music lover/dancer 
Woodinville, Washington 
Lea Richardson
    Posted by Lea Richardson, Woodinville, Washington | Nov 13, 2008

    Great info. and so needed.

    tx, ~lea

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 13, 2008

    Yes. I'm currently formulating the content. I hope to put a workshop together over the next couple of weeks.

  • Vice President 
Seattle, Washington 
Laurie Landeros
    Posted by Laurie Landeros, Seattle, Washington | Nov 13, 2008

    Hi Conrad, I just read your post and thought you might be interested to know (if you don't already) about my company. ShoreBank Pacific is a commercial bank focused on sustainability and environmental issues in the small business sector. We have expertise in brownfield clean-up; in fact, we were awarded the EPA's Phoenix Award for Region 10 for a clean-up we funded in Astoria, Oregon. I'd love the opportunity to have a longer conversation with you about your work and ours. Thanks for being willing to share this vital information with the BizNik community. Laurie

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 13, 2008

    Well...am I excited to meet you Laurie! I can see an immediate fit. Thank you so much for your comment. Institutional financing is so important to my environmental consulting business and to all of us Biznikers wanting to make a real difference. -Conrad

  • thinkspace - Building a community of entrepreneurs. Thinkspace provides office space, virtual offices, & meeting rooms in the Seattle area. 
Redmond, Washington 
Peter Chee
    Posted by Peter Chee, Redmond, Washington | Nov 17, 2008

    Thanks for sharing this information Conrad. Next time I run into a piece of property that is environmentally challenged, I'll include this information into my due diligence in evaluating a project. Peter

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 17, 2008

    Thanks Peter. When you do run into an environmentally impaire property, please call me anytime to discuss strategy.

  • Sales Executive in LED lighting 
Las Vegas, Nevada 
Adam Wilson
    Posted by Adam Wilson, Las Vegas, Nevada | Nov 21, 2008

    This was an excellent article and very informative. I need some help or advice with somethinngs that we are doing here in Vegas. My company has put me in charge of turning the company itself "Green." I have looked at what seem slike hundreds of different web sites for certifications but they don't explain what the best process to star with is. Also, if my company is a distributor of energy efficient lighting and products that save customers 30-75% on teh energy that they are consuming, can the company get a certification on being green even though we are only a distributor?

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 22, 2008

    Adam,

    Vernon Environmental, Inc. provides green certification through ISO 140001 Environmental System Management implementation. We find funding sources to pay for the certification. Your company is on the right track by positioning itself in the green economy. Please email me at:

    conrad.vernon@vernonenvironmental.com

    It will be worth your time. --Conrad

  • SEO Consultant 
Jersey City, New Jersey 
Elvis Arias
    Posted by Elvis Arias, Jersey City, New Jersey | Nov 07, 2010

    great piece thanks for sharing and keep them coming

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Nov 07, 2010

    Thanks Elvis. If you're interested in environmental sustainability and learning more, please visit . Seize the Green! -Conrad

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