Marketing the benefits of green real estate

Monday, December 21, 2009

From an article by Kren RIvedal in the Wisconsin State Journal:

You won’t find a glossy folder in Sara Alvarado’s Near East Side real estate office, or a pen, pad, envelope or sheet of printer paper that isn’t made of recycled material.

Alvarado, who co-owns the seven-member company with her husband, Carlos, doesn’t even have a fax machine.

In an industry buried in contracts and fliers, the Alvarado Real Estate Group works as paper-free as possible, using E-Fax and a scanner to send and receive documents electronically, printing out pages only when and if they have to.

The office itself, a smallish space at less than 1,000 square feet on South Livingston Street, boasts other “green” or eco-friendly and sustainable features. Among other things, it has a low-flow toilet, an air-cleaning system, formaldehyde-free furniture, a used wooden conference table, a concrete floor finished with a non-toxic sealant, and a reception counter made of Dakota Burl, a composite material that looks like wood but consists of pressed sunflower seeds.

Clearly, no one can say that Sara Alvarado doesn’t practice what she preaches. For the past five years, she has focused much of her effort on advancing the cause of green building and remodeling, a practice that conserves energy and materials, encourages recycling and sustainability, and aims to cut costs while improving health and safety.

“I think people look for meaning and purpose in life and this is something we tapped into that just feels right,” Alvarado said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the world on a global level.”