PRIVATELY, HOW GREEN ARE YOU?

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Maybe we need to put our money where our mouths are. Lastweek's Quick Poll revealed a rather stark contrast between what weprofess at work and what we practice at home. When asked How GreenAre You in Your Private Life?, 49% of the more than 260 votes wegot confessed They Could Do Better. This makes sense, of course.Short of abdicating city life for the forest, we can all do better.But a surprising--and surprisingly frank--33% said they'd opt toFire Up That SUV. A paltry 18% claim to be fully Committed at Workand Home. Karen Penafiel, vice president of advocacy for theBuilding Owners and Managers Association International, isn'tsurprised by the results. She sees it all as part of an evolution.For the record, she would put herself in the committed category,and she gives us a hint about her approach:

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-0-0-0-0-0-"The results don't surprise me although I would likechoice Number One to be higher than it is. What we're findingprofessionally, especially through our Seven-Pointchallenge, which is getting pretty widespread adoption atthis point, is that usually in each business there are just one ortwo people who fall into that Very Committed category and lead thecharge for the rest of the organization. That's what we're lookingfor in our environmental efforts--that one person to take chargeand be the instigator.

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"The people who are committed in their private lives are muchmore likely to carry it into their professional lives, and viceversa. If you look at the number of companies that are doing it,they are capturing headlines, but in reality they follow along thesame percentages. I'm glad to see them capturing those headlines,because that's going to be what other people react to, andhopefully latch onto. The more companies that make the leap themore it snowballs.

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"It's our job--all of us who are committed to it--to make it aseasy for the rest of the people to do it. By easy I mean make surethe education is there. We need to take away the barriers and theexcuses and communicate continuously the return on investment andthe other positive reasons for doing these things in both yourbusiness and private lives.

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"For myself, I'm pretty committed. You can always do better, butfor myself, I'd say number one. I yell at my kids constantly toturn off the lights and recycle. I just replaced my air conditionerwith an Energy Star unit and I'm quite proud of myself for doingthat (although I have to qualify that by saying the old one hadbroken down). We sold our SUV about two years ago and, while Ididn't go so far as to get a hybrid, I did get a veryfuel-efficient car. And there are only a few light bulbs left thatI haven't changed out. So actually, I think I've been doing apretty good job of walking the walk."

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John Salustri

John Salustri has covered the commercial real estate industry for nearly 25 years. He was the founding editor of GlobeSt.com, and is a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Journalism award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.