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GreenRenter wants to make it easier for owners of green buildings to find potential tenants. Launched earlier this year, the site lists commercial and residential properties in Portland, OR, the hometown of the site’s three founders–Pam Neild, Lev Tsypin and Marti Frank. “We’re working out the kinks, refining the site and improving functionality. Once we’ve got our concept down, we’ll expand to other US cities,” Neild says. In the first of a two-part article, GlobeSt.com asked Neild to explain the origins of the site.

GlobeSt.com: What prompted you to launch GreenRenter?

Neild: Our founding team is socially conscious. We’re just young enough to remember what a hassle renting can be and just old enough to have professional commercial leasing and residential property ownership experience. The core mission of the website is simple. GreenRenter will inspire renters and owners to go green. We’ll make it easy for renters to find and evaluate green properties. We will help owners learn new strategies for sustainability and showcase their efforts.

We have a larger mission too. For us, green building at its best means creating healthy communities. Business owners know that healthy workplaces produce happier employees with lower absentee rates. With climate change, poverty and environmental degradation, we believe the positive trend to live and work in healthy communities will continue to grow out of necessity.

When developing GreenRenter, we researched the Portland market first. We know that approximately 25% of Portland residents are renters. In addition, the population of the Portland Metro area is expected to double by 2015. This equates to more jobs, more commercial buildings and a steady stream of new renters to our region. GreenRenter fills a growing niche in the commercial and residential real estate market.

GlobeSt.com: Can you tell me a bit about the founders and the expertise each one brought to the table?

Neild: Our backgrounds include sustainable development, green building, energy efficiency and internet technology. We were friends before we became business partners, and like many other brilliant business concepts, GreenRenter was born over a glass of local brew on Portland’s Hawthorne Boulevard. Like many Portlanders, we chose to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. What sets us apart is our early adoption of these principles and business expertise within the IT and sustainability industries.

Marti Frank has been working in the green building industry since 2000. She began her career in energy efficiency at Portland Energy Conservation Inc. and continues to lead research projects to reduce energy use in buildings. Lev Tsypin has 12 years of experience in the Internet field. In the 1990′s he worked as a consultant with Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) and Inforte Corp. in Chicago. Before venturing out on his own, he served as the director of programming at Pop Art Inc. in Portland. I’m a program design and communications professional with more than ten years experience implementing resource efficiency programs. I also work for the Portland Office of Sustainable Development.

GlobeSt.com: How is technology advancing the green movement?

Neild: The Internet and related technologies provide entirely new distribution channels that allow advocates to reach audiences that were previously inaccessible. Take, for example, social networking sites like Facebook, and one of its most popular third party applications, I am Green. This application lets users categorize and track their “green” activities and then broadcast them to their friends, which further disseminates information about leading a sustainable lifestyle and provides an incentive for users to participate. This and similar strategies have a strong impact on younger audiences, in particular, who are harder to reach through more traditional outlets like newspapers and magazines. GreenRenter falls into a similar category. By providing building owners and managers a simple and cost effective channel to market their green accomplishments, we believe we are creating an additional incentive to “go green” and thus advance sustainable building practices.

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