by Stacey May
on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 10:11pm.
GRC APPLAUDS THE 2011 EVERGREEN AWARD WINNERS
The votes are in. They're counted. And the winners for the 2011 EverGreen Award have been picked. The Green REsource Council and an independent panel chose four outstanding GRC members to be honored this year. They are Evan Little, Melisa Camp, Bill Costley, and the New York State Association of REALTOR®, Inc.
The EverGreen Award winners exemplify what the GRC is all about. Winners have been dedicated to advancing the green industry, they're committed to education, they stay on top of the latest green research and science, and each day they embrace sustainable practices in their work and life.
Evan Little, REALTOR®, GREEN, LEED GA, has become central to the green home industry in his Southern California market. In addition to his work at Surterre Properties, Inc., where he does property sales, rentals, investments, property management and consulting, he's also been instrumental in getting green features and fields added to his local MLS. Little spent several years organizing the Orange County Green Drinks chapter and has gotten multiple green industry credentials. Clients give him the nod for "walking the walk" and for being a green pillar of the community.
Evan Little has been described as a green force in his office and in his community. And he's also cemented a reputation as the go-to guy for green in his Newport Beach, Calif. market. He's done it in part by being a master networker who makes connections through a huge array of activities that he either organizes or participates in.
Among them are the USGBC-Orange County Chapter, where he was recently elected to the board of directors. Spearheading MeetUp groups and Orange Country Green Drinks events also has brought Little into contact with green industry professionals and consumers with a green bent.
In addition, Little, a practitioner with Surterre Properties, Inc., Newport Beach, Calif., has amassed sterling green credentials that include GREEN, LEED Green Associate, EcoBroker, a California Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services CHEERS® Rater, NAHB GPB, and Build It Green RPR CEBP. He's also one of the 2011 winners of the GRC's EverGreen Award.
Yet it's not always been an easy road. Little's devotion to green--promoting it, getting education, and networking in the niche--has zapped some of his market time in recent years.
But the knowledge has brought him opportunities beyond listing and selling real estate. For instance, Little has been working with a couple in Newport Beach who are building a green house. The goal is to get a LEED Platinum certification for the property.
He's serving on the green house team, which includes architects, engineers, and a green certification consultant. Little blogs about the property, gets media attention for it, and organizes building tours that help people better understand the finer points of a green house. It's a way to employ his green knowledge in a fresh way.
Searching for green
Little also is focused on taking a second look at the green MLS. He was instrumental in greening his local MLS, SOCalMLS.com. But he doesn't consider it a done deal yet and he's gunning for further changes.
He'd like to see a housing version of an MPG rating as a standard--and searchable--field in all MLSs, whether that's a LEED certification, a HERS score or another rating. "Then consumers can actually shop the same way they shop for a car," he says. "Appraisers will have real data to figure out if green houses are selling faster or for more money than others, and then banks can offer energy efficient mortgages." Right now, he finds that it's still too cumbersome for real estate practitioners and consumers to find green-certified properties
Promoting green and spotting new opportunities and capitalizing on them are all part of Little's regular activities as a green real estate professional.
And though developing his green niche has brought some short-term challenges, he believes that all his activities are positioning him for a bright future. "I realized far in advance that this would be an investment and that it would be a while before we could make money with green properties," says Little. "It's a slow progression."
Three smart ideas
Here are three bits of insight you can glean from Little and apply in your business:
1. Concrete talk: Talk to people about green things they can relate to. Global climate change is too fuzzy a concept for most people, believes Little. "Pollution is more concrete, you can prove it, and its causes are the same as those that cause global warming," he comments. He's found that when people have had personal experiences with poor water or air quality that has affected their health, the argument for greener choices becomes more compelling.
2. Casting wide nets: Get out in your community and do some broad networking in both casual, non-professional groups and among other green professionals. Lots of his activities, Little acknowledges, won't generate a listing or a sale. But for him, it's personally rewarding to help people in their green quests. Professional groups, such as AIA and USGBC, bring him solid business knowledge, new leads, and a wider base of contacts.
3. Leverage your expertise: Find fresh ways to apply your green knowledge, as Little has done with the Newport Beach house. He could conceivably provide similar services to help green builders needing insight on green buyers' needs and motivations. And if Little helps a builder get media attention and he generates traffic to a property, then who's the most natural person to put together a real estate deal?