Real Estate

Fast Company Names Green Canopy CEO, Aaron Fairchild, One of the Most Creative People in Business

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In the 2018 summer issue, Green Canopy CEO, Aaron Fairchild, was named to "Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business." 

"Your inclusion on the list is an acknowledgment of your innovative and impactful work. You join 99 other remarkable leaders striving to solve global and societal problems in novel ways," states Fast Company Editor-in-chief, Stephanie Mehta.

Fairchild responds, "I am grateful to be recognized by such an esteemed publication as Fast Company, focused on revolutionizing the current business paradigm and to be listed among leaders and businesses using innovation to catalyze the next economy — one that is more regenerative and inclusive."

The Green Canopy Team is honored to have a leader who inspires us to continue doing the deep work necessary to realize the future we believe in.

Why Invest in a Hot Real Estate Market?

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By Kyle Mylius | Director of Investor Relations and Strategy | Green Canopy

Part one of this two-part series highlighted why now is the time to use business as a force for good?

In the last several months, investors have asked about the prudence of investing in a “hot” Pacific Northwest real estate market — a market that has experienced significant home price appreciation since 2013, with Seattle seeing an average 20% increase in the last year alone.
 
Green Canopy's response is emphatic. A multi-faceted housing crisis has created a compelling financial, environmental and social investment opportunity. Not just now, but for several years to follow. Understanding the market fundamentals and deciding how best to manage the inevitable risks is essential to any sound investment strategy — as a developer, as an investor, and as community leaders.
 
"It’s essential for investment success that we recognize the condition of the market and decide on our actions accordingly." — 
Howard Marks, The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

Howard Marks is one of the most successful investors of our generation, known for being an astute observer and risk assessor. Marks strategizes with the understanding that regardless of the economic cycle, there will always be risks with investing — and pockets of opportunity are also ever present. Those who take a contrarian view, seeking out less-obvious and more-manageable risk exposures, with smart and flexible investment structures, are rewarded by opportunities unforeseen and even derided by most.
 
“The trend is your friend” is a common investor phrase and useful tool for evaluating where to invest, or not. A visible trend in the Pacific Northwest is that the inventory of homes for sale remains at an all-time low while demand continues to be high. This is evidenced in several ways including the number of days homes are on the market before being sold and the persistent growth in home prices throughout our region.

At the same time, the Pacific Northwest continues to attract more highly-paid workers looking to relocate. This isn’t just the Amazonians, but many of the major Silicon Valley companies whose employees can sell their homes for a high price in California and buy at a lower price in the PNW. While Seattle’s median home price exceeded $750,000 recently, the market is a relative bargain compared to median home prices in neighboring West Coast cities: San Francisco ($1,200,000) and Vancouver B.C. (US $2,400,000). Portland has also experienced significant appreciation over the last five years, though the median home price is substantially lower,  $440,000 according to Redfin.
 
If demand growth begins to slow, there are a number of factors that will cause gross demand for homes to continue outpacing gross supply. For example, home supply tends to lag behind demand as it typically takes 12–15 months to acquire, build, and sell residential development projects. And in Seattle, the number of new construction home sales has not come close to the number in demand, even with the amount of population growth multi-family apartments and condos are absorbing.

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Data Source: NWMLS and U.S.Census Data 
Public agencies are working to adjust policies and support the high volume of new construction permitting requests, but bottlenecks still remain. Lenders continue to be conservative in extending credit against real estate. The construction industry across the U.S. has only recovered half of the skilled labor lost during the great recession — and many homeowners in the PNW are unwilling to sell. Despite having substantial home equity, PNW homeowners are not motivated enough to sell when they will be faced with the high costs to switch and the lack of options to upgrade.
 
The regional housing market imbalance of supply and demand may not be able to achieve equilibrium in the next year, or two or three. But it will eventually. Investment and development strategies focused on the single-family residential market must be structured to nimbly capitalize on the near term upward pricing trend and well-positioned to respond to inevitable cyclical shifts further down the road.

2017 Green Genius Awards Finalists

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We're looking forward to hosting the 6th Annual Green Genius Awards Ceremony at the 2017 Built Green Conference this year. The Green Genius Awards are the region’s first and only awards to honor real estate brokers who are helping to transform the residential housing market. By listing, marketing and selling homes that have an ecological and social impact in Seattle neighborhoods, these agents are educating a generation of homebuyers and disrupting the status quo of homebuilding. They are helping to change the paradigm of how real estate is valued in a growing city and working to build a more sustainable community. 

The judging committee will be awarding one listing agent, one selling agent, one listing office and one selling office this year based on how many certified Built Green homes they've sold and how much they've promoted green building and the green movement in the past year. Here are this year's Green Genius finalists:

SELLING AGENT FINALISTS
Angelo Ongpin | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Michael Carnovale | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Melissa Harris | Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest

LISTING AGENT FINALISTS
Van Wyck & Porter | Windermere Capitol Hill
Tom Skepetaris | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Ravi Dewan | Real Property Associates

SELLING OFFICE FINALISTS
Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Coldwell Banker Bain
Windermere Wall Street

LISTING OFFICE FINALISTS
Berkshire Hathaway Northwest
Metropolist
RE/MAX Metro

To find out the winners, attend the awards ceremony with the top green agents and green building experts in Washington State, register here.

The Green Genius Realtor Awards and Education Program are made possible by:

Density Decisions

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Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact Part 1

Written By: Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy

"The current housing crisis can not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our solutions will require a more colorful, creative and collaborative approach." 

Green Canopy is a walkable urban infill developer with a mission to Inspire Resource Efficiency in Residential Markets. Since our company's inception, we believed one solution to our global resource scarcity and climate change issues should be infill homebuilding done differently. So began our journey to create a different kind of homebuilder that is more socially and environmentally aware and responsive. In the weeks ahead Green Canopy will publish a series of blogs and data sets that highlight some of the more curious approaches we incorporate to help create positive social and environmental outcomes.
 
We began Green Canopy as a for-profit, market-based model with the desire to make a difference. The thinking was that if we were successful in making a difference, profits would follow and allow the Company to scale our outcomes and impact.

In 2009 we purchased our first infill lot. Our next 59 homes were deep-green, energy efficient, complete home remodels. With the subsequent changes in the market and City regulations, we pivoted entirely to new construction with an emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainable methods and materials as well as increased density through a fabric of single-family, duplexes, triplexes and rowhouses; a mix of housing that is considerably more resource efficient where urban land is scarce. Rather than remodel one home or replace an old home with one new home, we now replace a single, older home with an average of four new, third-party green built certified homes that are over 300% more resource efficient than what was there before. We will sell roughly 40 third-party certified, deep-green homes in Seattle and Portland this year.

As a mission-focused homebuilder we are often looked at with confusion and curiosity from other homebuilders. Occasionally we are mocked and written off as “do-gooders.” It is often assumed that we really don’t know what we are doing. After all, homebuilding is an old profession, historically operating in a similar manner for generations.
 
Well, the times have changed in just one generation, and many of us have not yet recognized it. In the last 50 years the population has doubled. The consumption of water and food has tripled and the use of fossil fuels has quadrupled. Species are going extinct at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times of the normal background rate of 1 to 5 a year. We currently lose dozens of species a day. Humans have done more irreparable damage to the planet in the last 50 years than all of humanity before. Today, humanity continues to flood our cities in droves. Managing the increased density has triggered a serious societal housing problem that will likely be with us for years to come. 
 
As a result, Green Canopy is increasingly relevant in these turbulent times. However, our business model is not a perfect solution, and no solution is. Our housing crisis will not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our housing issues are full of pigment requiring more colorful, creative and collaborative approaches.  
 
Embedded in this thinking, perhaps a silver pellet is revealed? Green Canopy is not a panacea. We are simple. Green Canopy is not particularly sexy. We are straightforward. Green Canopy is not a silver bullet. We are just one pattern in the colorful quilt of potential solutions needed to increase access, affordability and sustainability in urban housing.
 
In 50-years from now, when we have 14 billion human heart beats on the face of the planet, underwater coast lines, food and water security issues, what will our cities look like: Bastions of hope, or of hopelessness? In 50-years Green Canopy’s homes will still be standing as evidence of the purposeful actions that an earnest group of investors and operators took to help make our cities bastions of hope and opportunity. 


Up next - Part 2: Community Meetings Provide Context
Community meetings are not required for the relatively small-scale development projects undertaken by urban infill homebuilders. However, for the last four years Green Canopy has been conducting community meetings for every project we have undertaken. We will share our rational and the data collected from the surveys we have given to the neighbors in the communities in which we build. 


Additional Reading:
With waves of humanity flooding into our neighborhoods, and no simple or easy solution to address our density issues, take some time to read through these two Sightline research articles. They are informative, well researched and helpful as we consider the choices ahead of us. Both of these articles highlight the need for Green Canopy’s approach to increased density.

Red is the New Green

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This year Redfin is topping the charts in the green home sales department. It is staggering to see the number of Redfin clients who are choosing green homes over other competitive properties. Perhaps it could be because Redfin is a next-generation company that represents an evolution in the way homes are bought and sold. It caters to a clientele that wants to be more involved in their home search and wants information at their fingertips, on their terms. 

But the tech alone isn't enough to qualify a great real estate service. Redfin also employs dozens of experienced real estate agents like Allie Howard and Karlyn Goetz. Allie will be a third time finalist for the Green Genius awards this year and Karlyn is setting new personal records for green home sales. When you are working with advanced buyers who know what they want - your agents have to be just as knowledgeable and these agents certainly know what is important when it comes to energy efficiency, walkability and sustainable construction.

What Redfin has proven is that when you enhance the experience of the hunt, give your clients the right tools, and include a team of full-service real estate agents who are advocates for their customers rather than the typical salespeople - you empower your customers. When customers are empowered - they buy homes that align with their values, rather than something an agent sold them on. They buy green homes.

Redfin is a Green Genius Selling Office of the Year finalist and Allie and Karlyn are both Selling Agent finalists. They have certainly helped to transform the local market.

Solo Lofts - courtesy of Redfin

Solo Lofts - courtesy of Redfin

Allie Howard
Green Genius Selling Agent of the Year Finalist
Redfin Real Estate -  North Capitol Hill, Madrona and Madison Park

  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Allie: Having grown up with a strong connection to nature and an inherent instinct to protect our natural resources, there are many things that excite me about green building. Currently, Greywater recycling and water conservation efforts are in the forefront of my thoughts.


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Allie: Solo Lofts in Ballard; not only is it a fantastic Built Green 4-star project, but they also hired Green-centric Brokers to represent them.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Allie: Green homes have a broad appeal for many types of buyers. In addition to the practicality of using sustainably harvested building material and recycled products, indoor air quality and energy savings are also improved . There are typically better design elements throughout green homes as well, improving the quality of life for the homeowner and helps preserve the resale value of their investment.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Allie: I love the current of creative energy that flows throughout the Pacific Northwest. The abundance of natural beauty and outgoing attitude of the people who call the PNW home make it a really inspiring place to live and thrive.


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Allie: Revolution by The Beatles 


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Allie: I love Creole and Cajun food, especially when I am down in NOLA with live music in the air.

Karlyn Goetz
Green Genius Selling Agent of the Year Finalist
Redfin Real Estate - Central Seattle


  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Karlyn: Honestly, it’s how quickly green homes are catching on. Aside from the eco-friendly features, so many of my buyers love green homes for the clean, modern look and family friendly spaces. Green homes tend to be very ‘livable,’ making the decision to buy green easy!


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Karlyn: My favorite project I’ve seen recently is Dwell’s new Emerald Star Home in Ballard.  I love the unique character it has from the use of reclaimed materials. Finding cool original wood floors in 100-year old homes makes me so happy, so why not put them in a new home too?


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Karlyn: Get to know the features of the home that make it unique. Often, buyers know that it’s a green build, but don’t realize the many details that set it apart.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Karlyn: The water and mountain views!! I’m a city girl at heart, but I LOVE that Seattle is so connected with nature. I’m on Lake Union every morning and in the mountains every chance I get!


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Karlyn: Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Karlyn: If I could live off of homemade mac and cheese alone, I would! :)

Susan Stasik: 3rd Time Finalist, Full Time Genius

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Last week we posted about local Brokers who are making an impact in the Seattle real estate market. That list could never be complete without a hat's-off to Susan Stasik. Susan has won the Green Genius Awards for Listing Agent of the Year for the last two years - and we are so honored to know her, her work and the work that she does with one of Seattle's most notable builders - Dwell Development,

Dwell's mission is to create livable, walkable, sustainable communities. They are responsible for completeing over 40 Built Green properties in the mixed-income community of Rainier Vista near the light rail - as well as completing the first Emerald Star Built Green Spec Home in Seattle.

That's what the Green Genius Awards are all about - educating a community and transforming the market to consider sustainability when homes are bought and sold. That's Susan's job. 

Susan Stasik
Green Genius Listing Agent of the Year Finalist
Windermere Real Estate  -  Madison Park

  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Susan: I am buying some acreage in Ce Elum’s high country where I hope to some day soon build a home as close to off-grid that I can achieve, so my most-immediate answer would be solar. Building a home that doesn't have to be hooked up to utilities is an amazing feeling. And now so many buyers and builders are using solar and that is an exciting thing to take advantage of. 


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Susan:  Probably our most recent Emerald Star project. From finding the lot at the very beginning to getting the site orientation correct, and all of the details like the 450% efficiency Sanden heat pump, the barn wood, and the energy efficiency. The Emerald Star home was pre-sold, but there was so much geeking-out about the home. It was fun.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Understand the green features... there's a difference between green enough vs sustainability/health and energy efficiency.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Susan: I love Seattle. It is a vibrant, big city with big city issues - but the progressiveness of the city is amazing. You can't get that everywhere. We are lucky.


  • Sam: What was your superlative in high school – (ie most likely too…)?

  • Susan: Most likely to Lead. I had a wide assortment of friends.


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Susan: Most recently it would have to be the mashup of Rachel Platten & Kelly Clarkston's Heartbeat Fight Song.


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Susan: Definitely cheese & bread.

Who's Making an Impact in Seattle Real Estate? Green Genius Awards on September 9

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No one is questioning the success of the Seattle real estate market right now - but to folks like Susan Stasik, third time finalist for the Green Genius awards, its not about the quantity of home sales that really make her job worthwhile - its about the quality of the homes being sold; its about the people and the attitude toward better living; its about making an impact that affects more than just your pocketbook. Susan along with the rest of the Green Genius Finalists have more than one thing in common. First and foremost they are all stellar agents who know how to treat their clients, negotiate, and navigate the complex landscape of the Seattle housing market. They are all fierce agents with a passion for their jobs. But they do more than just navigate... they shape our market. 

These Green Genius Agents have managed to really push the needle in real estate while simultaneously helping the Emerald City build a reputation for progressive, sustainable living. They are at the forefront of a national trend, and we couldn't be more excited to award their positive influence.

On September 9th - we will announce the winners of the Green Genius Awards at the Annual Built Green Conference in Seattle. Each winner will receive a cash prize. We are thrilled to award these brokers for all they have done this past year. 

We asked each finalist a number of questions to get to know them before the Award Ceremony. Here is the first of seven posts. Let's see what Jay Miller has to say about green building!

Jay Miller 
JAY MILLER - Green Genius Listing Agent of the Year Finalist
Keller Williams Realty  -  Alchemy Real Estate Group

Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Jay: If we can translate the green movement in the same way the EPA has done with MPG stickers for cars, the energy efficiency and lower cost of owning a home (and communicating this to buyers) seems to me to be the most important. What does green in their wallet mean? We are a little numb to Energy Star and efficient hot water heaters, and it’s hard to know what overall impact it has on the home as a whole.


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Jay: I loved all of the green projects I worked on this year of course! My favorite Isola project, the Woodlawn avenue "Licton Springs" because they felt truly stand-alone and AFFORDABLE GREEN.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Jay: It's easy to share with a buyer that an investment in a green home today, may seem like it's pushing the norm, but it's GOING to be the norm in 4.5 years when they sell. Setting up yourself to be a competitive green seller in a market that will soon have that as the norm.

  • For green builders, while mathmatically, they might sell for more...we haven't seen a recession yet...and there's better insulation against market swings.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Jay: That's it's turned into San Diego... but with better weather. The climate, activity & people make the PNW worthwhile. Two years ago I thought my family would have moved because of the weather - but now we are actually staying because of it.


  • Sam: What was your superlative in high school – (ie most likely too…)?

  • Jay: (Laughs) I’m not sure I was voted for anything, but if I was, it would’ve been in 5th grade.  I may’ve been voted most likely to succeed in business, in Mr Ito's class. I owned 1/2 the class businesses at the end of the year in a class market simulator project.  I don’t think that’s what Mr. Ito had in mind when he set up the project!  


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Jay:  Huh? 

  • Sam:  You know…like you’re about to step into a heated negotiation…or you’re very, very late coming home from work…or both.  What do you play in the car at ear wrecking volume to get yourself pumped up?

  • Jay: Black Eyed Peas - don't stop the party


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Jay:  I think a snobby burger is the right fit... Cowboy cheeseburger at Eureka