Real Estate Investing

Mission Aligned and Market Driven

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IMPACT INVESTING IN GREEN HOME DEVELOPMENT AIMS FOR PROFITABILITY ON A TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SEATTLE, Washington (December 22, 2015) – Green Canopy is excited to announce that we have eclipsed a major milestone with our second Impact Debt Fund. The Alder Fund is a Real Estate Impact Investment Fund that is managed by Green Canopy and designed to lend on the development of certified green and guaranteed efficient homes. It has now issued its last loan and will begin winding down – issuing distributions as loans repay over the next 6-9 months.

With the help of the Fund and all of its participants, Green Canopy completed 50 high efficiency homes across Seattle, reaping a total energy savings of 532,000 kWh per year.  “We have mitigated over a million pounds of carbon in the last two years by building Green Canopy homes. That’s the equivalent of planting nearly 30,000 trees every year,” says Sam Lai, the CMO of Green Canopy. “These are metrics that our investors look at when they consider putting their capital to work for a cause. Of course it is also about returns, but not just so.”

The Alder Fund launched in October of 2013 with $7.7MM. Of the 50 Green Canopy homes that were built, nearly 25% of them were sold at price points below $450k in an effort to attract middle and lower income buyers in the Seattle market. These pricing targets were set by Washington State Housing Finance Commission, who partnered on several projects with Green Canopy with the hopes of providing green and energy efficient homes to buyers who also qualify for the Commission’s down payment assistance programs.

“This Fund, which eventually lent over $29MM for the completion of 50 homes, has been especially prosperous, and is an indicator of what mission aligned and market driven capital can accomplish,” said Andy Wolverton, the Fund’s manager and CFO of Green Canopy Homes. “The Alder Fund’s success is certainly reflected in our triple bottom line – and brings more than just monetary returns to our investors.”

The return profile for the Alder Fund is 9-12% annualized - and so far it is on target to achieve that goal. Over 50% of the investors have reinvested in the Birch Fund, Green Canopy’s third Impact Investment Fund which began raising capital this summer. The Birch Fund is targeting a total raise of $20MM and hopes to increase the number of affordable homes for sale here in Seattle and in Portland.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Andy Wolverton
andy@greencanopy.com
O) 206.792.7283

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

Moving Past Infill Ill Will

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By Aaron Fairchild, CEO/Chairman of Green Canopy Inc.

The outcry against residential in-fill has reached a fevered pitch in Seattle. Neighbors are yelling at homebuilders, each other, the city, and anyone who will listen. The themes are relatively consistent; opposition to modern homes, bigger homes, added density, or the fact that projects are unaffordable to existing residents. Builders, on the other hand, are simply trying to build what the market demands – and that may well conflict. But, is the fevered pitch, and ill will around new in-fill developments in the Seattle area necessary, or is there a way to work together?

As someone on the front lines of the neighborhood hostilities trying to do business in a new way, I think there is.  By engaging with (and listening to) neighbors and being transparent about planning and decision-making beforehand, infill housing can become a welcome and community-forwarding endeavor. 

Having heard the angry outcry, and with a focus on continuing to build a human values-based business that contributes to communities, here are a few ideas for how this could be done: 

  • Listen, really listen, first. Changes within a neighborhood can be emotional for many. When you recognize that going in, even hearing concerns starts to build a trust pattern. While plans are still conceptual, hold a community meeting to receive input on the direction of your design.

  • Engage along the way. Especially with topics like sidewalk closures, site work, paint colors, etc. (We use Tumblr quite a bit on this front) Updating the community using a community blog demonstrates awareness that the developer is entering into an established norm of how the neighborhood functions. 

  • Acknowledge feedback and make Changes. When neighbors really see a result of their comments, whether as acknowledgement or in changes to the plan, trust is solidified, paving the way for the best possible relationship with the community throughout the construction process, and helping the new homeowner receive a much warmer welcome.


How is this good business? Engaging the community while building in close quarters with neighbors helps minimize angry calls and letters to the city, intense verbal discussions with subcontractors, and creates a much better work environment for everyone. By approaching our own projects in this manner, we’ve had neighbors bring us warm coffee, cookies, and offer to help. Our homebuyers are a welcome addition to the neighborhood versus being seen with skepticism and mistrust by association. All of this work helps create positive association with our company name and ultimately helps sell our homes.

In this day and age of transparency, builders really can’t “bulldoze” their way into a neighborhood.  If neighbors and builders alike can remain open to each other, listen and engage, we should all be able to learn together how to effectively rebuild our aging infrastructure, honor our past and lay the groundwork for a thriving future in Seattle.

This piece was written in response to a thoughtful article from Seattle Weekly entitled "Boomtown Brawls" by Nina Shapiro.