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Smart Resource Use Is Good Business

Many consider commercial buildings to be one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions and Clear Blue Commercial’s Carolyn Pistone discussed how buildings can be environmentally sound and profitable in this EXCLUSIVE.     

Pistone established an advisory board to expand Clear Blue’s sustainability consulting business.

PETALUMA, CAClear Blue Commercials president and managing director Carolyn

Pistone is an ecobroker and certified green building professional who has successfully built a collaborative consultancy that enables landlord clients, vendors, team members and the planet to thrive. Clear Blue provides property owners with sustainable, profitable and environmentally conscious solutions for facilities.

After many years of implementing green upgrades to the properties it manages, Pistone recently established an advisory board to help expand its sustainability consulting and project management services for all types of commercial real estate properties. Considering commercial buildings are a large contributor to carbon emissions, Pistone discussed how they can be both sustainable and profitable in this exclusive. Many businesses and building owners would like to make green upgrades, but isn’t it more expensive?  

Pistone: This is a common misconception, especially when the upgrades are not viewed holistically. All investors and business owners know that smart resource usage is good business. Increased carbon emissions are not just bad for the planet, they are also bad for landlords’ and tenants’ bottom line. Renewable energy sources, lighting conversions and water-saving initiatives not only save costs today, but can be a hedge against inflation tomorrow.

One of the ways we have worked to mitigate the upfront costs of many improvements for our clients is to take a comprehensive approach to the property. We review and price every possible upgrade, calculate all the energy and water savings, and then review all the possible grants, rebates, financing options and tax incentives. We then calculate the time to ROI (in many cases less than three years) and show the client how much it is costing them every month they wait. Many utility companies offer programs for no-interest on-bill financing where people can pay for these projects on monthly utility bills through energy savings.

In this way, we were recently able to complete a large LED conversion in an office building with no out-of-pocket cost to the landlord and no increase in operating expenses. The EV charging stations installed in the same building recouped 50% of the costs through a grant from our local air quality management district, and, even with the additional electrical draw from the charging stations, the utility bills still dropped due to the LED conversion. These valuable amenities allowed rents to stay competitive, helped our client attract tenants and helped our tenants attract employees without increasing costs to either one. How do sustainable upgrades affect property values?

Pistone: The short answer: they increase it. Although there is not yet comprehensive data that valuation professionals have adopted, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there. One example is the building we mentioned earlier. Our client purchased the building in late 2011 for just under $3 million and sold it in mid-2017 for just over $8 million. Even if the sustainable upgrades only accounted for 10% of the profit, the increased value is still significant. Aside from the quantifiers, which support an investment in sustainability upgrades, how can commercial real estate be a leader in combating climate change?

Pistone: Our commercial buildings are the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world: greater than all of our cars, jet planes and super-tankers, and where the greatest opportunities are for positive environmental impact. We need to include sustainability in our definition of ‘highest and best use’ of every property. Although current building innovations and standards are allowing us to build new structures with net zero environmental impact, we know that the greenest buildings are the ones that are already built. How do your brokerage services fit in with your sustainability mission and related project management services?

Pistone: We strive to meet every client and property where they are, and, through the course of each transaction, project or consulting assignment, move them forward on the sustainability continuum. Obviously, the broader our reach, the greater positive impact we can have on our planet and in our communities. What additional capabilities does your advisory board bring to your current service offerings?

Pistone: Our new board members boast extensive expertise in law, project management, customer relations, sustainability, business consultation and entrepreneurship, providing strategic guidance as well as operational and industry counseling. The board intends to work with us to market and scale our business throughout our region and beyond, maximize opportunities for our sustainability-driven mission, and create a support structure for our clients, agents and project managers.

Farm to Fork in Colusa

By  Ben Goldman, Agent,

Wine from local vineyards, stuffed mushroom caps, watermelon filled with salty feta cheese, breads and extra virgin olive oil to start a steady stream of good country music by local faves Amanda Gray and Chris Lockhart from Yuba City set the tone above the low hum of big industrial swamp fan coolers working away to keep the crowd cooled under the big shady trees to manage the 110-degree heat in support of local farmers and ranchers.
Yep, July 22 the thermometer in Colusa reached a scorching 110 – just in time for the 2nd annual Farm to Fork Dinner held at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
The Dinner was a near sold out affair anyway and lots of folks came out, I would guesstimate upwards of 150 or so, to celebrate local farming and support the community.
A special congratulation to Jennifer Diaz for doing such an amazing job making this event happen. As she commented to me recently, ” Lots of work, Lots of fun”.
That genuine spirit was certainly evident to all attendees.

And, no kidding, after an hour or so I was comfortable enough to forget how hot it was!

The Colusa Certified Farmer’s Market committee along with the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce organized the event with help from a Grant from Premier Mushroom, a tenant at Colusa Industrial Properties, Northern California’s Premiere AgriTech Industrial Park.
Rocos Bar and Grill, Colusa Casino and Market Street Grill served the locals.
Main Street Grill was responsible for the outstanding Prime Rib and Vegetarian Lasagna entrees.
And It was all locally sourced; Certified Angus Beef, vegetables, fruits, nuts, scratch made breads, wine, olive oils and locally grown plants everywhere.

Great raffle prizes of foods, garden plants and supplies; table gift bags followed a yummy selection of desserts What a bounty! – I’ll be looking forward to next year’s Event…………please.

Keep your eye on the new residential development at Colusa Industrial Properties, adjacent to the gold course. Those future residents, of the 180 home project, will be assured of a healthy, sustainable, Farm to Fork lifestyle as part of this generous farming and ranch community.


Clear Blue Commercial Appoints Advisory Board and Adds New Agent as Company Expands Real Estate Brokerage and Sustainability Consulting Services

PETALUMA, CALIF. — August 3, 2017— Clear Blue Commercial announces the formation of an advisory board as the company prepares for a future focused on expanding its purchase and lease transaction services and helping property-owner clients achieve sustainable, profitable and environmentally-conscious solutions for their facilities. It also welcomes Janie Glidden to its brokerage team to assist clients with development, transactions and project management. A certified green building professional, Glidden joins Clear Blue Commercial after serving as executive director of the American Subcontractor’s Association of California, and she brings an extensive background in helping companies navigate construction, energy and sustainability projects.

Its new board members boast extensive expertise in law, project management, customer relations, sustainability, business consultation and entrepreneurship, providing strategic guidance, as well as operational and industry counselling. The board intends to work with Clear Blue Commercial to market and scale its business throughout the region and beyond, maximize opportunities for its sustainability-driven mission, and create a support structure for its clients, agents and project managers.

“Like many other successful purpose-driven small businesses, we established this dynamic advisory team for our next phase of growth as we expand our sustainability consulting and project management services for all types of commercial real estate properties,” said Carolyn Pistone, president and managing director of Clear Blue Commercial. “Additionally, adding Janie to our team perfectly complements our mission to help property-owner and tenant clients with cost-saving facility greening, decreasing their environmental footprint and making their buildings healthier for its users and the planet.”

The advisory board includes:

  • Donald Black – A director at Andersen Zeigler PC, Black is a veteran Sonoma County business, real estate transactions and financing attorney.
  • Cate Steane – Steane owns a professional project management business, where she helps small and mid-size businesses plan for project success.
  • Tim Saavedra – Vice president of West Petaluma Umpqua Bank, Saavedra has a broad understanding of financial lending and transactions.
  • Oren Wool – Wool is the executive director of Sustainable North Bay, hosts the renowned
  • Sustainable Enterprise Conference and is a consultant for companies bringing healthy, environmentally conscious products and services to the market.
  • Laurie Zerga – Zerga is a strategic advisor for business owners looking to grow their business’ potential.

“Under the direction of its passionate leader, advocate and broker Carolyn Pistone, Clear Blue Commercial has clearly shown its clients how their facilities can be both sustainable and profitable,” said board member Wool. “Commercial buildings are the single largest contributor to carbon emissions, and Clear Blue’s mission to green them brings the greatest positive environmental impact we can make. Its strategies are already proven effective, and I’m thrilled to serve as a strategic advisor within this board because of how critical and important this work is. People – starting with businesses and property owners – need to pick up the slack and be catalysts for reversing damage to the environment.”

Clear Blue Commercial helps clients reduce operating expenses while deepening a commitment to environmental sustainability through green energy upgrades. These upgrades include solar energy, battery and fuel cell storage, landscape conversions, LED lighting conversions, and installation of EV charging stations, among others. Its detailed and efficient property transformation services include researching and applying for grants, incentives and rebates; providing ROI calculations for each element of the project; applying for the most advantageous financing options; establishing performance metrics; assembling the trades team and managing the installation process; and collaborating with client’s marketing and leasing strategies to maximize the project’s value-add.

Clear Blue Commercial’s successes include nearly tripling a Petaluma office building’s value in eight years after providing a multitude of energy upgrades at no cost to the owner. The owner, who bought the property in 2011 for $3 million, recently sold it for $8 million. Additionally, it has performed a number of turf conversions from grass to drought-tolerant landscapes in an effort to both decrease water usage and the expense to the landlord. Its largest project, dubbed Mulchstock, eliminated 64,000 square feet of lawn and is saving 1.6 million gallons of water annually.

Added Marty Pistone, Clear Blue Commercial owner/agent, “Smart resource usage is good business for the short- and long-term. Our goal is to aggregate financial incentives with as little out-of-pocket investment and as much savings as possible for our clients. Additionally, our projects make facilities healthier, boost employee satisfaction, create positive marketing opportunities and increase the property’s value. It truly is a winning combination for the property owner, building users and the planet.”

About Clear Blue Commercial
Clear Blue Commercial is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage, sustainability consulting and project management company dedicating to maximizing its clients’ investments, saving its clients’ time, and adding value to local communities. A North Bay Business Journal Community Philanthropy and Outstanding Facility Management award winner and voted Best Green Business in 2016 by Northbay Biz magazine, Clear Blue Commercial has successfully saved its clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in green upgrades and energy savings. Clear Blue Commercial is the only commercial real estate firm to be a certified Green Business, a certified Small Business, a certified Woman Owned Business, and a B-Corp.

Faced with a political climate in which environmental protections may be rolled back, more than 200 people turned out Wednesday to learn about how to create a more sustainable economy, not only for the planet but also for the profit column.

Read more:

At Sonoma State conference, sustainable business is the topic

“Out of Africa:” A Commercial Real Estate Perspective

By Annie Sherman, Administrative Coordinator for Clear Blue Commercial

Rooftop Under Construction in Nairobi, Kenya | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

A Trip of a Lifetime

Map of Kenya, Africa | Source:

Recently, I visited Kenya, Africa for a few weeks. Since many of us in the United States (U.S.) are geographically challenged (including myself), Kenya is on the east coast of Africa. Kenya is smack dab on the equator and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. Rain storms, sunny days, and beautiful African skies every day all day. And the sun rose and set relatively at the same time every day!

In an email to friends, family, and staff, a few days before the historical November 8th election, I wrote that “In a few words, this trip was: humbling, eye opening, shocking, beautiful, enriching, relaxing, and wonderful!” And I went on to say:

“This trip makes me feel like a tiny ant on a humongous planet. And oh my goodness – seeing the election coverage over here is stunning. The whole world is watching. Mock polls in Kenya show overwhelming support for a woman president. Whichever way this goes, this will be a very interesting four years.” ~ Annie S., November 2016

Commercial Real Estate sector in Kenya is BOOMING!

While in Kenya, I spent most of the time in Nairobi, the city’s capital. Nairobi’s population is over 3 million people and growing. There is virtually no order on the streets, and it was naturally rare to see a white person. Tourists generally seem to stick to the Maasai Mara for Safaris.

Multifamily buildings in Nairobi, Kenya | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

And everywhere you look, buildings are being built. I mean…everywhere! What struck me immediately upon arrival was the apparent lack of safety involved with construction. People were literally hanging off buildings and structures seemed unsafe. The construction was fascinating and like nothing I had seen before. It was made out of what appeared to be cinder blocks and a lot of iron sheets were used on the shacks and many roofs. The paint was colorful and there were black plastic water tanks everywhere.

Solar Panel Parking Lot at Garden City Mall in Nairobi, Kenya | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

Some modern malls are being built by South African investors and they included progressive features such as the solar panel parking structure seen in this picture. However, to confirm my observations about the lack of safety, about a week and a half into our trip there was a huge building collapse that killed 3 people.

Multifamily Apartment Complex in Nairobi, Kenya | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

The Final Frontier

Africa is ultimately the final frontier for mostly everything. What seems to be happening from my discussions with locals and watching the local news is that foreign (especially Chinese) and local investors are snatching up land rapidly, much like I imagine it was like here in the U.S. some 100 years ago. So what seems to be happening in Nairobi is that the population is growing rapidly and people need places to live. Multifamily structures are built and then added on to as the money rolls in – layer after layer is built, higher and higher.

Photo of News Station | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

With government corruption – or rather the lack of an official system of accountability that is effective – safety standards are not enforced. So, when I say “Commercial Real Estate is “Booming” in Kenya,” I mean this in both senses of the word unfortunately as some of the buildings are actually booming to the ground.


A Resilient People

I have never seen such hard working, resilient, graceful, and beautiful people in my life. I have seen this somewhat on an individual level in the U.S., but nothing like this. People are at every corner selling something; there are people everywhere. So much that when I returned to the U.S. and saw no one on the streets, it felt lonely like a ghost town. In the face of AIDS, a government that generally speaking does not seem to do much for its people on the whole, the lack of sound roads to get from point A to point B, and the prevalence of diesel and trash burning pollution, the people of Kenya put up with a LOT. I swore not to complain about anything when I returned to the U.S. except only to complain about me or someone else complaining. And I have been through a lot personally, but nothing compared to mass poverty and pollution.

But in the face of such adversity, the Kenyan people wake up every day and work hard – I mean hard. As a young child all the way to an elderly age. Much like how it used to be in the U.S. before child labor laws and retirement. They care for one another and look after each other for the most part. Family is number one and family gatherings are important. Religion is important. Community is important. With western influence I am told this is changing and that the quest for individuality and modern amenities is unavoidable.

What Amazing Animals!

I was fortunate enough to visit Nairobi National Park, where the famous burning of the elephant tusks happens to raise awareness about the very real threat of wildlife due to poaching (A great documentary called “The Ivory Game” is on Netflix to learn more about the devastation of poaching). It was neat to see the city as a backdrop to Kenya’s astounding wildlife. And even more “fun” (more like TERROR!) when our car battery died when viewing some hungry lions nearly 100 feet away! But that is a story for another day. Here are a few photos from that adventure!

A Well-fed Lioness | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

Burned Ivory at Nairobi National Park | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

Just Look at those eyelashes! | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016

Who would think a baby warthog would be so CUTE?! | Photo credit: Annie Sherman, Copyright 2016













I hope everyone that reads this can have a new appreciation for what a beautiful and resilient country Kenya is and that although there is a huge real estate boom, to consider the many risks and effect(s) you may have through your investments on the local culture and economy and to always give back.


Thanks to all of our friends!

We passed 400 likes on our facebook page this morning and couldn’t be more grateful to our loyal and new followers on social media! As you may already know, we are not concerned so much with numbers and stats but more interested in sharing our message and our services to the local and global community and learning more from our friends!

We feel pretty special!

Clear Blue Commercial is the first ever and only Commercial Real Estate Company that has been certified as a B Corp, Small Business, Woman-owned, AND Sonoma County Green Business all together! We constantly strive to be a better company and provide better service to our current and future clientele.

What the future holds..

This year we plan to manage your commercial property, sell your commercial real estate, help you find your business a place to lease, provide your commercial building sustainability projects such as energy efficiency upgrades and water-saving landscape conversions, and much more!

Engage us!

Please let us know how we can help you and about collaborative opportunities.

This means a TON to us. If you think our posts are good, hit the like and share buttons. If you feel compelled, please comment. Please message us. You can also folow us/message us on @ClearBlue_CRE on Twitter and at Clear Blue Commercial’s Company page on LinkedIn!

We are truly grateful for all your support and business and look forward to a bright 2017!




Clear Blue Commercial Moves UP In NBBJ’s Annual Book of Lists!

In 2017, Clear Blue Commercial will be YOUR exclusive real estate company to turn to for your property management, leasing, and sales needs. Among many reasons, including our values-driven sustainability model and our exceptional service, the very latest news is that we were ranked among the top real estate brokerages, top property management companies, and top woman-owned businesses by the North Bay Business Journal (NBBJ) in their 2017 Annual Book of Lists!

Clear Blue Commercial has moved up in position and is now ranked as:

 #14 in top Property Management Companies
#15 in top Commercial Real Estate Brokerages
#34 in top Women-owned Companies

The Book of Lists is the definitive source of business information in the North Bay. It is a compilation of all lists published in the North Bay Business Journal throughout the year, including the largest companies in a wide range of major industries such as Banking & Finance, Health Care, Construction, Wine, Technology and Real Estate. ~ NBBJ


Come network with executives who made the list at the
North Bay Business Journal‘s Book of Lists Release Party on
Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 5-7 pm!

Contact Clear Blue Commercial today
for all your commercial property management needs!


What it means to be a Women-Owned Business in 2016

On the national and world stage, we face significant highlights in women’s accomplishments such as Hillary Clinton’s historical primary presidential election win while simultaneously our own local minor league baseball team the Sonoma Stompers has quietly “integrated” the boys of summer, by signing the first (not one, not two, but three!) women players on a professional baseball team since the 1950s. We would like to believe that it is no coincidence that the Stompers achieved their first title as a franchise, clinching Pacific Association Championship.


We are in the midst of a significant shift taking place for women and minorities nationally and abroad. When we opened our doors for business in June 2014 as the newly formed entity known as “Clear Blue Commercial,” I had some idea as a woman in the commercial real estate industry of what challenges may arise, but have been increasingly amazed at the triumphs that have accompanied those challenges. From the beginning, Clear Blue Commercial has taken a firm stance on “collaboration being the new competition” and that real change in the industry and in the world takes place when people help each other and benefit with a win-win result.

We started as a company of working mothers, in my opinion the most productive untapped workforce out there, and have expanded that vision to encompass a variety of talented and diverse individuals with a full pallet of skills, interests, and demands on their time.

We have integrated transparency (clear), sustainability (blue), and the triple bottom line (commercial) into all of our policies.” ~ Carolyn Pistone


We have sought to create an atmosphere that allows our team to express their highest and best selves in their work, in our work, and in our community. This means finding ways to encourage work-life balance for every member of the team. I have had to learn to lead by example in this area. As I have become more present in my family, in my own spirit, and in my community, it has allowed me to bring a broader (Broad, haha!) perspective to my team at work. This has inspired them to do the same. It has made the workplace more fun, deepened our relationships, and created an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect

I spent many years in a male dominated workplace and benefited tremendously from it. I have learned from some of the best and worst leaders the work world has to offer. These experiences led me to create a workplace where I feel like I can thrive, where everyone is treated well, and has the opportunity to benefit from everyone else’s good fortune.

There is a common saying in big business that we have to “kill what we eat.” As a woman-owned business, we prefer to plant what we eat.” ~Carolyn Pistone


NEW CBC_Whole LogoLearn more about Clear Blue Commercial by visiting our website and staying connected with us on social media!



Clear Blue Commercial – Proclaimed Local Water Hero in Sonoma County!

20160712_162010The team at Clear Blue Commercial always has “saving water” on their mind. Aside from it being a state-wide drought and having experienced mandatory water-saving measures, they feel it is the right thing to do to conserve water for immediate and future generations.

When browsing through the June 30th issue of the Petaluma Argus-Courier, we came across this flattering advertisement provided by the City of Petaluma. We felt honored for what we are doing is truly making a huge difference in helping our community. From converting lawns into water-saving mulch, to changing the buildings’ aerators to low-flow, to fixing leaks immediately, and encouraging water-saving measures within the buildings we manage, these acts are good business. What exactly is a water hero and what does one do to earn such a respectable title?

Hero (hee-ro) (noun) is defined as a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character. (source:

In the business world, there is a status quo –  a way of doing things which is known as “business as usual.” So what is making Clear Blue Commercial a “business as unusual?” We go the extra mile. We have interwoven sustainability initiatives – in particular, our water-saving measures – into our every day business practices. We don’t see sustainability as an initiative or special project, it is who we are. Actively seeking out ways to expand our reach, we look at even more avenues than our frequent turf conversion projects to broaden our impact and to make water-saving measures a fundamental cultural value here in Sonoma County.

The trend is growing! It does take courage to go outside the “business as usual” box and we hope that by spearheading this initiative, we are leading by example, providing proof that saving water is good business.


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