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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.

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

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!



Clear Blue Commercial wins “BEST Green Business” Recognition in the North Bay 2016 Readers Poll!

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A full-service commercial management and leasing company, Clear Blue Commercial’s eight personstaff specializes in saving energy and water costs to the benefit of its clients.

“We are a small but mighty group!” ~ Carolyn Pistone

Clear Blue promotes the idea that green business isn’t more expensive than the wasteful
alternative. Read more in the North Bay Biz Magazine!

Clear Blue Commercial is named a “Partner in Philanthropy”

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In the words of David Rayall, Sonoma County Water Agency coordinator for environmental services,

Clear Blue is a leader in community philanthropy by demonstrating that a commercial business has the ability and accepts the responsibility to give back to the community and help sustain our planet.

The company helped save 2.6 million gallons of water annually in a massive volunteer effort. Through a two-year water-conservation program called Mulchstock, Clear Blue coordinated activities by the business community, nonprofits such as Daily Acts, city of Petaluma, the water agency and a multitude of environmentally conscious citizens.

Continue reading article here


Community Philanthropy Awards Luncheon Slide Show, March 30, 2016

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Carolyn Pistone, President and Managing Director and Marty Pistone, Owner and Real Estate Agent of Clear Blue Commercial, receiving 1 of 19 Community Philanthropy Award’s from North Bay Business Journal on March 31, 2016

 To view the entire slide show from the Awards Luncheon, click here.

Business Journal Names Clear Blue Commercial As One Of It’s 19 North Bay Philanthropy Award-Winners


The North Bay Business Journal has selected 19 honorees for its third annual Community Philanthropy Awards co-presented with Exchange Bank. Read more

“Each of this year’s recipients tells a story of a community that gives back, people that rise to moment of need whatever it is. They give back not out of obligation, but out of a deep and inspiring commitment to help others. And it is our privilege along with Exchange Bank – an organization without equal in its commitment to community — to recognize all of them.” ~ Brad Bollinger, Business Journal Publisher

We invite you to attend the Luncheon on March 30th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa at 170 Railroad Street
Santa Rosa CA 95401. Click Here for tickets.