Clear Blue Commercial Takes Clients Solar at Zero Cost

What if it were possible for commercial landlords to install a solar power system at no initial cost and achieve instant return on investment? This summer, a large-scale government facility in Sacramento did just that with the help of innovative property manager Clear Blue Commercial, which handled a complex process involving numerous stakeholders to bring about the project’s successful completion. Taking into account the benefits to both landlord and tenants, Clear Blue Commercial negotiated a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a solar services provider that allowed their client to install a comprehensive photovoltaic system with zero upfront cost.

Going solar has many important benefits for landlords and tenants, helping them reduce their carbon footprint, save money, and increase resiliency. With utilities being one of the biggest expenses for most businesses, the financial argument for reducing energy costs is quite compelling. And solar is one of the few technologies right now that has a phenomenal return on investment.

However, the challenges of the initial capital outlay combined with the daunting design and permitting process prevent many property owners from making what would otherwise be an obvious choice.   

Clear Blue Commercial solves this problem by working with a third-party developer to set up a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in which the photovoltaic system is installed on a customer’s property, but is designed, installed, owned, and maintained by the solar service provider. 

The customer then purchases electricity from the service provider at an agreed-upon price that is typically about half the cost per kilowatt hour as electricity purchased from PG&E, making solar PPAs cash-flow positive for landlords and tenants from day one. Going solar is also an excellent hedge against inflation, protecting properties from PG&E rate increases, which can happen at any time. 

“It’s a huge win for the property owner, who can take that savings and reinvest it in their own business,” says the happy Clear Blue Commercial client.

In addition, solar arrays provide a stable source of electricity, protecting landlord and tenants from brownouts and power shut-offs, which are likely to be increasingly common due to the danger of wildfire. And there’s no need to worry about rate fluctuations due to peak usage times. 

“The biggest challenge to getting a project like this off the ground is getting all the stakeholders to believe that there is such a thing as a win-win situation,” says Carolyn Pistone, President and Managing Director of Clear Blue Commercial. “By contracting with a third party in a PPA, Clear Blue Commercial is able to remove that obstacle, while providing clients with cleaner cheaper energy right away.”

Going solar is a major step towards achieving Net Zero energy use, one of Clear Blue Commercial’s prime values. As climate change accelerates, it is increasingly clear that Net Zero is not just a buzzword, it’s a goal that all commercial property owners and managers need to be working towards all the time. Working with Clear Blue Commercial to install a solar energy system through a PPA is one of the biggest steps landlords and tenants can take together.

Clear Blue Helps Commercial Property Owners Beat the Drought Through Turf Conversion

California and the west are currently in the midst of a mega-drought, one that some experts say is the worst in 1200 years. With restrictions on water usage becoming increasingly extreme, landlords and tenants are looking for new ways to green buildings and reduce water use while maintaining an attractive appearance.

One of the most effective ways to achieve drastic reductions in water usage is to replace grass with mulch-based landscaping, a process known as turf conversion. Clear Blue Commercial specializes in helping clients with turf conversion projects, offering a clear step-by-step process for replacing water-hungry lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes.

Not only do mulch-based landscape alternatives save on water bills, they can reduce maintenance costs as well, translating to a significant effect on landlords’ and tenants’ bottom lines. Landlords and tenants that undertake turf conversions can expect to recoup the investment within 5 to 6 years depending on the type of new landscaping installed. 

With many cities and counties instituting severe limits on landscape watering, commercial properties are suffering in appearance as well as higher water bills, with dry brown lawns where green grass once grew. In some cities and counties, water usage has been slashed by a third and outdoor watering reduced to two days a week, not nearly enough to keep grass healthy and green. Properties that replace lawns with water-saving landscaping will see results immediately, both in water bill reductions and in improved appearance. Drought-tolerant and native plant landscaping, sometimes called xeriscape, also makes for good “optics,” establishing property owners as conscientious members of the community.

“Appraisers need to understand that these green upgrades have real value,” says Carolyn Pistone, President and Managing Director of Clear Blue Commercial. “Property owners are going to have to make changes to decrease water usage, and turf conversions are one of the most effective ways to do this.”

As a full-service management and leasing company with a strong commitment to sustainability, Clear Blue Commercial helps landlords and tenants undertake turf conversions at minimal cost and maximum speed.

Clear Blue Commercial established the company’s leadership in the area of turf conversion in 2015 with the largest recorded one-day lawn-to-mulch transformation of a commercial property, turning 64,000 square feet of lawn into drought-tolerant landscaping and saving a business park 1.6 billion gallons of water a year. Partnering with the City of Petaluma, the county water agency, local non-profits and landscaping and irrigation companies, Clear Blue Commercial created a blueprint for others to follow. The day-long effort was organized as a fun community event complete with music by a local band and food provided by local restaurants.

While a 64,000-square-foot turf conversion program would typically take 4-6 weeks to complete and cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the collective effort spearheaded by Clear Blue Commercial delivered the new landscape at a cost of just $75,000. Since then, Clear Blue Commercial has led turf conversion efforts at numerous properties, and is currently working with a northern California city on a major effort now in the planning phase. 

Companies seeking to do turf conversions at minimal expense can follow Clear Blue Commercial’s model of partnering with community groups, governments, local agencies, and environmental action networks invested in reducing community water use. “It’s all of our water, and landlords and tenants need to look at this as a long-term investment, both in their businesses and in the community,” says Pistone.

Commercial real estate properties can also take advantage of new turf replacement rebate programs instituted by cities and counties throughout California and the West. These “grass for cash” programs offer commercial and individual customers per-square-foot rebates on water costs when they convert existing areas of grass to drought-tolerant landscaping or artificial turf. In many cases, these rebates are quite substantial and can save a commercial property a significant proportion of xeriscape landscaping costs.

“This is a case where business and community interests are aligned in a common goal,” says Pistone. Clear Blue Commercial can work with commercial properties to undertake turf conversion projects that do right by their communities and make good business sense at the same time.

Watch Clear Blue Commercial’s Mulchstock Lawn Transformation here!

Clear Blue and Carolyn featured on GlobeSt.com

From the article:

PARK CITY, UT–Carolyn Pistone is the president and managing director at Clear Blue Commercial, a 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. We caught up with her in person last week at the GlobeSt. ELITE Woman of Influence event in Park City, UT to hear more of her story.

Pay It Forward: ‘I Formed A Company That I Am Proud Of’ | GlobeSt

Clear Blue Commercial Honored as a “Best For The World” Company for Its Exemplary Societal and Environmental Impact

Petaluma brokerage, sustainability, consulting and project management companyranked in the global top 10 percent of all B Corps

Clear Blue Commercial, a Petaluma commercial real estate property management company, has been named a B Corp Best For The World honoree for its positive impact on the environment, its workforce, its community, its suppliers, its clients and its corporate governance.

Best For The World honors go to the top 10% of Certified B Corporations — for-profit companies — which must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit with purpose. B Corp certification and Best For The World recognition are administered by B Lab, a global nonprofit. Today there are 3,000 Certified B Corporations across 64 countries and 150 industries, dedicated to using business as a force for good and a shared goal of redefining business success. The Best For The World ranking puts Clear Blue Commercial in the company of Certified B Corporations that include such well-known businesses as Patagonia, Beautycounter, Dr. Bronner’s, TOMS and Seventh Generation.

B Lab named Clear Blue Commercial to its Best For The World: Overall list as well as the Best For The World: Governance list. The 2019 Best For The World honorees are identified on the basis of the verified B Impact Assessments of Certified B Corporations. The full lists are available on https://bcorporation.net.

B Lab doesn’t just evaluate a company’s product or service, it assesses the company’s overall positive impact. It evaluates how a company’s operations and business model affect its workers, community, environment and customers. To achieve the B Corp Certification, a company must attain at least 80 points on the assessment.

“It was Clear Blue Commercial’s goal since our founding five years ago to become a B Corp, and this honor is a recognition of philosophies we have long embraced,” said Carolyn Pistone, president and managing director. “Because commercial buildings are the world’s largest single source of greenhouse gases, we knew we had a role to play in helping our clients operate more sustainably. We help them save money while saving the planet. We actually didn’t set out to be a differentiator, but we want every company to think about its impact on the environment and make conscious choices to improve the human condition and the world.”

Clear Blue Commercial’s mission is to help improve negative environmental impacts through real estate, setting the bar for responsible and successful businesses around the world. As a property manager, it introduces sustainability practices to decrease energy and water usage, saving its clients millions of dollars a year. Other services include thoughtful business operations and decision-making on even everyday practices like office product purchases. Clear Blue Commercial is the only commercial real estate firm certified as a Bay Area Green Business, a Women-Owned Business and a B Corp. “We’re incredibly proud of this year’s Best For The World honorees,” said Anthea Kelsick, B Lab’s chief marketing officer. “These inspiring companies represent the kind of business models and impact-driven business strategies that are building a new economy — one that is inclusive, regenerative and that delivers value to all stakeholders, not just shareholders. To that end, B Corps like Clear Blue Commercial are redefining capitalism and showing that it actually can work for everyone.”

About Clear Blue Commercial
Clear Blue Commercial is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage, sustainability consulting and project management company dedicated 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 a Northbay Biz magazine Best Green Business, 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 certified B Corporation. Visit www.clearbluecommercial.com and follow the company on Facebook.

About B Lab: B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab’s initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs and software, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all. To date, there are 3,000 Certified B Corps in over 150 industries and 64 countries, and over 50,000 companies use the B Impact Assessment. For more information, visit https://bcorporation.net.

B Lab Contact: Hannah Munger; Manager, PR & Communications; hmunger@bcorporation.net; +1 212-608-4150

Clear Blue Commercial Honored as a “Best For The World” Company for Its Exemplary Societal and Environmental Impact

https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/42444-Clear-Blue-Commercial-Honored-as-a-Best-For-The-World-Company-for-Its-Exemplary-Societal-and-Environmental-Impact

Best For The World honors go to the top 10% of Certified B Corporations — for-profit companies — which must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit with purpose. B Corp certification and Best For The World recognition are administered by B Lab, a global nonprofit. Today there are 3,000 Certified B Corporations across 64 countries and 150 industries, dedicated to using business as a force for good and a shared goal of redefining business success. The Best For The World ranking puts Clear Blue Commercial in the company of Certified B Corporations that include such well-known businesses as Patagonia, Beautycounter, Dr. Bronner’s, TOMS and Seventh Generation.

B Lab named Clear Blue Commercial to its Best For The World: Overall list as well as the Best For The World: Governance list. The 2019 Best For The World honorees are identified on the basis of the verified B Impact Assessments of Certified B Corporations. The full lists are available on https://bcorporation.net.

B Lab doesn’t just evaluate a company’s product or service, it assesses the company’s overall positive impact. It evaluates how a company’s operations and business model affect its workers, community, environment and customers. To achieve the B Corp Certification, a company must attain at least 80 points on the assessment.

“It was Clear Blue Commercial’s goal since our founding five years ago to become a B Corp, and this honor is a recognition of philosophies we have long embraced,” said Carolyn Pistone, president and managing director. “Because commercial buildings are the world’s largest single source of greenhouse gases, we knew we had a role to play in helping our clients operate more sustainably. We help them save money while saving the planet. We actually didn’t set out to be a differentiator, but we want every company to think about its impact on the environment and make conscious choices to improve the human condition and the world.”

Clear Blue Commercial’s mission is to help improve negative environmental impacts through real estate, setting the bar for responsible and successful businesses around the world. As a property manager, it introduces sustainability practices to decrease energy and water usage, saving its clients millions of dollars a year. Other services include thoughtful business operations and decision-making on even everyday practices like office product purchases. Clear Blue Commercial is the only commercial real estate firm certified as a Bay Area Green Business, a Women-Owned Business and a B Corp.

“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s Best For The World honorees,” said Anthea Kelsick, B Lab’s chief marketing officer. “These inspiring companies represent the kind of business models and impact-driven business strategies that are building a new economy — one that is inclusive, regenerative and that delivers value to all stakeholders, not just shareholders. To that end, B Corps like Clear Blue Commercial are redefining capitalism and showing that it actually can work for everyone.”


About Clear Blue Commercial
Clear Blue Commercial is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage, sustainability consulting and project management company dedicated 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 a Northbay Biz magazine Best Green Business, 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 certified B Corporation. Visit www.clearbluecommercial.com and follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About B Lab: B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab’s initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs and software, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all. To date, there are 3,000 Certified B Corps in over 150 industries and 64 countries, and over 50,000 companies use the B Impact Assessment. For more information, visit https://bcorporation.net.

Conscious Capitalism

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Clear Blue Commercial, of Petaluma, aimed at becoming a B Corp from the outset. A full-service brokerage, sustainability, consulting and project-management firm, it was founded in 2014 and is dedicated to saving the planet through real estate. Carolyn Pistone, president and managing director, observes that people don’t necessarily think of commercial real estate in terms of sustainability. “Buildings are a line on somebody’s spreadsheet,” she observes. She reports, however, that commercial buildings are the largest single source of carbon emissions in the world, and Clear Blue looks for ways to improve their clients’ properties by making them environment-friendly while also saving money. At one building, they converted all the lighting to LEDs, replanted turf with drought-tolerant plants, installed drip systems, used non-VOC paint and added an electric vehicle charging station. In doing so, they added amenities that attracted clients, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and gave employees a nice perk. “As a landlord, you’ve given a differentiator to your building, and you’re saving money on top of it, because you’re saving all that energy,” Pistone points out. “We’re out to prove that sustainability more than pays for itself and is essentially the building block of our future economy.”

At another building, which needed a landscaping makeover during the drought, a contractor submitted a plan that would take 32 years to result in savings on water. It wasn’t practical, so Pistone contacted the water agency and the City of Petaluma and launched a Mulch Madness project that used volunteer labor and got donations of mulch, compost and components for a drip irrigation system. The contractor who missed out contributed equipment and labor. In addition, Clover Sonoma donated yogurt, massage therapists provided chair massages and three bands played. “We made it a festival,” she says. As a result of their cooperative effort, the turf-conversion project saves 3 million gallons of water a year, and it took only one day. “We made this wonderful change and brought the community together to take action,” she says. It also gave the property’s owner, who lives outside the area, a new understanding of a community that is resource-challenged.

With concern for government, community, workers and the environment all involved in its practices, Clear Blue Commercial embodied the principles of the B Corp philosophy, and “We wanted to be a B Corp right away,” says Pistone. The company didn’t have a history, though, and so it didn’t have enough information for the assessment and had to wait until 2016 to receive certification. When the time was right, however, it was prepared. Compiling the documentation B Lab requires is a rigorous process. “We were able to get all our stuff together fairly easily,” she says, adding that it took two to three months and required the company to make some changes. For example, one of the questions they had to answer during the certification process was whether employees have pro bono time to do work for charities. Although Clear Blue did have such a program, they had to document their policy and distribute it to employees to formalize it so they could earn five points on the assessment. It was one of several things Clear Blue already did informally because it’s what they believe in and who they are, but to get points, they had to write all of them into the company’s policy so they would be specific and binding. “It’s a big commitment,” she adds. “If I go to a store and see that B Corp logo, I know instantly what they’ve had to do.”

For more info:Click Here

Tony Conner Agent at CBC

Clear Blue Commercial Presents
“Must Knows” For Commercial Real Estate Investors!
August 29, 2018
Your Cap Rate Is Not Your Return
Your Cap rate may not be your return, it is just the Investment’s value at that particular time.
If you are a real estate investor and you seek a particular return on your investment; say 8%. The thought that an 8% cap rate is the equivalent is not necessarily accurate. In fact, in buy-and-hold scenarios this false assumption has caused many investments to not perform as expected overtime.

To remedy this issue remember the following: The cap rate is a determination of value at a particular time. Your return represents profit throughout the life of the investment.

Take a look at the Investopedia cap rate definition

“The Cap Rate is the rate of return that an investment property will generate based on its current market value, and is a quick way to compare different investment property options including houses, apartments and office buildings”

Within Investopedia”s specific language, notice the word “current” is used to Define value type, i.e., “current value”. Thus, only if you require a property showing a current 8% return is when the 8% cap rate may be a sufficient gauge if calculated properly. But if you seek an 8% return over significant time, i.e., longer than 12 months, use another source. Specifically, check your internal rate of return (IRR) over time of ownership; coupled with your cash on cash return.

Coming soon, “to know IRV is to know the relationships between cap rate, net operating income and value”.
In the meantime, use my complimentary investment calculator link below. And remember, if you’re concerned your deal may not go through, don’t waste time. Call Clear Blue Commercial!
Written by Tony Conner Tony@clearbluecommercial.com 510-686-3242

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Click here to open Investment Analysis