We Went Green!
Urban Acres may be known for our bright orange brand colors, but we definitely went green when it came to building our new company headquarters. Less than a year ago, we moved into a new, 9,500-square-foot building in Coralville.
We had a lot of questions at the beginning, but one of the biggest was: how green could we afford to be? What we learned and what we want to share is that anything you can afford to do can make a difference. Our dream would have been to build a structure that was 100 percent sustainable, but we knew that dream couldn’t become a reality. So, instead, we took a holistic approach and worked hard to be as environmentally friendly as possible in all areas—whether it was in the design, construction, or our ongoing operations.
After looking at many factors, we decided to install solar panels, LED lights, recycled materials, and new technology that would help us reduce paper waste.
Solar Panels and LED Lights
In March 2018, Moxie Solar helped us install solar panels, and just five months into the year we’ve already generated enough solar energy to have powered a single family home for an entire year.
And when we take the combined benefit of installing solar panels and LED lights in our new building, we have determined that we are now using 20 percent less electricity for our new office—which is 64 percent larger than our old building.
Another simple way to be green is to reuse what you already have. That’s what we did with the outdoor signage from our first building. Originally, that sign was designed to sit on our roofline, but our new building didn’t have the same curvature. So instead, we built a stone base where it could be displayed in front of our new building. We also were intentional about finding recycled materials, frames, and hardware anywhere we could for both the inside and outside of the property.
The other reality is that the real estate industry as a whole, like many industries, has been notoriously paper-heavy because of all of the signatures involved in buying and selling. We have found ways to change our day-to-day operations and interactions with clients to be as paperless as possible while still meeting client needs. One example of this is a system we have adopted called dotloop. It’s an online workspace that uses a nearly paperless environment to help our clients complete a real estate transaction in one place—and with much less impact on the environment. Dotloop allows our agents to edit, complete, sign, and share documents without ever needing to print, fax, or email.
We hope to do more in the future to become even more green. But we’re proud of the first steps we’ve taken, and we hope our journey can give other businesses insights into building a more sustainable office environment.