According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, more than two-thirds of Americans experience some climate anxiety. The built environment is responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, and about 20% of US greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, cooling, and powering households. The good news? Environmentally friendly apartments actually exist. Think of it as the convergence where sexy meets sustainability by offering residences that value the property, the people, and the planet. Some even offer something called a green lease.
Our guest, Karen Cusmano from Veris Residential, a forward-thinking, socially responsible REIT that provides a sustainable multifamily living experience, sheds light on what’s trending in healthy multifamily living, and how to find a sustainable apartment. She explains how Veris Residential has implemented changes to reduce climate impact and increase awareness of these issues by offering communities that deliver an unrivaled lifestyle experience, boasting amenities that support well-being.
- The first step for a renter who is looking for a sustainable multifamily home
- How consumers can dig deeper into a company’s sustainability performance
- What a WELL Health-Safety rating is and the Veris Residential properties that have earned it
- What a green lease means
- The third-party green certifications that Veris Residential properties have earned
From energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability, be sure to also stay tuned for the two-part segment because we are diving into eco-friendly amenities, A Walkers Paradise, biodiversity, green roofs and so much more.
This episode of Healthy Home Hacks is brought to you by Veris Residential, a forward-thinking and socially responsible real estate investment trust that provides holistically inspired Class A multifamily properties that meet the sustainability-conscious lifestyle needs of today’s residents. It is the company’s mission to serve ‘Properties, People, and The Planet.’ Veris Residential has done the work to integrate eco-friendly amenities into its properties so that you can reduce your carbon footprint simply by walking through its doors. The company’s newest development Haus25 in Jersey City features SOURCE hydropanels (an advanced renewable technology that uses solar power to extract net-zero water from the air), 24 electric vehicle Blink IQ 200 charging stations, 375 bike parking spaces, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, Energy Star appliances, and 37,000 square feet of gardens and outdoor amenities (including green roof). Visit www.Haus25.com or www.Verisresidential.com to learn more.
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How would you like to improve your health and keep your family safe? You're listening to the Healthy Home Hacks podcast where we firmly believe enjoying optimal health shouldn't be a luxury. Healthy Home authorities and husband and wife team Ron and Lisa will help you create a home environment that will level up your health. It's time to hear from the experts. Listen in on honest conversations and gain the best tips and advice. If you're ready to dive in and improve your well-being and increase your energy, you're in the right place. All right, here are your hosts, building biologists, authors, media darlings, vicarious vegans and avocado aficionados, Ron and Lisa Beres.
Lisa Beres 00:51
This episode of Healthy Home Hacks is brought to you by Veris Residential, a forward-thinking and socially responsible real estate investment trust that provides holistically inspired Class A multifamily properties that meet the sustainability-conscious lifestyle needs of today�s residents. It is the company�s mission to serve �Properties, People, and The Planet.� Veris Residential has done the work to integrate eco-friendly amenities into its properties so that you can reduce your carbon footprint simply by walking through its doors. The company�s newest development Haus25 in Jersey City features SOURCE hydropanels (an advanced renewable technology that uses solar power to extract net-zero water from the air), 24 electric vehicle Blink IQ 200 charging stations, 375 bike parking spaces, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, Energy Star appliances, and 37,000 square feet of gardens and outdoor amenities (including green roof). Visit www.Haus25.com or www.Verisresidential.com to learn more.
Ron Beres 01:55
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children. That is a Native American proverb. And this couldn't be truer today. But how can we each do our part to take good care of mother earth? If you're a renter, this show is for you.
Lisa Beres 02:13
Did you know environmentally friendly apartments actually exist? Think of it as the convergence where sexy meets sustainability by offering residences that value property, people and the planet. Some even offer something called green that leases from energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability. Be sure to also stay tuned for this two-part segment because we are diving into all of the sustainable fun.
Ron Beres 02:42
Our guest today, Karen Cusmano has been with Veris residential a forward-thinking socially responsible REIT. That's a real estate investment trust that provides a sustainable multifamily living experience for 20 years and varying capacities from accounting to asset management to operations. And she is now Senior Vice President, and head of sustainability and ESG. That's environmental, social and governance with the job of spearheading the company's ambitious sustainability goals. Today, Karen is here to shed light on what's trending and healthy multifamily living, and how to find a sustainable apartment in New York, Boston, or the New Jersey area that works for you. Welcome to the show, Karen.
Karen Cusmano 03:31
Ron Beres 03:32
Thanks for being here. We're so excited to have you, Karen.
Lisa Beres 03:36
Welcome, Karen, thank you so much. This is going to be a great show. I know our listeners just want to get they're chomping at the bit. So, let's just dive right in. So, Karen, why did Veris residential invest in making its properties sustainable recently?
Karen Cusmano 03:51
you know, we recently rebranded at the end of 2021, in December, and part of our core branding philosophy and came down from our board and our executives was, you know, sustainability and ESG. And we were just so excited about it, because as an operations team, we've always spoken about it. And then we finally found a leadership that felt as an that this was as important, as you know, we know it is. And so, we said, let's do this, and we know we can do it. And we have properties that are already LEED certified and different sort of, you know, green certifications. And we felt like this was where we were going, and the people that we were targeting and the residents and the prospects that we're targeting, you know, we find out like 57% of them are, you know, environmentally conscious, and then of that 57% You could break it down and the people that we're trying to reach now and like 24% of people they say they want to be environmentally conscious, but they're like sustainability overwhelms, like, what do I do? I can't do it by myself, and we want to be there to help these people. You know, they want to do the right thing and we want to give them the tools to do that.
Lisa Beres 05:00
Yeah, it's interesting. And also, the statistic that people are actually dealing with climate anxiety, which is something I'd never heard of. Can you shed a little light on that?
Karen Cusmano 05:11
Yeah, I mean, I saw, it was probably like the end of October of 2020. Like with COVID and stuff, but I did see a survey where people are very, you know, climate anxiety is like big on their mind. And it is it's about two-thirds of people in nationwide are actually. So yeah, two-thirds of people are concerned about climate. And we should be I mean, with the extreme temperatures and floods and the hurricanes and all the things that we're seeing today. It's scary. Yeah.
Lisa Beres 05:47
And we've got the built environment that's responsible for 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions alone. So, you guys coming in here and saying, hey, you know, we can do better, and we want to do better. And we can make a big impact by making these changes. I think it's fantastic.
Karen Cusmano 06:02
Right. And then if you think about it, you know, a household is probably about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide. So, with us being an owner, you know, we have about 6400 units. So, you know, average of two people per unit, you know, that's 12,000 people that we could, you know, help make an impact. Wow, we're really excited.
Lisa Beres 06:26
That's amazing. That's really exciting. Right at the top mentioned, New York, Boston, New Jersey, does that cover the area's pretty? Yes. Okay. Yeah. I wasn't sure if there was any state that was missed, obviously, Boston, but Boston and the surrounding areas, New York City, which also have like, the suburbs.
Karen Cusmano 06:44
Jersey, or, you know, on the, you know, our buildings that are some of them, you know, waterfront. Yeah.
Lisa Beres 06:50
Right. Like when I said sexy meets sustainability. That's true. When you guys head to the link, which is Veris residential. I'll just tell you right now, verisresidential.com. And I'll put the links in the show notes, the units will surprise you how beautiful they are, because sometimes there's a connotation with, oh, it's green, or it's a lead, maybe not lead. But um, you know, if it's a green certified, you know, that crunchy granola, we're going to be making sacrifices in that it's not going to be this like beautiful, high end kind of looking place.
Ron Beres 07:22
It is it really is.
Lisa Beres 07:23
Yeah, they're gorgeous. Yeah.
Ron Beres 07:25
So, Karen, I'm curious. So, when are renters looking for a sustainable multifamily home? What is the first step?
Karen Cusmano 07:33
I would say that, you know, any landlord that is doing the green certifications and have a green building there? They love to advertise it, right. So, you know, you will see that, see whether they have stickers on their doors, as soon as you walk in, you know, ENERGY STAR certified, or, you know, well, building day, it is well advertised, I mean, we are very proud of all of the certifications that we do. And, you know, it's hard work, it's there, you know, everything we do is certified by third parties. So, it's not like you fill out a list and go check, check. Yeah, get, you know, it is very, you know, third party uncertified or with these type things, and that's, I was a renter, I would, if this is what you're looking for, I would ask about these things. Can you show me your certifications? If you haven't already seen it displayed everywhere? You've walked into the building already? But yes, there are definitely all those certifications and things that people should look for.
Ron Beres 08:28
Yeah, Karen, you're such unique position, because you've actually had so many different roles at your organization. And so like, so many different ways to think about and unravel this onion, right? Because there's a lot of layers to it, I'm really glad to have you today to shed some light on some of these things, too, because you can feel your passion. And you can also feel the fact that you know what you're talking about, right? You know, how to really address this issue and make it easier for people to enter a dwelling and know they're making a difference by making sure they're in a sustainable environment.
Lisa Beres 08:56
That's walks the talk. Yeah, like you said,
You know, Ron, I really appreciate you saying that, because I am like that average person now because, you know, I started out with an accounting degree, I, you know, was an officer it was an asset management operations and asset management, you know, we talked about how much is our utility bill, things like that, you know, so, now, they said, with all of your broad knowledge of the company, sustainability, you know, how it affects our financials, and you know, how it affects our operations team. So, I just had to, like, learn all of this stuff, like in the last year, and then it's out there. I mean, the information is there if you want to, and, you know, I'm just like a sponge. I'm just absorbing. So, I two years ago, honestly, did I know as much as I know, now know. So anyway, and
Ron Beres 09:40
Thank you being so honest. You're so honest, Karen, very honest too.
Lisa Beres 09:43
Never too late. It's never too late to learn.
Karen Cusmano 09:45
Never too late.
Lisa Beres 09:46
Yeah. And you know, I did want to kind of touch upon those certifications that you were mentioning, because I think a lot of people are familiar with LEED from the US Green Building Council, and they have varying degrees, but there's also the Energy Star certification which we all know with appliances, but these can actually apply to buildings. And you guys are multi housing structures. So that's great. And then National Green Building Standard for home renovation. That's another one that you also have.
Karen Cusmano 10:13
Yeah. So, you know, Energy stars. It's like a benchmarking platform, which is great when it measures the you know, energy efficiency of your buildings, and then actually benchmarks compared to other buildings. So, we recently received energy score for a bunch of our two of our buildings in Boston, and we got a 98 on one and a 95. On another. That means that our buildings are 98 more efficient than any other in our multifamily category. It's very hard for multifamily buildings to get energy star because in most of our buildings, we do not have the data, the residents actually pay their own bills. So, to get energy star, you have to have the whole buildings usage. So, we had to work with the utility provider in Boston, which is an ordinance where you have to show your usage. So, because our buildings are in that area, we do submit to Berto the utility provider had to give us the data.
Lisa Beres 11:04
Oh, okay. I was going to say, how did you get it? Yeah.
Yeah, it's private, you know, we don't get to see what are. So, they will give us the total, they'll say that your residents use this many kilowatt hours. And then we add it to our usage. And we know what our buildings use. And then engineer has to come in, and third party authenticate the data. So, it's really, you know, we were really excited because, you know, everyone's like, you can't get it for multifamily you can't get it. I'm like, Yes, you can. You can get the data. So, we pushed and pushed, and you know, now we're pushing to get it. Our New York building is supposed to supply us that data. So, we're going to try to it installed at that building.
Lisa Beres 11:40
And is that earned because you have energy star appliances in the units? Or is that because people are, you know, limiting and watching their usage themselves is or is it both?
It is both, I mean, so by having energy star appliances, you are lowering the amount of energy you're using at the building. So, they look at, you know, per square foot, how big the building is and how much energy you're using. So, it's, we'll look for energy efficient air conditioning systems. And we put set points on our thermostats and you know, in our common areas, we have smart thermostats. So, we make sure that we keep them at a good setpoint. And our maintenance guys can actually go on their phone and like lower temperatures and things. So, it's really about how efficiently the whole buildings running. So, what the residents who are using how well they're doing with their smart apartments and things that they're doing, and then what we're doing with the major building systems.
Lisa Beres 12:34
That's great, really great job on that. So, what if a consumer wants to dig deeper into a company's like Veris'? Veris residential sustainability performance? How would they do that?
I would say the first place I would go is to there I called the ESG report, which is the environmental social governance report, or their they call it a CSR report, corporate social responsibility, and most of these companies that are owning our residents, but we'll post that you can go on there. Great read, I find that exciting. Yeah, ours is on there. And ours, we have like an interactive, like, you could click on what you want to see, like if you want to see our people you click to keep it's very interactive, or ESG reports. So, it's, you know, if you go to our website, and all the companies that have these sustainability, frameworks and goals, we would hope if they would have any history or CSR report that they published.
Lisa Beres 13:27
So, on the website, typically.
Karen Cusmano 13:29
Usually you just go to their website, I go there, and I read everybody's so boring.
Lisa Beres 13:36
Who needs tabloids?
Ron Beres 13:37
So, you're competitive care. So, caring, you're looking at the competition?
Karen Cusmano 13:41
Always, you know, we talk about this all the time, as a company, we're all in this together. So, I want someone to go and read Veris residentials issue or and go, Holy cow, look what they're doing. Yeah, I want to do that too. And then I want to look at there. So, go, wow, you're doing that now. It's like, it's a marathon, right? We're all in this. And I want you to beat me so that I can beat you the next time. And then together, we're making an impact. So, I look at it as great competition for the good of everybody.
Lisa Beres 14:09
Yeah, raising the bar. Yeah, you know, raising the bar for others, because there's a green cleaning company, you've probably heard of them Ethos. And we've had them on the show and toured their factories, and they turned all their factories across the country and like fully solar, and they just do so much in the sustainability factor. In addition to making nontoxic plant-based cleaners that have the EPA certification, and all of that, but the CEO, she goes and speaks all around and she says the same thing. Like I want everyone to follow suit. I want this to be inspiring for other companies, not like oh, you're doing that. And you know, it's a competition, but rather, how can we like lift each other up and inspire and empower?
Karen Cusmano 14:48
It's interesting. You say that because I was recently, I joined like a group with the National Minority supplier development council and we work with suppliers. And when we got into this group, someone said to me, are we going to sign an NDA? I don't know. Like, really like, I think we should be sharing if you're using a good vendor that, you know, I mean, like to not be able to disclose what each other's doing was like, that's like, that's kind of defeats the purpose of what we're doing. Like I want to, we should be sharing and not be afraid to speak up and let God do what I'm doing, then. You know, I'll do better. Right?
Lisa Beres 15:19
Yeah, there's room for everyone. There really is.
Ron Beres 15:22
I know, there were some highlights to it recently with the company, right? Wasn't there something in 2021, where something regards to greenhouse gas emissions that you guys achieved and had amazing accolades? And regarding that issue?
Karen Cusmano 15:34
Yeah, I mean, we use 2019 as our benchmark year or baseline year, you would call it. And we've, since 2019, when we published our 2021 ESG. Report, we've reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 34%. Since 2009. Yeah, so we're really excited about that. We have the science-based target Initiative, where we've committed to 50% reduction by 2030. So, we're really excited. We feel like we're getting close to that. And then we've also, on top of greenhouse gas emissions, I also want to see our energy reduction go down. So, we are seeing our just energy usage go down. And it's really exciting.
Lisa Beres 16:15
Did you have 100% of the residential portfolio electricity from renewable resources, correct? I mean, that's really impressive.
Karen Cusmano 16:25
So yes, not the residents. So obviously, like I said, we control the common areas. So, all right, so we actually went out and did buy renewable energy credits for all of that. User Interfaces. Yeah. The first year, we did that, and 2021. So, we're really excited about that.
Ron Beres 16:43
Karen Cusmano 16:44
And we will continue, like, you know, buying renewable energy credits, people will say, Well, if you have money you can buy. So that's not just what we want to do, we want to make sure energy reduction and efficiencies are on the forefront of what we're doing. And then what's left, you know, to get to where we will buy, but I don't want to and we don't want to rely on just buying things we want to make sure that we are actually doing getting the efficiencies and the reductions. So therefore, each year, we have to buy less than last, maybe do some on site renewable. And we're always looking for new ways to reduce our... to create an impact within our usage.
Ron Beres 17:21
Well, that's excellent. One thing I heard too, was that the Veris residential also submitted properties for the WELL- health safety rating. What is that our listeners want to know?
Karen Cusmano 17:31
Yeah, WELL, is really exciting. So, the WELL health safety rating, you know, in the name, you kind of gather some information on what it is. And so basically, WELL is an independent party, again, who, you know, will certify things through a third-party thing that you do at your building. And there's like, I want to say over 20 different facets of the building a look at, you know, from water quality, to air quality to, you know, energy efficiency, all different, even your policies, how you treat your employees and pay and time off. And to get their rating, you have to at least hit 15 of these, I want to say little over 20 different things, you have to hit 15 of them to get the rating. So last year, we went through all of the buildings that we own 100% and we went through and did this and we're like, wow, we have this, we have this, you know, and they do audit some of it. So, they actually need to see pictures to prove that you hope you're able to open windows and let you know air come in natural light, they all these different things that they test. And you know, emergency like if we can get people now emergency responsiveness and vaccinate all different things, and to show that the building clean green, clean products and products and things like that, that was one of those certifications that we got.
Lisa Beres 18:51
Things that you don't even think about, like comfort, like, you know, the sound and the lighting and the community, right, I know that that's a big area for you guys that the green roofs, the beautiful community spaces, so many, so many parts that, you know, kind of an umbrella that encompasses what it really means to live healthy. And well. It's not just you know, all the green stuff is great, but it's also like the well-being of the occupants. So, I think that's really fantastic.
Karen Cusmano 19:20
And it feels great to like you realize that we've been doing all this and we go through the checklist, like why we're doing this and what's also great about doing all these types of certifications and you learn other things that you could do, like we got 15, but we probably could get 18 if we just do this and if we just do this so this year, we're adding you know, air quality and water quality testing we're going to do in our buildings, like it's important. And you know, residents might want to know so we're going to put that in so as we do all these certifications, we're learning things that we could do to even be better. And you know, step up our game.
Lisa Beres 19:52
Yeah, I think I heard you have good air filtration to like the good MERV ratings and all of that. Yeah, that's where really important part of it too? Oh, yeah, yeah. So important.
Ron Beres 20:03
We take these certifications for granted, right? You know, this third-party startup, it's very difficult to achieve these, and you've actually put yourself to the fire by doing multiple certifications, not just for sustainability, but also for the health of the occupants, at least the set. I mean, it's not just, you know, checking the box, it's living it, and you really have to do it to get these organizations to back and certify what you're doing. So, hats off to you, Karen, you're leaving a great charge.
Lisa Beres 20:27
Does every property have that WELL - health and safety rating?
Karen Cusmano 20:30
So, all of our wholly owned buildings, so we actually have like four buildings that were joint venture partners in but this year, we are reaching out for our joint venture partners, and they are excited about it, too. And they're like, yes, let's do it. So, we're going to add it to our joint venture holdings also. But currently, it's the buildings that we own 100% of and then we're going to be adding our four. And then we're actually going to add our new building House25 that we just came to on.
Lisa Beres 20:54
Yeah, check out the pictures of those guys. That's a stunning property. I know. I'm like, wow. Yeah.
Karen Cusmano 20:59
Lisa Beres 21:00
I know, you don't consider the property's like, a luxury. But really, when you look at that, you're like, yeah, that's pretty luxurious. But you know, livable, kind of not, you know, not you can't touch it.
Karen Cusmano 21:12
That's happening. Yeah, you do. You can tell that there's certain things that... Yeah.
Lisa Beres 21:19
I know, I'd love to see it in person. So Veris recently started adding something called a Green Lease for its residents. Can you explain to our listeners, Karen, what that is?
Karen Cusmano 21:28
So, I would say a Green Lease, we call it our stainable living addendum to the lease, it's really just we encourage our residents. So, it's like a whole section that really encourages them and gives them areas that they can think about regarding energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste, and you know, just the indoor environment. So, we encourage, you know, we actually did add in our House25, which we thought was really courageous. And you know, ambitious, we actually added a setpoint to their thermostat. So, like the EPA and says that you could apartment in the summer in the winter, should 68 isn't okay temperature in the winter, in the summer 78. That's what they say is okay, so we added in our lease at this House 25. 70 degrees in the winter. And we can actually see that because it's a smart thermostat, it's connected to us. So we can see if a resident is going higher, and people sign beliefs, you know, and that was really exciting to us, like we were concerned where people who say, don't tell me how hot up, you know, it should be when I want it to be 75. And I'm paying the bill, but people signed the lease, and it was just so exciting. We are going to our first winter blankets. We're hoping that the 70 we don't get pushback, but we'll revisit it. Yeah, comfort, you know, people complain and say that was an unbearable. So there, it's kind of an honor system, like, you can see that someone's raising it what happens? Nothing. We just, you're not going to like, give him a warning? Or are you? I mean, so I think we said the beginning, people are learning. It's all to us. It's all about awareness, and education. And you know, the lease was the starting point. Like, here you go, you're moving into our building, these are expectations that aligns with how we operate our business. And we hope that you want to be part of this. So, it's definitely something to educate and make them aware of these little things that you can do, and not realize how much of an impact you will make.
Lisa Beres 23:22
Right? So, when they sign the lease, they're like, verbally agreeing, yeah, we're on board with that. Right? Was that kind of the concept?
Karen Cusmano 23:28
Yeah, we have great facts. I mean, you know, and this is all about the learning is like water efficiency, like when you're brushing your teeth, like people leave the water on?
Lisa Beres 23:37
Yeah, it's crazy.
Ron Beres 23:38
We don't care. And we don't do that.
Karen Cusmano 23:40
Exactly. So that's so for some of this as well. If you're on the West Coast, you're more conscious of water. Yes, there's 70% of our world is water, but 1% of it is drinkable. And people just take that for granted. So, use about four gallons of water when you're brushing your teeth. So, say you do it twice a day, you could use like 3000 gallons of water if you don't shut it off. Yeah, you know, little things like that. And you sent up lips to our residents. When we say about, you know, water efficiency. We mentioned that when you're shaving or brushing your teeth, and we give them these little fun facts that are like absorbable you know, microphone tax. And I really think when people look at that, wow, like, I never realized that you know, how much water I am wasting.
Lisa Beres 24:21
Oh, right. And it's not like something like that, especially it's not an inconvenience, it's that we kind of really weren't taught from the beginning that you should do that. Because I remember when I first discovered that, Oh, shut off the water when you're brushing your teeth. Now, it seems so wasteful, like, why would you ever just want it runny? You know, and your kind of just like you said becoming more conscious, consciously aware of all of the things waste and all of that, which I know we're going to get into in part two. A little more on that. But yeah, so I think that's super cool. And it's like a community and so it feels like you guys are working together with the residents not like we're here dictating to you, but like, hey, let's talk about this together. Is this working for everybody?
Ron Beres 25:03
I'm curious, what does it work like to let's say, one month? You weren't so good, right? And for whatever reason, you had more energy use than the other month. But the next month, you did and you had a good month? Does it offset itself? Or how do you work with someone that has a green lease that way? You know, because I right now, in California, for example, when you have electrical usage with SoCal Edison, for example, it will tell you what tier you're in. And if you're being efficient enough with that or not, right? And then if you happen to peak or something by accident, or whatever, 10 different categories, there's an additional charge. Is that kind of the same concept, or is that completely different?
Karen Cusmano 25:36
Yeah, I mean, like I said, New Jersey and New York are real buildings, the residents pay directly. So, we don't even know what they're using. We got a little crafty about that, though. We've added a, I don't know, maybe like a sensor or like a reader on the feeds that actually go to our residents. So, I won't know which face it is. But we get data on oops, it's in the red, something's going on, you know. So, at this point, we really can't pinpoint which resident it is. But then we can up our communication. Like, if we notice, wait, something's going on at this building constantly to in the afternoon. Can you send something I don't like? But right now, we do not have that transparency into each unit�s usage? Gotcha. Yeah, it'll be nice to have that someday, you know, maybe if we could pay the bills ourselves. But who knows? We're trying to think of creative ways around that. Right now. We don't have that transparency. You know, if we look at it as a whole on our resident usage, it's tough.
Lisa Beres 26:33
Yeah. Yeah. I guess just, you know, if you take anything away, it's just that conscious awareness here, you know, we're on the West Coast, seeing just crazy spikes, and the electricity bills, and all of this. And everybody's become a little more consciously aware of people that weren't at all before. So, there's, like you said, there's simple things we can do. Obviously, the big energy hogs, you know, that we pretty much know are the dryer, the refrigerator, right? These are like the big ones. So, like, choosing the times the non-peak times to be using some of those appliances, things like that just kind of rescheduling a little bit without feeling inconvenienced.
Karen Cusmano 27:10
We do. I mean, we have that at one of our buildings in content in New York, which is great, we have a program for rewards, so our residents actually can sign up, and they will actually get paid if they believe it to be like one of my community manager, she said the other day I was out and my girlfriend is in the apartment, and I got a notice. Don't wash your dishes now because it's a demand response. And it's the greatest dirty now and do it later. So, he's texting her, Hey, don't use your dishwasher now. Like something that convenient and works. We're hoping that's supposed to be coming to New Jersey, once New Jersey gets better with having interval meters where you can actually see the time of day when the grid is using the most. But that's so exciting. Just having an app telling you don't do you just as now or don't do your laundry to do it later. And I think on average, what we've heard is people are getting back $100 check at the end of the year. So, you're doing something good.
Lisa Beres 28:02
Karen Cusmano 28:03
And you getting $100 Check just by changing, you know, modifying behavior.
Lisa Beres 28:07
Yeah, I think that's great. I think rewards incentives. Incentives are really great, right? I mean, you get solar and people are getting money back. Yeah. You know, they're literally not paying a penny, they're actually getting money back. So, it's really, really cool. And you guys have something the hydro panels, do you want to just talk really quick about those. They're really incredible.
Karen Cusmano 28:27
So, the hydro panels that we have over at we have them in New York right now we're also putting them into House25 - Our new development, they are the net zero waters creating water net zero. So literally, we have the panels are on our roof. They work by solar, and it has a little fan that actually just pulls air in and absorbs the moisture out of the air through slick and creates drinking water out of the air. Right.
Lisa Beres 28:56
It's so crazy.
Karen Cusmano 28:58
It is crazy. And we have it set up so that like the water that's collected goes into our water fountains in our gym so people can go and we have like 15 panels on our roof. And each panel does about like one little over 1.2 gallons of water a day. So, we get about 20 gallons of water, you know, obviously weather permitting, when it gets colder, it's not going to be as good. So, we have to get through the winter and see.
Lisa Beres 29:22
Karen Cusmano 29:23
You know, and then our residents and they know they're just going they go with their bottles underneath the fountain in the gym and they're having water and it's mineralized, like people like Oh, New York air.
Lisa Beres 29:36
Is there a filtration system?
Karen Cusmano 29:37
They mineralize it to you know, take care of it and filter it and then so you know, I had a marketing went out and she drank it and she said it was lovely.
Lisa Beres 29:47
Wow. So, it's not like oh, it can only be used on like plants. It's actually drinkable. That's amazing.
Karen Cusmano 29:53
You know, the company that's doing this really does want the water to be drinkable water. Yeah, you know, because they want it to be a solution. Unlike in countries where there are issues with water to be able to create water.
Lisa Beres 30:06
They're literally like the same creating it out of thin air. They'll be making money they'll be printing.
Ron Beres 30:16
These will be on every California home or Arizona home in the world, right?
Lisa Beres 30:20
Arizona, the drought? Well, there's actually 29 states right now in a drought situation that was literally a stat from just last week, because we interviewed a landscaper here in Southern California who does native landscaping, which is really, really interesting. It's basically she does people always think it's just like a cactus or something when they hear native, but native is really what's native to your region. So, wherever you live the plants that naturally grow there. And here, we're in a Mediterranean climate in Southern California. So, these plants are very green, but they require very, very little water. So, she'll come in and take over people's turf, right, because it's just a water hog to have lawn and put in beautiful native landscaping. So, you might keep a little bit of grass if they need it for their pet or whatever. Or kids, I guess. But yeah, it's pretty interesting.
Karen Cusmano 31:11
It's funny, you joked about that. We've dabbled in what were called Clover lawns now.
Lisa Beres 31:17
That that, oh, she actually mentioned that.
Karen Cusmano 31:19
And, yes, I mean, so you just mentioned the dogs, many of our residents, you know, we're pet friendly. So many of our residents have their dogs that always find that one spot and everyone's walking in that they just seem to love. So, it doesn't look very nice. And personally, replanting and trying to figure out a solution. So one of our community managers that I've tried Clover lawns at my house, let's try it and we're loving the way it looks, it uses less water, so we're able to turn off irrigation there, which we do have the smart range system that does help us with, you know, lowering our irrigation as it is but you know, flow it's not turning colors when they you know, pets.
Ron Beres 32:00
Karen Cusmano 32:02
So, we're always piloting fun things.
Lisa Beres 32:06
That's so interesting.
Ron Beres 32:07
You're what does it look like?
Lisa Beres 32:08
A little clover.
Karen Cusmano 32:09
Yeah, you could still like we don't have to mow as much. So operationally, you know. And when you mow it, it really does look good. Yeah, cuz that's a dark, right? Like that nice, dark. Yeah, looks good. And you can mow it like that, but not as much. And so, you're saving other ways that we're trying to start a trend and we just had an ESP call with our operations team came in and everyone was like, I want to try it in my building now. We'll say we'll have clover lawn throughout.
Lisa Beres 32:36
Ron Beres 32:37
Wow. And then obviously, in the winter, doesn't matter because there's snow on it typically, right? But does it go like regular grass that turns brown.
Karen Cusmano 32:44
It'll be dormant in the winter again; this is our first winter going through. Keep saying that, but we're hoping that the things survive.
Lisa Beres 32:55
We'll do a follow up Karen.
Ron Beres 32:59
We want a picture of the lawn care right now. Karen, thank you for being with us from inspiring their residents and invigorating their neighborhoods to sustaining our planet. Veris residential offers sustainability conscious people places that deliver an unrivalled lifestyle experience boasting amenities that support well-being and invite interaction with connections to community.
Lisa Beres 33:23
Friends, you can learn more about Veris residential and use their property locator tool to find the greenest rental property on the block app. Veris. That's verisresidential.com. And we will have all the links in the show notes at Ronandlisa.com/podcast. Stay tuned next week, friends for part two of this exciting conversation. We'll be talking eco-friendly amenities, a walker's paradise, biodiversity, green roofs, and so much more. Get ready to up level your health and heal our planet. And we'll see you then. Bye. Bye, everyone. Thank you.
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