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  • Writer's pictureRashi Watwani

Real Estate and Sustainable Soil Management Webinar

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

On September 12th, Global Green hosted a webinar in which participants explored ways to implement and encourage the use of compost in real estate management. Matt de la Houssaye, Global Green’s Director of the Coalition for Resource Recovery Program and Ron Alexander of Ron Alexander Associates facilitated the event with participants from engineering firms, compost and recycling companies, city agencies, as well as academia and others. Among the regions represented were California, New York, Virginia, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Using compost in a variety of scenarios can be both cost-effective and environmentally beneficial. Compost can be utilized in landscape management, in both construction and maintenance, and has recently become more popular by gaining recognition in LEED and other standardization programs. Therefore, webinar discussion topics included: opportunities to incorporate sustainability into project planning, how compost can be used in project construction and maintenance, and modeling scenarios for sustainable city planning, as well as steps required for future potential opportunities.

Experts and scholars gathered for an insightful conversation for how to implement compost in projects specifications. Integrating compost in landscape projects holds plenty of long-term advantages, including better stormwater management, improving the soil structure, and reducing truck traffic, all of which have the potential to reduce overall financial costs associated with development, redevelopment, and maintenance of landscaped sites. Some urban settings, such as apartment complexes or constructions sites, can provide a good framework for large-scale uses of compost both as a component and a mulch in other soil blends.

One objective of the webinar was to explore ideas for surmounting some of the common barriers to compost use in landscape design and operations. Ron, Matt, and others helped characterize some of those common obstacles and discussion of solutions followed. Barriers to compost use included respective legislation policies regarding diverted organics, as well as real estate advisors who may have little knowledge of soil.

One potential solution identified during the webinar was that a strong marketplace should be established for higher-quality compost to be purchased. This being meant to discourage builders from opting for the cheapest grade, which in turn may not be as effective. Communicating with the engineers and landscapers regarding the implementation of compost in project planning was also identified as vital because they are ultimately the decision-makers to approve whether it is feasible or not. In order for more project sites to adopt compost use in their soil, incentives can also be put in place.

Global Green hosted this webinar in hopes of gathering people from different backgrounds to discuss compost implementation in project specifications, potential barriers encountered, and possible pilot or demonstration opportunities to keep in mind moving forward. There are various ways to display the economics and benefits of compost in project planning, and many collaborators are still trying to team better with the construction industry and real estate sector to do so.

Facilitating the use of compost in urban settings is one of Global Green’s urban sustainability objectives and we would like to thank those who participated for making this discussion an insightful and successful one. We look forward to hosting more conversations in the future.

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