Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Moral Structures: Sustainability Is More Than Solar Panels, Developer Says

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Moral Structures: Sustainability Is More Than Solar Panels, Developer Says

Article excerpt

EDMOND - Carlton Landing developer Grant Humphreys knows the word sustainability can make people's eyes roll. He said the word's definition varies between building houses with solar panels and garden roofs to pioneer-like living, as seen in the DirectTV ad called The Settlers.

He views sustainability a little differently.

"Sustainability is not about price point," he said. "It's about people that maintain the property and choose to make the world a better place."

Humphreys gave the keynote address at the inaugural Commercial Real Estate Summit, held Thursday at the University of Central Oklahoma's Nigh University Center.

Humphreys said he has developed his sustainability idea through the years. When he first started, he looked at projects from a financial standpoint, making sure it would make money. Then he looked at building from an ecological standpoint with his Block 42 project. The townhome and condo structure received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification.

But the project wasn't cost-efficient from a developer's standpoint, because achieving LEED certification cost him 5 percent more than traditional construction would have cost. While doing Block 42 and other projects, Humphreys said he morally wanted to build for community and social purposes as well.

He has since learned that all three can be achieved and will make the project sustainable. If a project adds to people's quality of life, then it will have high intrinsic value, and those properties with high intrinsic value are more sustainable.

Key elements of sustainable projects include craftsmanship and culture. He said it's a developer's responsibility to replace land taken during construction with something sustainable.

"When culture is applied without craft, it's not sustainable," he said.

And the market will know when something isn't sustainable, and will ultimately turn its back on the development, he said. …

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