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“Make conservation a priority.” With Penny Bauder & Lawrence Lamondin

Make conservation a priority — beginning in your home. The EPA estimates 20 percent of all toilets leak up to 200 gallons per day. With this in mind, I built a business model around fixing leaks and reducing usage by changing out toilets, faucets, showerheads to low flow models. Parents should show their children that […]

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Make conservation a priority — beginning in your home. The EPA estimates 20 percent of all toilets leak up to 200 gallons per day. With this in mind, I built a business model around fixing leaks and reducing usage by changing out toilets, faucets, showerheads to low flow models. Parents should show their children that they can conserve at their own home — turning off lights when not in use, turning off the water while brushing teeth, not wasting water in the shower, and checking faucets for leaks. Not only can you save hundreds of gallons of fresh water, but you can save on your water bill, which is expected to be unaffordable to ⅓ of the US population by 2022.

As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing.

Lawrence Lamondin is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of EcoSystems, a rapidly growing water and energy conservation firm focused on sustainability for the real estate industry. Under Lawrence’s strategic leadership, EcoSystems is one of the leading water and energy conservation firms in the country, recognized by Inc. magazine as the fastest-growing environmental services firm in the U.S. and ranked №48 in 2020 and №75 in 2019 on the Inc 5000.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My brother Richard and I grew up spending our summers in sunny South Florida, and our love for the planet started at a young age because most of our fond childhood memories took place outdoors.

Together, we founded EcoSystems in 2012. We share the same passion for the environment and our real estate background led us to create a condominium consultancy focused on the environment. We would audit a condominium’s budgets, and pair them with companies that could help them save on energy, tax, insurance, etc. However, we consistently failed to find firms that provided quality services in the water and sewage space. We sensed a big opportunity there and bootstrapped EcoSystems.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

EcoSystems is a water and energy conservation company whose mission is to address the challenges of water security, housing affordability, climate change, and sea-level rise — all while proving that conservation is good for business.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

We make it simple and cost-effective for real estate properties to conserve water and energy. We offer comprehensive assessment, design, sourcing, and implementation solutions for building owners, investors, and managers looking for an environmentally friendly way to increase the value of their assets. Our programs have made a significant impact on more than 150,000 people across 28 states, saving more than 3 billion gallons of freshwater, more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and more than 120 million kilowatt-hours in energy savings.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

Our water and energy upgrade services offer efficient, construction-free solutions with quick ROI and environmental upside. Our customers, who are mostly multifamily properties built before the year 2000, typically save 30–50% on water and sewer bills and see their return in under 18 months.

For example, in 2016, we helped a 240-unit apartment property save 57% on their water bills by changing out their inefficient toilets, and sink and shower fixtures and replacing them with more efficient models. Later in January 2017, we began a 2,507 bathroom conservation program in Denver, CO, the largest in state history. The success of the project led us to secure a 25 property, 14,000 bath contract with our largest client to date, BH Management, the 16th largest owner and 9th largest apartment complex management company in the US.

So as a result of us offering sustainable services, we are helping companies to become more sustainable and make a profit — all without requiring people to change their daily usage habits. Also, our positive impact continues to amplify as we scale. It is a strong example of what is possible when solutions are designed so that everyone wins.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

  1. Make conservation a priority — beginning in your home. The EPA estimates 20 percent of all toilets leak up to 200 gallons per day. With this in mind, I built a business model around fixing leaks and reducing usage by changing out toilets, faucets, showerheads to low flow models. Parents should show their children that they can conserve at their own home — turning off lights when not in use, turning off the water while brushing teeth, not wasting water in the shower, and checking faucets for leaks. Not only can you save hundreds of gallons of fresh water, but you can save on your water bill, which is expected to be unaffordable to ⅓ of the US population by 2022.
  2. Educate children about the importance of our natural resources and protecting them through recycling, waste management and other sustainable practices. Water is our most important resource and it’s so limited, with many regions of the world going to great lengths just to get access to it. If we don’t do all that we can now to protect it, it will only become harder to get and more expensive to gain access to in the future.
  3. Read books on climate change and sustainability. Not only is this a chance to bond with your child but you can explain the why behind all of these sustainable practices. There are so many great books to choose from, with one of my favorites being Water by Frank Asch.
  4. Parents must also educate themselves, their families and community about how environmental policies impact their cities/states — from exposing communities to higher cancer risks to hurting the economy and reducing water quality standards that allow regulated chemicals in drinking water. For example, the simple act of eating fresh seafood can become a hazard, as toxins that accumulate in fish and shellfish are passed along to humans who consume them.
  5. Encourage children to make their voice heard. Contact your local politicians and do not allow the government to define for us which water bodies deserve federal protection, and which bodies of water deserve to be polluted (without a permit).

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Be confident in branching out beyond your degree. Many people think I studied engineering but I was actually a Psychology major. However, I’ve been able to combine my psych background with on-the-job training that has enabled me to be involved in a variety of sectors of our business.
  2. Value your connections with people. One of my friends from college gave Richard and I the opportunity to test out our business concept on some properties — this essentially kick started our company.
  3. In order to be a successful leader, understand your team’s needs, what makes them tick, and how to communicate in a way that resonates and inspires. I’m doing this for a team of 30+ professionals sometimes from 3,000 miles away. Successfully managing our team results in us providing the best service to our clients.
  4. Stay humble. We are a nimble team and client demands often require that I roll up my sleeves and install toilets at a property clear across the country. And the next day, I’ll meet with the president of a top 10 multifamily management company for a sales meeting. I appreciate these experiences and believe this is very unique and exciting to someone in my role.
  5. Keep innovating and creating. If you’re able to figure out how to bring your ideas to life and stay determined to weather the highs with the lows, then don’t wait another day to start a business.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My greatest mentor is my father who was raised in the small mining town of Sudbury, Canada. With just a high school education, his entrepreneurial drive led him to real estate development in Toronto, New York, and finally, Miami. With motivation from my father, I studied Psychology and Marketing at the University of Miami.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to develop a product package that helps people easily conserve water and energy throughout their home. There are a variety of one-off technologies out there — such as a faucet that changes colors when you use too much water. Let’s get the ultimate solutions together so people can be educated about all the great ways to save in their home — from the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and more. And then ideally make this a solution that companies can also make affordable to lower-income households.

Also, a movement around requiring companies to run sustainably no matter what industry they are in would be amazing.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“There are two types of knowledge; that which you know and that which you know where to find. The more valuable is to know where to find.”

-Richard Lamondin Sr.

The quote is by our father. Richard and I started EcoSystems with next to no industry experience. We have always been honest with ourselves and are surrounded by folks who elevate our weaknesses. Never be afraid to ask questions.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EcoSystemsUSA

And Twitter: https://twitter.com/EcoSystems_

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ecosystems-llc-/

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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