‘PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR THE SILVER BULLET’
Ecosystems fights climate crisis one project at a time
EcoSystems co-founder and CEO Richard Lamondin is focusing on ways to address sea-level rise and other climate change effects.
THREAT | Sea-level rise endangers region: As South Florida businesses scramble to address climate change hazards, one company, EcoSystems, highlights how local businesses can provide sustainability solutions to combat the growing threat and prepare for the impending crisis.
What they do: Water and energy conservation services company
Employees: 19 locally, 46 companywide
The outlook: Five to six feet of elevated sea levels expected by 2100 could displace an estimated 800,000 residents and impact thousands of businesses in Miami-Dade County.
When brothers Richard and Lawrence Lamondin first entered the business of conservation, they didn’t realize how colossal a task that would be.
They initially intended to connect condo associations with sustainable technologies and solutions. As they dug deeper, one point remained clear: Water and energy bills are among the biggest drains on associations’ finances.
“We started looking into the market to try and find different individuals who specialize in the type of work needed to save on these major bills,” Richard Lamondin said. “We quickly realized there weren’t many.”
The brothers cut out the consulting side of their business and instead created a water and energy conservation services startup.
Founded in 2012, EcoSystems set out to prove that conservation is good for business.
Through its work, it’s saved over 3 billion gallons of fresh water, prevented more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from impacting the atmosphere, and saved associations more than $26 million in utility costs.
The other side of the company’s mission focuses on the threat of sea-level rise, an issue currently plaguing South Florida communities, including businesses along the region’s coastline that battle flooding and could be underwater within a matter of years.
Creating ways to address that and other climate change effects will remain a focus for EcoSystems. Much of the company’s efforts now center on updating equipment to meet efficiency standards. This includes LED lighting upgrades, fine-tuning water fixtures, as well as patching and preventing leaks.
Although there’s plenty of that work to go around, the company shifted gears during the pandemic. As people spent more time quarantined, it was tough for the EcoSystems team to access dwellings to address problem points.https://c48e5475e542d04013dd509510af0192.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“A lot of our work takes place in people’s homes and apartments, so our traditional services have struggled mightily during this time,” Lamondin said. “We had to very quickly elevate different parts of our work to make up for it.”
This included moving up jobs slated for later in the year that primarily focus on outdoor services.
Despite these struggles, the bootstrapped company navigated the new normal and survived. It’s been the best possible outcome for EcoSystems, Lamondin said.
The company battles the crisis from two fronts: prevention and mitigation. On the energy side, increasing efficiency helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With its water conservation services, more freshwater can stay in natural aquifers, which allows less water to enter wells.
“This is just one strategy in a much broader constellation,” Lamondin said. “We have to figure out more flood strategies, and how we build and interact with water altogether has to change.”
There’s a lot more work to be done, and they’re going to need help, he added.
“A lot of times, people are looking for the silver bullet to kind of solve all problems, one piece of technology that can fix it all.” he said. “But it really is a lot of different entities, governments and individuals pushing different solutions in the same direction.”