The most important part of a house is the roof, but did you know that green real estates are mostly made of solar panel roofs? These panels will allow you to convert the energy of the sun to electricity that will help you maintain the power of your house. This may cost more money on your side, but the amount that can be saved in the long run will be worth more than the amount that you have spent. Aside from this, you will also make your house self-sufficient, allowing you to have worry-free living. Just make sure that you are going to get a professional who will be installing your solar panels, because this will ensure that you will get the most out of your investment.
Another option that is commonly used by a lot of people who are building eco-friendly houses is the eco-friendly paint. There are different types of paint, but if you are planning to build your own green real estate, then it would be better if you are going to use the one that can absorb carbon in the air. This may not be too beneficial for you, personally, but if there are several hundreds of houses that use this kind of paint, the carbon in the air will be a lot less. This may cost more money on your side, but the results that you can get from it are worth more than the money that you are going to spend for the special paint that you will be using for your house.
The latest trend that is being used in most green real estate properties today is the roof garden. There are a lot of houses that have their own garden on their rooftop. Aside from having the ability to grow plants, you will also be able to help the environment by reducing the carbon in the air. This will also be beneficial for you, since you have a place that can provide you with fresh air. You no longer need to look for a property that has a huge lot, because your garden can be placed on top of your roof. This will not only help you save more money, but will provide you with a place that can help you relax.
We are now well into the new millennium. Marketing for small businesses has changed drastically over the past five to ten years. It is now necessary to market to both your current and potential clients through both online and offline means.
The idea is to increase your visibility. There are tens of thousands of realtors across the country. Depending upon where you live there are most likely hundreds or thousands of realtors competing for business in your neighborhood. You must rise above the crowd so that clients can find out who you are and how you can help them solve their problem. The very best way to do this is to leverage the power of the internet in your real estate business.
We live in a global economy. Someone who is planning on moving into your neighborhood, maybe even next door to you, may be presently living half way around the world. You know that you would be the best person to help them find the house that is available, negotiate the deal, complete the transaction, and help them get moved in. You also know that you could do this within the next six to eight weeks. But how will that person find you and figure out that you are the one who can best help them? Through the power of the Internet.
Offline marketing is still useful. If you currently send out postcards when you have a new listing or make a sale I would encourage you to continue that practice. There are many people who like the idea of receiving something personal from you. But, tell the truth, do you personally write or even address those cards that are sent out? If they are prepared and sent out by a bulk mail facility you have lost the personal touch anyway. Direct mailings are also very expensive. If your company is helping to defray some of the costs it may fit within your marketing budget, but you may still want to look at reaching people through the Internet. The mailing cost there is still zero.
Being environmentally friendly was once just about recycling and using products that had minimal impact on the planet, but now it has spread to real estate. Driven by the ever important green consumers market, home builders are starting to build homes that are more efficient, and are eco friendly.
The push towards eco friendly real estate started with the government backed 'Energy Star' program, which was more aimed at saving the consumer money rather than saving the environment. It covers such aspects as home appliances, heating and cooling systems, high performance windows, home insulation, and exterior air seal. Energy Star homes are typically 20% to 30% more efficient than normal homes. In order for a home to receive an Energy Star qualification, it must pass an Energy Star inspection.
In 1998, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification was introduced. This certification took the whole idea of sustainable green building and development practices to the next level. In addition to the items covered by the 'Energy Star' program, LEED covers such items as:
- Site selection. For example, not built within 100ft of water, does not impact endangered species, not built on public parkland, not built on floodplain.
- Home Air filtration.
- Construction waste management and recycling.
- Use of environmentally preferred products and materials for construction.
- Landscaping and irrigation system (minimal amount of grass, drip system irrigation for plants, native planting, irrigation systems connected to weather station).
- Nontoxic pest control.
- Surface water management.
- Reduction of local heat island effects.
Based on these and other criteria the builder can be awarded one of 4 levels of certification.
Lets take a look at a real life example of how developers and builders are trying to become more eco friendly. The Daybreak Utah development is the largest new home development ever to be built in the State of Utah. When complete it will have over 14,000 homes all of which will be Energy Star compliant. In addition to this the Daybreak Community Center was awarded a silver LEED certification. They were awarded this certification based on the following achievements:
- More than 40% of the pavement is either shaded or light colored to reduce the heat island effect.
- Storm water runoff is controlled in order to prevent water pollution.
- Outdoor water usage reduced by 50% via the use of native plants and high efficiency irrigation system.
- Indoor water usage reduced by 22% by using low flow fixtures.
- Ground source heat pump system utilizes the earths constant temperature to efficiently provide heating and cooling.
- Use of high efficiency lamps.
- More than 57% of the construction waste was recycled.
- High level of materials with recycled content were used for construction.
- Promoted the use of locally constructed materials thus reducing transportation impacts,
- The building was designed to accommodate educational, community and recreational resources. This combined use of facilities provided savings in physical space, and reduced the mechanical, material and parking.
Daybreak is just one of many eco friendly developments that can be found, and with Green consumers here to stay, builders and developers will continue to build more environmentally friendly homes and developments.
As an internet platform for green, energy efficient and sustainable homes, we have reviewed some interesting and creative verbiage used by some sellers in the real estate marketplace. In the environmental business we call this "green washing".
Green washing is when someone uses "green" terminology to help drive more interest to an otherwise typical (in this case) home for sale, in a currently flat and bloated real estate market.
This "green" terminology could be words such as:
- Healthy environment
We've seen ads that would say "a solar home", when all they really had was a wall that faced south.
Or maybe the home just has CFL's (compact fluorescent lighting) and not much else in the home. Although minimal improvements help the environment in a small way, there are cool innovative green homes out there that are making heads really turn in a BIG way. includes ( loves to promote) innovative building technologies that we believe will make the quickest (and the biggest) change in the environment regarding the way we live, the homes we live in and the way we build them.
Things we take for granted every day, do have a direct impact on global warming. The toilets we flush, the indoor air we breathe, the utility bills we pay; all these everyday duties affect the environment and our health.
There currently are so many new technologies in sustainable home building, that we could make a huge impact right now, not years later. We can currently heat most of our water with thermal solar and not the black stuff you see on roofs, but innovative glass tubes that absorb UV rays year-round; recycle all our grey water (sinks and showers) and redirect that water to flush our toilets; building design and orientation to take advantage of the natural heating and cooling effects in a particular location; construct living environments utilizing innovative building materials that may come from recycled or renewable sources that also offer a tremendous R-factor.
A one-two punch in not only saving our limited building material resources, but also less requirement from fossil fuels and the like, to heat and cool our homes everyday.
ListedGreen strives to make a difference in educating the general public about what makes a home truly "green" and helping bring an elevated increased value to these exciting energy efficient improvements, to a level that they really deserve in the real estate marketplace today and in the years to come.
Have you ever wondered what makes real estate properties 'green' or 'eco friendly'? Hopefully I can help you learn how to identify properties that meet some or all of these green qualifications in both construction and operation. Whether you are looking to buy green, or you want to 'green' your present home in order to sell it I hope to help you in your endeavor, and especially if you are simply looking to implement easy green features and habits, creating a green home and a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
I definitely know there are countless things I could add to my list here, but for now I want to merely create the mood of what a green home would look like. One thing's for sure, no matter how green you go, make sure it's done in a light, joyful way that doesn't impose on others. We are where we are at any given time in our lives, and there will always be someone greener than us! Green pride, should always be personal.
These green lifestyle choices not only enhance our health, but also our finances! Yeah green, puts green in your pocket!
So what features might make a property green or eco-friendly...
Usually homes are demolished, but do you know they can be deconstructed instead? Antique stores have known for centuries the brilliance of reclaimed and reuse of materials. Certainly a great percentage of a homes materials can come from a pre-used source. I know of one yoga studio that has the most gorgeous wood floors reclaimed from an old Bank of America historic building that was being refurbished. And it was free! Only the cost of removal! What a conversation piece! Just as relevant are materials derived from easily renewable sources, bamboo versus ancient oak trees.
The paint we use, low or zero VOC paint. You know that 'new home smell' we all love, usually from a fresh coat of paint? Well that's the smell of your lungs being poisoned! There are many sources of green power or at least eco choices, such as solar panels for electricity, natural day lighting via skylights and low voltage lighting for the evening. Site orientation makes such a difference, imagine orienting the home toward the sun in colder climates and alternatively catching cool breezes in warmer climates? Not only that but using landscaping to help. Deciduous trees to shade windows in the summer, yet let in warm sun in the winter. Green comes in many shades! Overall, we should seek durable, healthy, sustain-ably sourced 'green' building materials, ones that are non-toxic thus helping improve indoor air quality.
In the garden permeable paving helps guide 'fresh' water to underground tables rather than run off via drain pipes to the salt water ocean. The use of native, zero or low water use gardens not only replace a strange obsession with antiquated English grass lawns but also encourage native birds and butterflies into your garden! Green landscaping can create a truly magical garden.
Not every green home will embody all features. The hope is that we are making lifestyle choices that are healthier for us, cheaper on a daily basis and kinder to our planet.
I think green, eco-friendly lifestyle choices are not only the logical thing to do, but the financially clever thing to do. I'm no Donald Trump, but if I had two homes, one build in the conventional manner with all toxic formaldehyde off gassing materials, with my kid suffering from asthma, expensive to heat and cool... then across the street is another home for sale, essentially the same design and price except it's cheaper to run and healthier to live in... what is the choice?
The green one of course! No doubt you would choose the green, eco-friendly home. Ask anyone... Green is the new black!
The masterfully planned and laid out area of New Tampa real estate contains acres upon acres of striking award-winning homes set among a dramatic natural environment. A search of the New Tampa homes for sale will quickly reveal a range of home sites from lakefront property to wetland and tree lined natural environments. All these sites take advantage of the serene and peaceful mood provided compliments of Mother Nature.
The rapid growth of the New Tampa real estate area can readily be attributed to the nearby location of the University. The University of South Florida is a not only a cultural and educational enticement to many but also draws vast encouragement from the medical community. These features tend to make this an especially sought-after location in which to reside for families with either older or younger offspring. The close proximity of the various office parks appeals to many individuals that are employed within the telecommunications, financial and insurance industries.
The lifestyle exhibited within New Tampa is compatible with that of the surrounding area. It readily offers a pleasant measure of various sports, an abundance of recreational activities, nature parks and trails, first-rate golf courses, recently established tennis courts and several swimming facilities.
It is fairly easy to gain access to New Tampa as it connects to highway I -75 and the Bruce Downs Boulevard junction. You can not miss the turn off location.
The New Tampa area affords you as a resident a great day of shopping in the many petite quaint shops which line the streets. Should you require a needed break you can readily rest and enjoy a good inexpensive meal or partake of a refreshing drink at one of the many dining facilities.
There are several smaller communities which comprise the New Tampa real estate vicinity. I would like to briefly introduce you to one of them known as Arbor Greene.
Arbor Greene is a very popular New Tampa community that features many modern updated amenities. It is huddle peacefully away from the busy city noises. If you are seeking an old Florida style home site location, this is the place for you. This tranquil community is situated upon 596 acres of environmentally friendly land and well suited for the complete family. Here you can discover a family fitness center, several wholesome and clean swimming pools plus a community center which employs a full-time director. You and your family can enjoy an exciting tennis game at the community tennis complex or if you happen to be into golf there is the nearby Hunter's Green community country club.
New Tampa is an area of over 90 full acres of fun filled scenic lakes, eleven recreational parks, and an abundance of nature trails plus over 100 acres reserved as a conservation area. Should you require a few hours of city life you merely need to step beyond your staffed security gate and experience the best dining, shopping and banking facilities around. The immediate area also boosts of a new modern YMCA and a vast regional library.
With the world in a tizzy over the climate changes and the effect of carbon emissions, what is the latest bug to have bitten people? 'Go Green' seems to sum it up aptly. And Tampa real estate is no different!
Today, Tampa real estate is going green, and how! Let's take a look at some of the top green housing trends that are dictation the real estate market in Tampa region.
Shimmering copper roofs made from copper and copper alloys like brass and bronze are in demand they are being used on roofs, facades, gutters, entranceways, and downspouts. Of course, these pretty copper pieces are expensive, but they are a sensible long-term investment because copper is tolerant to inclement weather. A copper roof installed now will last you, hold your breath, 100 years! But perhaps the best about this metal is that it is fully recyclable.
Doors and windows that absorb heat; Yes, you read it right. Low emittance or Low-E windows and doors and skylights are the latest trend. They block the sun's harmful UV rays that are responsible for heating up the inside of your home, forcing you to reach for the aircon remote. These special Low-E window fittings also prevent your expensive drapes, wallpaper, and precious paintings from fading. Wow!! Just for this, you should get these fitted in your Tampa home. However, make sure that you find out the percentage of sunrays these Low-E doors and windows can block or check the UV label on the glass. Typically, Low-E products block between 70% - 90% of sunlight. And while you are checking, make sure you also check the clarity of the glass used.
Tanks that hold rainwater are great for your Tampa real estate. After rainwater harvesting, rainwater tanks help to capture water when it rains as well as from storm runoffs and help to reduce the burden on your local sewers. Use the collected water to water your yards or flushing your toilets. According to a National Homebuilder Mainstream GreenHome, a 4,000 square-foot rainwater cistern can collect up to 95% storm water that can not only be recycled, reused, but absorbed as well.
In Tampa, green houses are available in some of the new developments such as FishHawk Ranch.
The factors to be considered by Construction / Real Estate firms to turn green are:
Energy Saving Electricity: - Solar Power
Moving away from first generation power usage techniques i.e. depending on Electricity generated by power plants which run on water / coal, present day Realty sectors could possibly adopt the technique of absorbing the power of Sun, otherwise named as Solar Power to generate electricity.
Solar power makes us to think of energy efficient techniques in constructing a home or gated community's viz. quipping solar Facades in exteriors to absorb the energy of SUN, painting interiors with brighter colors to radiate more light with less power etc. The other useful power saving technique could make Realty firms in turning green is automatic power off system which helps in turning off unused electricity automatically.
Inserting solar panels, solar equipped glass facades, solar powered water heaters & illuminating systems and using energy efficient paints at interiors could really help Realty firms in turning attentive to Green Earth Revolution by reducing usage of power and coal generated electricity.
Water Storage: - Rainwater harvesting tank
Water shortage, the popularized household problem these days is the major concern for Realty builders. Against drilling down 1000 to infinite feet down the ground for water and settling with non-resulted trials, some Real Estate firms have dusted the age old technique of storing water through tanks to tap the requirement of daily necessity - WATER. With the increase in demand for water and less adequate resources to fulfill it, apartment builders adopted the Rainwater Harvesting System which possibly can resolve the water problem restricted to certain qualitative measures.
Rainwater Harvest tank is a specially paved area on the rooftop / in the courtyard of a building to store rainwater or sometimes even a gutter in the garden would help to be a water harvesting tank. Heightening these kind of water storage techniques, builders could give uninterrupted water facility to dwellers though it depends on water sources i.e. rainfall in that particular area. With the minimal concerns for clean and safety water, builders can effectively use this technique to address water related problems especially without depending on ground water levels.
Plastic Usage:- High toxic levels
Matching up with the global uproar against plastic usage and to be in the path against global warming, 'plastic-free environments' are rapidly dotting up the cities like never before. Plastic the excessive use of which may contaminate under ground water due to its very slow decomposition levels compared to other materials can harm the marine population and is severely hazardous for drinking water. Disposal of plastics either into water or on ground should be avoided cause of the high toxicity it has in using and by manufacturing them.
Hence, in the course to turn towards greener earth, real estate firms have the need to build their gated communities or any other form of group housing insisting on absolutely 'Plastic - Free' environments. Indeed, attaining plastic free environment certificate will also be beneficial in escalating flat or plot sales, is also a major factor for real estate firms to turn green.
Plantation: - Air Purification
'How about residing amid greenery? Wake up and say good morning to 75000 Tulips'; these were the catch-up lines pitched by some of the Realty firms in recent times at Hyderabad. Having heard of the same intentional messages for numerous times, it's been proved that Real Estate has lent its hand / land to sufficient plantation required for healthy life.
More plantations in the vicinities makes the area protected from pollution thus leads to air purification which of a great concern in giving a quality living style. Against deforestation and concrete landscapes, turning to green panoramic landscapes would fetch Realty industries to cope up with the increase in need of life style away from regular hustle - bustle with more fresh and quality breath.
Waste Management Techniques: - Landfills
Probably, the foremost hectic task confronts by contemporary construction world is managing the waste. Maintaining Garbage dumping yard popularly known as landfills, has been a difficult task for present day apartment builders as the vicinities are dotted up with concrete blocks not allowing space.
In this scenario, allotting a special slot outside / inside the row housing for garbage dump is definitely a valuable idea. It creates opportunity to be hygienic and indeed can helpful in producing bio fuel. Adding to it, with the help of Plasma we can even turn garbage into Gas which is another advantage of using dumping yard or landfills. Instead of spewing up the garbage into neighborhoods and leaving the environment more unhygienic, dumping yards are of more useful methods for Realty firms in tapping the turn of green revolution.
In this way, Realty Firms can effectively turn green by following above stringent factors.
On an ending note, though the methods like solar systems and dumping yard maintenance demands more practicality, with the little care Real Estate firms can turn to greener phase easily.
This is good news! Now how do we get there? All economists are a bit confused on what needs to happen. First, let's get to the acceptance piece of the puzzle. (1) We are not in an economic recovery. Change needs to happen in many areas of the system the average consumer is living in. Jobs need to be created and the only way to do this is to create new industry. Real Estate Taxes are not only too high but they are not in proportion to reality. Not even close. Think on this. Why are homes on one street, same square footage, same design and similar age taxed thousands of dollars apart from their counterparts? This needs to be addressed. Tax assessors are working within guidelines of a "boom" that went way out into la-la land. Yet, they are assessing at those sales figures. It is a chain reaction in a system that needs to be redesigned.
There is a much needed reality check. Regulators, consumers and banks need to wake up quickly, which brings us to (2) to begin assess honestly, how we can renew our systems to have them fit into the change that is occurring in our democratic way of life. I am a republican and proud of it, but reality is reality. By 2020, the world will have an estimated 9 billion people to cloth and feed. This is not a one sided problem. It is a chain of past economic predictions that were just plain wrong. We are living in a system that has been broken. The chain of real estate ownership was created years ago when people began to buy and sell, price and live it their own home. Leasing was not looked upon as the American Dream. Owning a home was. Now, renting is so much more attractive to our pocketbooks. Why? OK- Think on this. You see a $250,000 home in the paper. Should you pay out of pocket 20% down (if your credit is perfect and very few have perfect credit) so that is $50,000. Who has this in an account right now without parents? Then up to another $10,000 for closing costs. The principal and interest is about $1200 a month( about 6% rate ) then you have taxes which can be about $350 more a month plus insurance can be about $150 more. You are at around $1700 a month and if there are those homeowner association fees, oh no- please? Now, the facts of these troubled times, this home is not holding value. Not good news for the American Dream concept. Next year it will probably be worth less, yet are taxes going up? So (3) is finding a way to build value in real estate again. Now, just suppose you can pay $1100 a month to live in that same $250, 000 home? When something breaks, you don't have to pay for the fix. No taxes fees or owner concerns. Just renters insurance to protect your own "stuff."
This brings us to (4) curing the disconnect of communication breakdown with banks, consumers and those running the real estate and mortgage worlds. Examples are government tax offices, Realtors®, mortgage professionals, jobs depending on industries that thrive on real estate such as contracting and engineering companies, etc. Pricing and regulation needs to be cut drastically. How can one home in a neighborhood, going through a short sale dictate prices of the other homes? It is all so off balance. Have you been food shopping lately? Our food supply is beginning to offer us less and short us as packaging is less for us to pay more. Boxes are smaller. Loaves of bread are smaller. So what can change all of this?
(5) is plain and simple we need laws designed for the people, by the people. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, it called for government for us. So let's remember real estate and mortgage markets drive the economy and let's remember that these markets can help bring about change quicker than any other markets. Once these markets create ways to achieve drastically lower utility bills, and real estate taxes are forced onto a more uniform format, all can recover.
Our system as we know it, is broken- Done. We will not ever find jobs for all who have lost theirs unless we re-train, re-create and re-build in the new world energy sectors offer. Going green. Tired of hearing this yet? Don't be and wake up America. Retrain those in construction and sales ability to learn to sell and install water conservation products as cisterns, solar products, solar hot water heaters and wind products. Train sales people to sell and represent these systems in the workforce. Re-create the entrepreneurial spirit. It worked years ago and it will work again-
I am always amazed when I read an article that states that people do not understand the greening of real estate concepts and the opportunity it offers both buyers and sellers. In fact, I remember when I first heard that indoor air quality in homes can be worse than outdoor air quality I was not happy. Here I was, in 2005, a practicing broker, managing agents, and agents always feel responsible to suggest to sellers ways to improve the future sale of the largest financial investment they make.
While managing 2 offices in Sarasota, Florida, I kept hearing about green building. Sarasota is a leader in the state of Florida in green issues and sustainability so I began learning through osmosis and found no one was training the real estate professions on these issues. When I contacted my trade association to ask why, they had "no interest. They didn't know what green building was and did not see the need for Realtors® to know about it. Oh boy, I knew something was not right. Going into a deep study mode for a year, I started to learn quite a bit and documented my newfound knowledge. I was discovering that certain types of insulation and building materials could contribute to lower utility bills and a healthier indoor environment. In my travels, I learned that a TV uses 25% if its energy when it was turned off ( called phantom energy) and TV's could give off 4,000+ chemical fumes daily and since I had 4 at the time. I began to think of all of the buyers I sold homes to, and my agents sold property to who may have had a type of respiratory problem in a family member or friend and I could see how important this was to initiate education for the industry. When it comes time for a consumer to invest in a property, they need to about the ins and outs of this type of financial investment.
Traveling the country, going to seminars and conventions, and just listening and taking notes, I realized green building concepts were important for how clients to know how to have a better ROI. Concepts of lower utility bills, healthier indoor air quality, sustainable systems installed all sound like facts those in the industry need to A common term in real estate is Return on Investment. in the current climate, in general, this is not a feature or benefit people are experiencing as they were in the past. Many people are beginning to accept the fact that first costs are not the only factor to consider when building green or renovating with energy efficient materials and systems. It is the life expectancy of the structure that is considered for green upgrade decisions. I see a dollar value in this. Don't you? Consumers are learning so much through the Internet and learning about energy efficiency and the long-term value of the renovations they invest in. In the long run, they will see a difference in the quality of life and their bottom line when selling the property in the future. Energy retrofitting current housing inventory is something that is just beginning to come to the attention of the public. This could be a huge job creator. People who desire bringing renewable energy driven systems as solar and water conservation measures into their lifestyle will create new awareness and new jobs for people to learn these technologies and installation techniques.
Job creation in the construction fields needs immediate attention in the current economic downturn o educating from the agent and their affiliate industries to guide clients in becoming more energy efficient holds such promise for the future. When buying a piece of real estate, if it isn't offering green attributes now, consider what it will need in terms of upgrades to be a healthier place for your family to live and to be more energy efficient. In addition to better health, lower operating costs and good selling points for the future, there are many reasons to promote the greening the real estate markets.
If you own or manage commercial real estate or are looking to get into real estate investment then you are probably becoming aware of the need for offering green real estate solutions. Unless your property is let to a single occupier who have the responsibility to manage their own energy use your tenants will be looking to the building management company to be implementing energy efficiency measures for common services.
There are several main drivers for promoting energy efficiency in commercial real estate, environmental concerns, legal implications and economic considerations. Taking these in turn it is possible to apply each to an individual building to assess what measures are required, and which will be beneficial.
Whether you or your management company subscribe to the theory of global warming and the greenhouse effect, it is likely that your tenants, or potential tenants, or their investors will do. In the UK, all large public properties need to have a Display Energy Certificate and may also require an Energy Performance Certificate if it is newly constructed or refurbished. If a Display Energy Certificate is required then an advisory report is also required showing how savings can be made.
Whilst this regime does not apply to private buildings, it is a clear indication in the way that legislation is heading and how public perception is manifest.
The legal implications have the most practical implications on Real Estate by way of changes to the Building Regulations and these effect both new build and refurbishments to existing commercial properties with more stringent regulations taking effect from 1 October 2010. Where there is a legal imperative on owners and property managers to make changes these of course must be observed although there are certain regulations that also allow for economic considerations to be taken into account, so that alterations only need be made where reasonable economically viable so to do.
With the cost of utilities and particularly electricity rising steadily any changes that can be made to improve energy efficiency will have an increasing and direct reduction on ongoing energy expenditure. Items such as passive infrared switching and heating and ventilating equipment with lower energy requirements or low water use appliances will have an ongoing financial benefit to the running cost of a building. In addition there may be grants available towards the capital costs of changing to better performing equipment.
The decision on whether individual improvements should be made needs to take into account all of the above, however it can be seen that there is pressure from a number of directions that means more and more real estate related decisions will have to be green orientated.
There is a lot of alternative energy hype these days, but you have to be careful with solar installation sales people. Often, they make claims that you will have the unit, installation and equipment all paid off within 5-10-years with all the money you save on energy, the ROI or return on your investment. If the company's salesman takes an overly optimistic approach to such promises to get you to buy, you may find yourself underwhelmed with the results and later determine that you didn't save any money after all.
Not long ago this exact issue occurred and the homeowner being a lawyer asked for the ROI in writing. He lived in a very sunny city with only 6-9 rain days a year on average, so he accepted the salesman on his word, but got it in writing just in case, because he'd heard of problems that other consumers had encountered. Turns out that in 2.5 years of the 10 year so-called ROI, he had not saved more than 10% on his energy bill. Worried that the company wouldn't be around in 7 and a half years, he took them to court for the entire cost of the unit.
He offered to allow them to remove it or leave it there, but wanted his money back, as he had been lied too. The solar company had all sorts of excuses such as cloudy weather, house facing the wrong direction, and even energy cost increases of 3%. The judge was hearing none of this nonsense and awarded the gentleman full re-imbursement. The solar company could take the unit away or sell the unit for 15% of the original cost and walk away.
The homeowner had agreed that 15% was fair because a home buyer might like a solar system on the house and figured that he could raise the price of the house that small amount and recover that cost at a later date, which is more than fair considering he was lied to, and whether they meant to or not is irrelevant, the point is beware of these ROI claims during the initial purchase of your solar alternative energy system.
As real estate values keep losing ground, many are still asking why. The answers may not be what everyone wants to hear. The questions will remain as predictions of a recovery are still not reflecting any positives for the average consumer. It still amazes me that many feel a recovery has started. As those receiving unemployment beg for any kind of extension, tell them the recovery has started. Who doesn't have a family member who is suffering from either being jobless, or if still employed or those who fear for the loss of their job? Everyone lives in a piece of real estate. Everyone works in a real estate investment. What will it really take for a buyer to buy a home once again? No, I am not talking about a short sale. Why don't the FEDS and their economists see that this is another huge red flag for the mortgage industry? If I could, I'd stop the FEDS from allowing this to go on and tell them that this should stop immediately. The upside is home inventory is slowly being sold off but the downside is, at who's expense? The average homeowner who is in good standing (no there are not many) needs to know how the system really works.
I am Mrs. Homeowner. In about 5-8 years, I want to become Mrs. Home Seller. Now, in my neighborhood there are foreclosures galore. There are a few homeowners who are trying to sell for the normal reasons, such as downsizing, family changes, relocation and job change. So the homes that are selling are from short sales. They are being sold for less because of the mortgage meltdown. So as Mrs. Homeowner, when I am ready to sell, could will the full value of my home be recognized or will buyers want my home for less. Who makes the decision on the value of my home? Is it my Realtor. Actually it is your buyer, Mrs. Homeowner. Your agent and you can set the price wherever you want but it is your buyer who offers you a contract, and it is the price that you settled upon that will dictate the sales price. Then it is the real estate appraiser who will value the property. They have had their own challenges in these times as well. Now the real estate taxes of the homes that are selling in these short sales seem so much higher than mine are right now. What is the real tax base for homes like mine? There are so many unanswered questions in these markets.
How can the real estate investment become a good value again?Are short sale techniques considered sustainable methods to turn around the real estate market? Is common sense a lost character trait in today's business minds?
As a green real estate educator and someone who has completed close to 400 real estate transactions successfully, the word sustainable should be a key in any plans or suggestions to turn the real estate markets around as well. Can we agree "it is not business as usual anymore." The rules are changing and nothing is as it seems anymore. We hear of food prices going down, but no one will admit packaging from manufactures is smaller. There are no more half gallons of ice cream. Look closer. Loaves of bread are smaller. We are in an economic downturn that needs drastic measures and we need them now.
My suggestion on how the real estate market can be turned around. If I showed you a home, that had a utility bill that is 45% less than others in a neighborhood, would you have interest? If I showed you a home, priced within $10,000 of others in a neighborhood that documented smarter use of appliances and the materials used to renovate it or build it were not producing harmful chemicals than the neighbor's homes were, would you want to know more? If you learn freshly painted smell is not good for your family, would you have wanted the home to have been painted with lower toxic paints? If this home was not ruining the environment, was within walking distance of schools, food stress and the park, would this be of interest? Suppose rainwater was being recycled and the association fees were including no restrictions if you wanted to add solar panels when the prices come down, would you have interest? If this home had an energy audit documenting home energy use was rated quite well, would this be of interest to your family? Talk about sustainable steps to create lasting and sellable value. Then the competition really becomes "healthy" competition.
The real estate investment needs help. It needs a better product in more way then one. Just lowering rates, will not do it. Having a 3% interest rate and thousands off to renovate green would be a few steps in the right direction. Now, I am a staunch Republican and proud of it. The way our president is addressing these issues is not the way to do this. Incentives are good but give them to companies who will hire and retrain those who are out of work. We are all ready for a new industrial revolution and it needs to first address those will represent renewable products in the marketplace. If you build a new economy with incentives for small enterprise and big business, jobs will be created and the new industrial revolution can begin. Pardon the level of my simplistic explanation but this is how I see it.
I am not practicing real estate right now but even I see that the real estate industry and all affiliate industries need market transformation and they need it fast. I can remember the days where life was good when I was a real estate agent. Working on 4 and 6 active contracts a month. Attending 4 to 6 home inspections, helping buyers with financing options, meeting mortgage lenders and coordinating everyday 4 and 6 transactions a month. Then getting paid. Then, in the middle of all of this I had 4 and 5 buyers to work with and 3 or 4 sellers who wanted market analysis on their homes. Who ever said agents in the residential and commercial markets don't work hard?
Try a schedule like that. Now, try to picture all of this gone. Can you imagine a world where an agent shows a buyer 20 and 30 homes, and they don't buy or even with great credit the lender turns them down?
Try picturing the fact that agents are doing this for 4-6 buyers? Can you imagine writing contracts and having back and forth communication on situations that you know will not work? Sellers painting on the agents recommendation just to have a home sit and sit. Builders who have land that is not developed? Paying taxes while you can't pay your contractors and your support staff is dwindling. Agents advertising with their own money and houses just don't sell? Did I mention you, as an agent, pay $2000 a year to stay in the business, for incidentals such as license renewals, ads, association and MLS dues and continuing education credits? How about the loan officer who keeps trying to refinance people and can't get them a loan? Think of the home inspector who waits for the agents to write business. Everyone is hurting.
Is there any end in sight? Is there anything that can turn this around? YES!
Now I have another scenario for you. You are a buyer or seller of real estate. You want an agent who is green certified to help you understand green attributes in homes. You want to put your home on the market or buy and want your agent who is also your friend or relative to help you. They tell you they have a certification 6,000 have and been green certified by Green Real Estate Education. They like the fact that they only had to pay $99 to learn of what energy efficiency and green these issues have to do with the home you may want to buy or sell. In the current economy, they didn't choose to spend hundreds or thousands (and neither do you) to learn about energy efficiency so you respect their budget conscience mindset. Can you already see the value in working with this agent? This Certified Real Estate Professional has been trained to assist you to understand how you can keep your utility bills low and have a healthier indoor air quality. That agent works with 2 or 3 ( GCHI's ) Green Certified Home Inspectors. They have 2 Green Certified Mortgage Professionals (GCMP) who know of ways to finance energy efficient upgrades or special loans for newer energy efficient homes.
This agent likes working with buyers who also want a utility bill that is only $500-$1000 a year. Sparking interest already? You hear that green building ideals offer healthier indoor air quality. Interesting. You find a home that has an Energy Star, Environments for Living, Green Build or LEED green certification. Priced the same as other homes, that home has a low utility bill and energy efficient systems and utilizes solar and is in the perfect area too. What will you choose?
You call a Green Certified Real Estate Agent, a GCREP and say, what can I do to help my home sell in a year or so? They come by, recommend you replace all light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED products that are much more efficient and paint with non toxic paint, add healthy and efficient insulation. Aren't these suggestions a bit different than the normal advice. They also have that certification 6,000 have across the country.
In the years to come, you may not want to sell now but that Green Certified agent, inspector or mortgage professional has taken his or her level two certification to learn even more and offer advice that you get an energy audit, and from the results they suggest you upgrade the widows, insulation, the roof and you don't want to get a second mortgage. They begin to tell you about the state offering a program with PACE concepts. What is PACE you ask? Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are designed to allow property owners to install energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency projects and repay those costs as a line item on their property tax bill or utility bill (depending on state law and local options). Wow, half of my family members are in the construction industry and out of work, what a great way for them to have work. Are we thinking job creation? You didn't even know about this. Thank you for green real estate education.
Stimulating the real estate industry is possible. I do not feel this has anything to do with democrats or republicans. A clean energy economy reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Energy efficiency concepts will create jobs. This is not new to other countries, and we need an economic stimulation NOW. So I will ask again, can green education transform the real estate industry? What do you think?
There is an uprising trend in the number of green homes. Perhaps the much insisted eco-friendly solution have finally caught up with real estate as people are now adopting to using renewable energy sources and materials without residual toxins inside their homes. But if you are a newly celebrated eco-friendly folk and you are on your way to buying your new eco-friendly home, there are a few things that you need to look out for.
The first thing to look for is the type of flooring. Hardwood floors are important in not only maintaining the aesthetics of the house, but in house warming as it conserves heat especially in the cold seasons of winter. It eliminates the need for carpets which are usually prone to dust.
The windows have to be orientated towards the sun, so that much natural light as possible can get into the rooms. They should also be large and preferably double paned. When there is an adequate source of natural light, you cut back on the need of artificial lighting, and in the end, you save up some money in the electric bill.
The location you choose for your eco-friendly home is of the essence. It should be away from any source of pollution, and instead, be as deep in nature as it can be. If it's near the city where there are a lot of carbon emissions from vehicles, or near some factory, then it is inappropriate. Choose instead a place where there is an abundance of trees, and nature is in its fullest.
The design that the house has is essential too. The bigger a house is the more power hungry it's going to be. That's in respect to the amount of electrical power supply needed in running the systems, and in heating and cooling it depending on the environmental temperatures. If you don't need too much space, go for a medium sized house that will be easier to maintain.
Real estate agents are always looking for a new method to increase their marketing effectiveness while reducing their efforts. Digital flyers via SMS text messaging is the way to go!
SMS (text message) marketing is poised to see ten-fold growth during 2010, and triple digit increases through 2012 (according to data from the Yankee Group). Through the use of mobile short codes and keywords, real estate agents can use this technology to deliver comprehensive data about their listings directly to prospective clients.
An example of the use of the system would be if an agent advertised "Text HOME123 to 69302 for more details". That could generate a message that could outline the info on the property and provide a link directly to the MLS listing like this:
54 Meadowhawk: 4 bed/7bath. Great entertaining home! Call Rob: 702-555-1212 Full MLS: [link would be here]
By embedding the tiny URL into the text message, the agent can deliver a link to the full MLS listing, or a custom landing page (digital flyer), without the hassle or expense of printing hundreds of flyers. Plus, the text messages don't use any natural resources, so you are deploying a 'green' solution as part of your marketing efforts and it can be easily forwarded to the buyer's spouse, friend, or buying agent.
Current 'green' solutions are available by way of voice recordings or short distance radio broadcasts, but these methods of advertising have the following limitations:
- They don't permit the perspective buyer to save the information
- They don't provide pictures
- The agent doesn't get to collect the buyer's contact information
With real estate text message marketing, the agent gains the following benefits:
- Always Working - A system that is working for them while they eat, sleep, or close other sales
- Full Details - Can deliver a link to the full MLS listing or custom digital marketing flyer
- Data Collection - Collect the cell phone number of every user so that they can reply to them in person
- Flexibility - Allows for instant changes to the response message (unlike printed marketing materials)
- Cost Effective - Is far more cost effective than print (about 7 cents per message compared to 20 cents per printed flyer)
Text message marketing for real estate is just beginning to hit its stride. Just as Internet has been a game-changer for real estate marketing, the use of mobile marketing as part of your comprehensive marketing plan is going to be required.
The following interview was conducted with Marlayna Phenechka, a building subcontractor based in Asheville, North Carolina who practices green building and sustainable thinking. Phenechka has worked on both residential and commercial real estate projects in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. She outlines some basic upgrades to facilitate more efficient and less expensive heating and cooling. The upgrades are a smart investment for the average consumer since the money spent is quickly recouped.
Turn Off the Hot Water! On-Demand Hot Water Heaters
(Estimated Cost: $250-800 Labor: $400-1400)
The resources used to heat water is expensive, often the second highest residential energy use in homes. Did you know most hot water heaters in homes are designed to keep water hot constantly? One good way to save electricity or gas is to simply turn off the hot water, and turn it on only when needed. Consult an electrician to install a timer or switch. Have them turn the water heater down from a manufacture's scalding 140 to 115 degrees. Another overlooked method to cutting costly water utility bills is to simply buy a 'blanket' for your water heater.
In Europe, modern Asia and Israel, On-Demand, or Tankless, Hot Water Heaters are more common than the hot water tanks in US homes. These cost effective, efficient devices turn hot water off unless it's in use. Phenechka says, "There's an off mode on this system. There is no pilot light either, which saves valuable energy. Many On-Demand Hot Water Heaters are even made with a temperature remote control feature so the user can adjust the temperature to his or her preference, saving even more energy."
The best On-Demand or Tankless Hot Water Heater uses liquid propane or gas as a source of energy. If main power is shut down for some reason there will still be hot water. "The size of an On-Demand Hot Water Heater is about the same as a backpack and weighs approximately 30-40 pounds," Phenechka adds. In some cases, installing a gas line to fuel the On-Demand Hot Water Heater may incur an extra expense, though liquid propane may be a better option. The majority of US states offer a tax credit for these devices.
Heat Pump Heating and Cooling Systems
(Estimated Cost for the system and installation $3,000-8,500)
Heat Pumps are a great way to conserve money on heating and cooling. "Some heat pumps come with heat and air conditioning and are well worth the initial investment. During milder winter days, the heat pump draws in warm air through the home's ducts; in the summer, it pulls in cool air and dehumidifies it at the same time," says Phenechka. A heat pump is far more efficient then many other heating and cooling systems and saves some homeowners as much as $100 per month or more. Make sure you purchase a programmable thermostat with the system and check and seal any leaks all your original air ducts and returns to optimize your investment!
Attic Exhaust Fan
(Estimated Cost: $80-$250)
Installing (or repairing) an exhaust, or gable, fan in the attic can make a huge difference in airflow, humidity, and temperature in a home. Solar exhaust fans, with their own tiny solar panel are now available at many of the big box stores! Hot air especially gets trapped in the attic, and without an exhaust fan, it is hard for this air to move and the home's temperature stays high. Attic fans are easily installed, and most have sensors for temperature and humidity so the fan automatically turns on. A gable fan ensures that even if there is air conditioning in the home it is not overused.
There is also a whole house fan system made to work in conjunction with an attic fan. The whole house fan system is an alternative to air conditioning especially in cooler, dry climates. It harnesses and pulls in the cool air that exists outside to the interior of a home through open windows at night.
(Cost: $50-$100 each)
Ceiling fans also eliminate much of the need for air conditioning and sometimes act as a complete alternative to AC. "Ceiling fans have a wind chill factor of three and up," states Phenechka "a ceiling fan in each room can have a huge impact on the comfort inside." When a home is being heated in the winter, a ceiling fan will help spread the heated air more evenly throughout the house. Ceiling fans are a great way to upgrade a home, and many attractive fans, some with lighting fixtures, are available to choose from. Don't forget to use energy efficient bulbs in the ceiling fan for increased energy savings.
Green Upgrades and Renovations for Commercial Real Estate
Many of the green strategies mentioned not only have value for residential homeowners but also for commercial real estate such as retail stores, office buildings, apartment buildings, factory plants, restaurants and shopping malls. Heating and cooling costs are a major issue for commercial real estate developers and investors. If you want to save money on monthly bills consider hiring a green building and renovation specialist to upgrade the heating and cooling system of your commercial property. Commercial fan systems and on demand hot water heaters can hold great long term value for commercial real estate owners and are a healthy business investment.
These simple, green living recommendations will make your home or building more energy efficient and save you money over the long term. Whether you have hundred or thousands to spend on environmentally conscious, real estate upgrades and renovations there are affordable green solutions to keep your heating and cooling costs down. In a time of rising energy costs, it makes sense to go green. These kinds of heating and cooling upgrades and renovations will increase the value of your commercial or residential property and make it more attractive to future buyers.
If you own your home, it probably represents the largest capital investment you have. Even if you are renting on a long or short term basis, it will still represent a large potion of your monthly expenditure, in rental payments, utility and possibly maintenance costs.
With utility costs continuing to rise, due largely to the increasing cost of fossil fuels, it makes sense to look at making sensible investments to reduce energy use and therefore monthly expenditure.
What is a sensible expenditure will depend on the length of time you will continue to occupy your property but anything that will reduce ongoing costs sufficiently to pay for the one of alteration is worth considering.
Even if you are renting a property it could be worth speaking with your landlord and seeing if they will fund the works or part of them, as expenditure will continue to benefit tenants in the future.
There are some quick wins, with insulation being amongst the lowest cost improvement for the greatest gains. Adding extra insulating to a loft will help keep in the heat, which has a natural tendency to rise and escape upwards. Cavity wall insulation can also help keep in your valuable heat.
An immediate saving can be had by turning down the thermostat on your heating system. This saving, which costs absolutely no money to implement, can save 1 % of your heating bill for each 1 degree of reduction over an eight hour period. By gradually reducing the temperature by a small amount each week, it is possible to build up to significant savings. If you are going out, try and get into the habit of turning the thermostat down even more; it may be a little cooler when you get home, but you will save energy and money. If your heating is not programmed to go off at night, consider doing this, or turning it down by a further 5 degrees for a further 5 per cent saving on your heating bills.
Another simple saving is to replace existing light bulbs with low energy ones. These are now available very cheaply (and as traditional light bulbs are being phased out the low energy options is now in many cases the cheaper option). These will start saving you money on your electricity bills straight away, and if you are renting short term, you can simply swap the bulbs back when you come to move again and take the energy efficient ones with you.
If these savings are not enough see how you can save water (which will also save energy to heat it). Showering uses less water than baths and there are simple attachments that will even reduce the amount of water most showers uses, without effecting the quality of your shower. Finally a plastic bottle filled with water in a toilet cistern can save several litres of water every flush. If you pay for your water through a water meter then this could save you money and if not it will still help make your home a greener one.
It might seem that in rough economic times, people's main priority would be on saving or generating money. There is some truth to this statement, but it is not the whole truth. Some home buyers are not just looking for a good financial deal. They also want to buy a "green" or environmentally friendly property. Actually, they might even be fusing their financial and environmental concerns by seeing saved energy as saved money, and a healthier planet as good for their own health, too. Either way, it might behoove home sellers and real estate agents to see how they can attract and keep the attention of eco-conscious buyers.
Firstly, you might try making small but critical changes to the property itself in order to make it more environmentally friendly. Some of these changes can actually be classified as basic sprucing-up of a home that is up for sale. For instance, a seller might want to fix a leaky pipe. Fixing that pipe will save precious water-a plus for many environmentally-conscious buyers. However, it should appeal to most buyers, whether they worry much about the environment or not. Bad plumbing will definitely make the property harder to sell, and may get you in trouble after the sale, if you concealed the problem from the buyer and did not fix it. Some areas have very strict laws about such things.
Now, think energy. Recent scientific data, natural events, and media blitzes have all contributed to a widespread concern over global warming. Human energy consumption has been pinpointed as a major contributor to global warming. If you add some insulation to windows or doors, or make sure that light fittings are compatible with energy-saving light bulbs, you will be better able to draw in people who want to help our planet.
Furthermore, you should do research on the house. What is it made of? Does it include any special materials that are environmentally friendly, or were procured in a way that does not harm the planet much? Hopefully, you will find some data that will please buyers of green real estate. If not, well, at least you will be able to answer the questions of such buyers, in case they are curious about building materials.
Even the location of a home might have some sort of "green" slant to it. Perhaps it is in an area close to a recycling center, or is situated such that a prospective buyer might be able to easily set up solar energy panels. Perhaps it is located on a windy spot, which allows the owner to cut down on air-conditioning expenses. If the house happens to be near critical locations such as the buyer's workplace, this means that he/she can save on gasoline. If the home is very close to a public transportation station, even better! These are some location-related factors that can help you market a home to an eco-conscious buyer. As a seller or agent, you might want to include such information in your sales pitch.
In 2007 issues like pollution, cancer and global warming are found on the American news every week. In the last five years these universal problems have been acknowledged and started to emerge in mainstream consciousness. Solutions such as renewable energy, green building and organic farming are now hot topics being talked about on TV, in newspapers and on the radio. In order to preserve the planet for future generations, it is essential that natural green building is embraced and eco homes and other green practices become the standard. One community that is leading the way is a beautiful city nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains: Asheville, North Carolina.
Working Together to Preserve Western North Carolina
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of WNC environmental concerns are a top priority. Preserving the natural environment of the mountains insures the health and safety of communities throughout the region. The city of Asheville, along with other counties and towns in WNC, like Black Mountain, recognizes that green space, green building and alternative resources are the wave of the future. Asheville is home to numerous green projects and initiatives. Blue Ridge BioFuels is an organization that has opened six biodiesel pumps at gas stations in the area. Blue Ridge BioFuels also supplies BioHeat for furnaces. Home delivery and competitive prices make it simple to begin using alternative fuels at home and on the road. Green building also plays a huge role in preserving local natural resources. Use of recycled construction materials, rainwater collection systems, and solar power all benefit the forests, animals and people.
The Possibilities Are Endless With Green Real Estate in Asheville, NC
In December of 2006 Asheville joined about fifty other municipalities across the country and passed a resolution stating that all new municipal buildings will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications. LEED is a nationally accepted green building rating system created by the U.S, Green Building Council, http://www.usgbc.org, and sets the standard for the design, construction and maintenance of energy efficient homes and buildings. Asheville is also home to the Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC), http://www.wncgbc.org. WNCGBC educates local contractors and builders about the latest green building techniques and practices. WNCGBC also works with city, state and county officials to make eco-friendly recommendations for local building standards. In Asheville, NC homebuyers searching for eco houses or green home building projects have a variety of options from downtown apartments to eco-friendly, real estate developments.
Sustainable Green Building: Find the Perfect, Eco-Friendly Real Estate in Western North Carolina
In Asheville, NC many homeowners, architects and builders work diligently to follow eco-friendly building, design and maintenance plans. To complete a green building project specific topics must be addressed including:
-Green Building Materials
Whether you are searching for a green condo centrally located in downtown Asheville or an eco home in a private, gated community you can find the perfect green real estate in Western North Carolina. In the mountains it is simple to contribute and help preserve Asheville's excellent quality of life for years to come.
As the founder for a think tank which happens to operate online, I generally have the final say in who gets to join, and who doesn't. I've been rather alarmed in recent years by the number of folks attempting to join who had taken environmentalism almost as some sort of religion without having all their facts straight. Further, far too many of them have been brainwashed by academia to the point that they don't even really know the true definition of capitalism, and have in mind this nonsense that money is evil, and free markets aren't fair.
Additionally, I am concerned with what happens when groups of like-minded people that do not understand reality get together in group-think designing what they believe to be the future utopia and epitome of human civilizations. They fail to realize their history, or how the real world works, rather they are more interested in talking about some sort of fantasyland, that someone else is going to pay for, and everyone is going to live happily ever after enjoying a heavenly existence. Okay so, let's talk and let me give you a case study and example here.
There was an interesting research paper put out by Deutsche Post DHL, a Futurist type Report on logistics titled; "The World in 2050," the press release appeared on February 27, 2012.
Anyway, the piece had an overview of 5-potential scenarios and in scenario one which is depicted as an; "Untamed Economy," with "Impending Collapse" the article stated;
"The world is characterized by unchecked materialism and mass consumption. This non-sustainable way of life is fed by the relentless exploitation of resources, a development that stokes climate change and causes natural disasters to mount. In a world characterized by tumultuous growth, demand for logistics and transport services climbs sharply. A global transportation supergrid ensures a rapid exchange of goods between centers of consumption. But as climate change advances, supply chains are increasingly disrupted, a development causing additional challenges for logistics companies."
Now then, I am not sure what type of fantasyland these folks are living in but I have some harsh and critical words for all this nonsense and global warming alarmism. You see, when I first heard about this report I was very excited in reading it, because I consider myself a Futurist in many regards, although I am not the type of Futurist who leans towards Plato utopian communistic theory. Further, to criticize consumption, is also to criticize capitalism, abundance, and all that the free-market can deliver.
It seems these utopians want to be free from want, and they want to make sure no one else can have what they want. That everyone should have only what they need to barely to survive, and nothing more, but that isn't what the human animal is about, nor does it take into consideration the innate characteristics of the species. We can't go around predicting the future without understanding the human animal. And we aren't going to be able to change the brain structure or the foundational genetics within to make people happy as minimalists by wishful thinking.
Now then, that's not saying we can't use genetic manipulation, drugs, pharmaceuticals, or future modification of the species to do it. But in that future aren't we really talking about turning human beings into a giant collective or Borg? Oh my gosh, 1984 here we come. As if all this nonsensical thinking wasn't enough, these futurist have to throw in the whole global warming religion issue, claiming there will be dystopia, or we can never reach our goals unless we do it their way, which happens to be destroying our energy infrastructure, changing the economic flows of civilization globally, changing the way we consume, the way we live, and submitting to the ultimate authority, namely their's.
It is interesting that the folks who were involved in this project, and this collaborative futurist work have played their hand, and now we see what they want to do, they want to control every aspect of our lives, tell us what we can and cannot have, hijack our energy infrastructure, and then promise us they will deliver what we need, which is what we will in the future agree to if we adopt their global warming religion. You only have to read between the lines just a little bit to see what's going on here, and it should scare you. If it doesn't scare you, I would submit to you that you are not paying attention.
In fact, most of the challenges we have in our economy, supply chain, and free-market system have to do with the same sorts of folks with their left leaning thinking trying to manipulate the flows of money, labor, production, and capital. It is obvious they want to do this well into the future, and if they aren't allowed to, they claim that we are all going to die because of global warming, that we will live some sort of a terrible existence. Well, I have news for you, all those folks who have promoted a utopian society in the past, trying to create something that will last for 1000 years - well, we've all seen what has happened, and mankind is not the better for their exploits, and exploratory projects with human civilization.
The reality is that when you look at the United States and the free-market system, and as we practice capitalism to our best ability, although we do fall down at times, we have created massive abundance, and it's worked quite well. This is the model we should follow, and anything to destroy this model is a threat to America's future. If those folks want to run their little game plan, and create their little communist nation state, or the folks in Belgium want to create a unified Europe, then let them go try, but as I look out around the world now, I see their projects have failed time and time again. And personally I don't think the United States should be bailing them out, or joining in cahoots with a nonsensical dream, or a new environmental religion.
It is obvious what works, and what hasn't worked. Capitalism has worked, socialism and communism haven't, and therefore we should all take notice and move forward into the future of humankind with that knowledge. We should not dismiss it, deny it, or trample on that truth. The problem with goody-two-shoed environmentalist futurism is that all their theories are flawed, and their foundation is baseless nonsense - it's all a house of cards, and if you fall for it, the Joker of dystopia wins. Please consider all this and think on it.
With worries about climate change on the rise, eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The demand for environmentally sound housing is leading constructors to source innovative alternatives to traditional building materials, including straw and even grass!
Eco building consultants 'Home grown Home' have designed and built a cabin using bales of straw. Located in East Yorkshire, the Straw Bale cabin has been constructed using 96 full and 46 half bales of wheat straw sourced from local farms. The bales themselves bear the weight of the roof, removing the need for a timber frame. Aside from straw, other renewable materials used include sheep's' wool as wall insulation and paints and oils made from plant extracts. A range of recycled materials have also been put to good use including an old barn door for beams in the lounge, reclaimed railway sleepers and even pipes from the old milking parlor.
Cliveden Village in Taplow, Buckinghamshire is a development of properties built on a prestigious National Trust estate. All 134 houses and apartments have been designed to protect the environment and maintain high ecological standards. All properties have been built from rated materials such as FSC sourced timber and recycled materials from the original brown field site. Inside the homes, the use of PVC has been voided by choosing low volatile organic chemical fittings and finishes. Other eco-friendly features include solar hot water and mechanical heat recovery systems, as well as energy efficient lighting and insulation. Water use across the estate is reduced through the use of rainwater collection and low volume fittings on taps and toilets.
Dunescape is a three floor eco-property in Camber Sands, Rye. Built in 007, the environmentally-conscious house is let to visitors as a contemporary holiday home. A grass roof soaks up rainwater and solar power provides hot water in the summer. Geothermal heat from the ground insulates the house in the winter months, ensuring guests keep warm after bracing walks on the nearby beach. Finishing touches in the property include tables made from reclaimed timber, phosphate-free natural washing up liquid, vegan toiletries and organic cotton towels.
BedZED is a carbon neutral community in Sutton, South London. Completed in 2002, the housing development comprises a total of 99 homes each specifically designed to support a sustainable lifestyle. An innovative joint venture between the Peabody Trust and environmental charity arranging, the project has won a raft of awards for its cutting edge design and impressive environmental performance. Recent figures show that BedZED residents use an average of 81% less energy on heating and 8% less water than the local average.
Ecostessey Park is a development of 22 town houses on the banks of the river Tud in Norwich. Each property is built to a demanding ecological specification and is zero carbon rated. A number of environmentally-friendly features are included as standard in each home, such as photovoltaic solar panels which allow residents to sell energy back to the National Grid. Other energy efficient features include low energy lighting and a thermostatic bath to control water temperatures.
It's all about ugly solar panels and cold houses, right? Turn down the heat! Put a sweater on! God, those solar panels are an eye-sore! Not any more. Green building has evolved into much more than simply slapping some solar panels on the roof of your house and calling it a day. It can include such basic concepts as: the proper orientation of your house, sealed air ducts, high efficiency windows, improved insulation, high efficiency HVAC, and tight construction.
Check out The US Green Building Council for more information. A comprehensive rating system called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has been developed whose goal is to provide "a road map for delivering economically profitable, environmentally responsible, healthy, productive places to live and work."
Too late, I've already got a house
Not really, LEED provides a document called "16 Ways to Green your Home" which advises that you:
While it's true that certain areas of the country are more open to the green building revolution than others, you can certainly see from this information that taking a step in the "green" direction is not overwhelming.
So go ahead, give it a try.
Being green is all about saving, reducing and conserving the planet's natural resources. How can a green philosophy apply to real estate though?
If you are going to build a new house from scratch, then you have a blank canvas on which you can layer one green innovation on top of another to improve the environmental credibility of your home.
It may not seem as though it is as easy for most people who have no intention of building new real estate and are quite happy living where they are or if they move will choose an already constructed home. However there are a number of ways you can green your property, many of which should save you money either straight away or over a reasonable period of time.
The best time to implement many green improvements is when you need to make a change to your property. Your existing boiler may not be the most environmentally friendly, but the energy used to manufacture it is already accounted for. If it is still relatively new, just throwing it out to get an improved model is unlikely to make financial sense. What you can do is make sure that it runs as efficiently as possible by having it cleaned and serviced on a regular basis, usually once a year.
Adding extra insulation to your property can also help reduce the amount of heat and therefore energy you waste. This can be relatively cheap to install and the money saved will usually pay the cost of the added insulation in about two years. Even more simply, by closing curtains as soon as it gets dark, you will help trap warm air in your house rather than letting it escape through the cold surface of the windows.
Fitting energy efficient light bulbs will cut your electricity bill and switching those lights off when you are not in a room will reduce it even more. Developing good habits in you and your family can take only a few days and will save money.
If you have a back yard or garden, planting your own vegetables is a great way to improve the green credentials of your property. In one simple step you are cutting down on the food miles needed to transport vegetables from the farm to the store and then to your home. You may also find that you waste far less food you grow yourself, because you know just how much effort has gone into producing it.
When owning a home, making it as green and environmentally friendly as possible is beneficial to the whole world and to your home. You will be able to get many benefits out there when turning your home into a more energy efficient place to live. There are a number of ways that you can do this. It does not cost much money to become more energy efficient, and it saves you a lot of money in the long run. This is because your energy bills will be lowered, and your house will be warmer.
When you an eco-friendly home, you increase the value of the home if you ever decide to sell the home to someone else. Not only that, but you also decrease the amount on your energy bill each and every month. Since there are no drafts, there is no where for the warm air you put in the home to get out. Making your home eco-friendly and green provides you with tax credits on your tax returns as well. This is because the type of new materials you put in your home. If they are good for the environment, and save energy, then the government wants to give some of the money you put into making energy efficient home. These are only a few of the reasons why you might want to think about making your home more energy efficient. This is especially true in those areas that get pretty cold, and a lot of snow such as when you live in homes.
There is something called an R-Value of insulation, and it is very important to keep the heat in your home instead of having it go outside. This is because the more heat it takes to circulate through your home means the more you're going to have to pay in electric bills, and the more energy it is using to generate that heat. This not only is bad for your wallet, but it is bad for the environment because of all the fumes and gases that it takes to heat your home. If the heater is constantly running, then there is no break for the environment. If you insulate the windows, or even replace older windows with newer windows that have argon gas then this traps the heat that comes from the furnace. You will no longer have to heat the outside, and keep all the warm air in your home. If the heat is trapped, then there is no need for the furnace to constantly run. It will come on, blow the heat out, heat up the home, and turn off. You may not have to hear it kick on again for awhile if your house is properly insulated.
In those places where it becomes very frigid, such as Chicago, you want to ensure that your home is energy efficient. This is something that can be done when you choose the right replacement windows. If you purchase real estate, then you should know if the home was already made to be energy efficient. If you find that it was not, then you're looking at putting money in for new windows, insulation, and sometimes doors. This should not cost much, and thinking about all the money you will save in your upcoming energy bills, you make the money you spend back in savings. The more people that you get to make their homes energy efficient, the better the world will be because of the decrease in energy usage and pollution from running their furnaces throughout the winter. You might think that changing the windows will not affect the way that the home is heated and holds heat, but this false. Windows are one of the biggest causes of heat loss in homes, especially older homes where the windows have not been replaced in awhile and the insulation is poor. If you live in older homes then you might want to think about replacing windows and adding more insulation before the winter hits. It can be a cold, high cost winter if not.
Many people are switching their homes to a more energy efficient and green way. Saving the environment, as well as saving money in your pocket are two wonderful benefits of doing so. This provides a lot of home with warm heat while not having to constantly run the heater in order to get it. The EnergyStar program is out there for anyone in the United States who makes their homes energy efficient with the right windows and insulation through their program. Not only will they reimburse you for some of the costs you have made to make your home eco-friendly, but they will continue to give you tax deductions on the following years if you qualify. There is no better time than now to start thinking about making your home more energy efficient and green. The world can be a better place once everyone starts doing their parts, and saving more money when it comes to heating their homes.