Browsing: Real Estate

Government Incentives Boost Green Real Estate in Ontario

At a recent seminar I attended about Green Real Estate, I heard about the challenges some home-sellers faced when they tried to sell energy efficient features of their home. These sellers received zero dollar value for a $ 35,000.00 solar energy system on the resale of their homes! The buyers were interested in the energy saving features, but not willing to put a dollar value towards the improvements.

The Ontario government is leading the way to energy reform by tipping a new Bill 101 – Home Energy Audit Act 2008, an act respecting energy rating for specified residential buildings. This Energy Rating Act, if passed by Ontario Government, will require anyone selling a house or low-rise building to distribute the results of a home-energy audit to prospective buyers. New homes will also come with energy ratings.

Responsible home owners will finally benefit from retrofitting their homes with energy saving features. Homes that require less energy will increase in property value. Home efficiency ratings will create a demand for new and resale homes that use less energy, extremely increasing their property value compared with less-efficient homes and pressuring new home builders to go beyond minimum building code standards.

In addition, the government is providing funds to help home owners make their homes more efficient. At this time the government will pay 50% (up to $ 150.00) for a home energy audit and then a further amount towards certain projects submitted in the audit report. The energy grants can also be combined with the new Federal Canadian Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $ 1350.00.

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Going Green Tips For Building a New Home

Are you making plans to build a new home? This is certainly an exciting time and having the option of designing and building your own home is a dream come true. You get to choose how many bedrooms you have and where the kitchen and living room will be located. You also have the option of building green.

There are several things that you can do to make your home more energy efficient when you're building it yourself. Some of the options are simple and easy to incorporate into the design plans. Building green starts in the beginning stages of your plans with the location of the home. Spend a little time in the area where the home will be built. This will help you to see where the sun is the hottest or where it's blocked by trees. You can see what kind of breeze you get when the wind picks up and so forth.

This information will help determine where some of the windows should be placed. When the right location is chosen the sun can help provide heat and the wind can help to keep it cool by blowing through the home. As a general rule, south-facing windows will collect the most heat and help to warm your home while cutting down on your heating bill in the winter. This means that the length of the home should be facing to the south and north while the width should be facing towards the east and west. Using overhangs or awnings above the windows will help to reduce the amount of heat that enters the home in the summer and help reduce your cooling bill.

Use the energy saving building materials that are available today in the construction of your new home. These may cost a little more up-front but they will save you money in the long run and they will help to conserve natural resources. Install energy efficient windows, doors and appliances. The lighting you use in your home can also make a huge difference so buy fixtures and use light bulbs that are designed to be energy efficient as well.

Make the most from the opportunity to build your new home by going green in every area that you can. You will be helping the planet while saving money and still have a beautiful home that is comfortable and relaxing.

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Green-Staging Your Home

It's a buyer's market and selling homes for their maximum sale price is hard in these days of foreclosures and short sales. You've heard that home staging is the way to go, but you do not want to rip out perfectly good fixtures in order to make your home shine. Is there a way you can improve your home's appearance without putting a huge strain on the environment? The answer is yes!

Cleaning is the number 1 home stager's weapon. Nothing can take the place of soap and water when it comes to marketing your home. Clean homes smell better – even if you or the buyer does not notice it – and look better. Invest in some orange oil cleansers for a fresh citrus scrub and scrub, scrub, scrub! Instead of replacing bathroom fixtures, clean and polish them. Have your home powerwashed if it is covered with vinyl siding.

You may want to repaint your home's exterior and interior to give it a fresh, new look. There are low- and no-VOC (volatile organic compounds – bad environmental juju) paints available and recycled paint made from bucket leftovers. By carefully cleaning your brushes and rollers, you can make them last longer and be usable for more paint jobs in the future. Trays can also be cleaned and reused. Reusable dropcloths can be used for years instead of temporary plastic ones.

Instead of buying new furniture, reupholster, recover or repair the old. Many chairs and tables only want a couple of turns of their screws to steady out wobbles and a new coat of that recycled paint can make them shine again. You can also buy or make inexpensive slidecovers to quickly and easily cover your couches and chairs to harmonize with your living and bed room walls. Secondhand, good quality bedspreads can completely transform the look of your bed, as can a coat of paint applied to most frames.

In the kitchen, cleaning and staining old kitchen cabinets can give them an entirely new look, which is cheaper and less wasteful than buying new ones. When it comes to the kitchen, replacing old appliances with new can be better for the environment – replace your old stove and refrigerator with ENERGY STAR certified ones, which use less energy than appliances from former years. (And do not forget to buy certified appliances for your new home!) Your old appliances can be disposed of at your local recycling or reclaim center.

Bathrooms are another place where ENERGY STAR rated appliances can be better than the old and more appealing to environmentally-minded buyers. Low-water flush toilets can save a lot on water and water-efficient shower heads are a great selling point. This is one room that can not be too clean, given its purpose. Everything should be sparkling, especially the toilet! You can not be too scrupulous in this regard.

Flooring can be updated with merely a good cleaning. Further work on hardwood floors can be affected by repairing isolated wastes, sanding and restaining. Carpets can sometimes look completely new with a thorough vacuuming and steam cleaning. Carpets can also be dyed to remove the traces of stains and provide a more uniform appearance to the room. Keep in mind, however, that some carpets can not be dyed and a carpet can only be dyed darker, not lighter.

Preparing your home for sale, while still trying to keep waste to a minimum can be easy! Just adhere to the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” for an environmentally responsible home staging.

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Green Building – LEEDing the Way

Going Green today encompasses much more than just recycling and changing to CFL bulbs. With a global energy crisis, combined with climate change, companies are just beginning to look into a reliably new concept: Green Buildings. The online Wikipedia defines a Green Building as “the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources – energy, water, and materials – while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction , operation, maintenance, and removal. ”

Green Building is based upon the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standard developed by the US Green Building Council. In the commercial arena, LEED buildings are typically healthier work environments and have lower operational costs than conventionally designed buildings. LEED incorporates a scoring system to achieve various levels of certification which are: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These are based upon the following criteria:

o Sustainable sites
o Water Efficiency
o Energy and atmosphere
o Materials and resources
o Indoor environmental quality
o Innovation and design process

Since LEED's inception in 1996, there are now more than 14,000 projects in 30 countries. CitiBank began its LEED building program back in 2006 and has so far opened several new LEED Gold facilities in Irving, Texas, Queens, NY and in Germany. The company has committed $ 10 billion in green real estate initiatives over the next 20 years. On a smaller scale, Navy Federal Credit Union completed their new LEED Gold Call Center in Pensacola, FL which currently houses 300 employees. This is the first stage of a four building corporate campus which will eventually house over 3,000 employees. Their studies show a 25-40% reduction in energy usage and their employee turnover rate was reduced from 60% to only 17%.

Typical costs for new LEED building average only 2% above conventional building. However, other factors such as availability of sustainable materials and unfamiliarity of LEED processes may cause delays which could affect the costs. However, when averaged over a building's 40 year life span, the benefits clearly outweigh the costs.

While the new construction makes the news, LEED construction is also making headway in the refurbishing and renovation of existing buildings. Due to original construction limitations, LEED renovated buildings rarely receive a rating of higher than “Certified”, although based upon how thorough and intensive the renovation, a rating of Silver is possible. However, there is a new LEED Existing Buildings program in the process of implementation. Along with the release of the new LEED 3.0 standards in the summer of 2009, this existing construction strategy will allow renovation projects achieve a true LEED rating as well.

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Greenest London Boroughs Go All Out

As cities go, London is one of the world's greenest. All you have to do to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is catch a tube to Hyde Park corner and you'll find yourself in a tranquil expanse of greenery where swans float by idly on a large lake. In the greenest London boroughs you will not be surprised by the presence of a fox sauntering past late at night and in Richmond Park you can enjoy watching the population of buck slow munching on their breakfast as you go on your morning jog.

Historically, the parks were used as royal hunting grounds by the likes of Henry the eighth, and they were landscaped in the 18th century. In the 21st century, the term 'green' has taken on an entirely new meaning and returns to housing projects and cities that aim to be environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprints. In this respect, London is also a leader with many government initiatives pushing for the more ecological use of energy and promoting a 'greener' city. Boroughs in London are competitive for the title of the greenest in London, which takes into account both green space and ecological living.

Sutton, in South West London, is already one of the leafier boroughs, benefiting from being on the edge of London and in a green belt near the county of Surrey; however, the borough council wants to improve its reputation further by also living within its share of Earth's resources. In 2008, BioRegional announced that Sutton is considered to be the UK's most ambitious green borough. Researchers found that Sutton had been using three times the natural resources to which it is entitled – taking into account space and population; although the Sutton council is now working with residents and other organizations to implement a realistic sustainable action plan that will be reviewed annually.

Haringey, in North London, also has ambitious plans to be the greenest London borough. A quarter of Haringey (which includes Camden and Islington) consists of green space, which the local government is proposing to reserve with a ten year ecological plan that was implemented in 2007. The ecological plan focuses on building on their reputation as the London borough with the most Green Flag parks. Competing with Sutton for the title of 'London's greenest borough', Haringey council has invested more than £ 20million to improve their ecology since 2005. The plan includes installing energy efficient street lighting and purchasing electric cars for council businesses, as well as providing green bins to borough residents.

Greater London has a population of well over eight million people, which makes it all the more impressive that the city council is able to maintain so much green space and organization ambitious programs for ecological improvement. All of which encourages boroughs to compete to become the greenest in London.

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Go Green With Your Dream House

More and more people are trying to be eco-friendly and are going “green” in their approach in almost whatever they do in life. Ashville architects have gone a mile ahead by introducing a new concept in architecture called as “green architecture”.

What Is Green Architecture?

The word may sound interesting, but do not be misled by its literal meaning. Green architecture is a method of designing a house keeping the environment in mind. This is done by constructing an environmentally friendly and energy efficient house.

While constructing an eco-friendly home, aspects like passive solar design, active solar design, rain water collection, green roofs, daylight lighting and high performance envelopes are considered.

In the city of Ashville architects consider the most important factors that influence our future and the sustainability of our natural environment. They use simple green building techniques in order to reduce the negative impact of construction and in turn enhance the human and natural surroundings in which we live.

Principals Used In Green Architecture

Ashville architects follow certain principals while constructing a green building. They first orient the building appropriately as per the topography and day lighting. This is followed by efficient planning and design for economic usage of space and implementing renewable energy wherever it is practicable possible.

What Should A Green Architect Know

It is very easy to find an architect but definitely not a green architect. This type of architect should be in a position to advise you about how to make your building energy efficient. He should also be efficient enough to translate your ideas into reality by using both architectural and common sense. He needs to use the modern and up-to-date technology to prove his efficiency at work.

Lastly, since this is eco-friendly architecture, it must use materials like solar panels, earth friendly materials like stone, wood etc, thermal mass building construction and if possible even recycled goods like bottles, tires and so on.

Materials Used

Typically, local and regional sources are used while building an environment friendly structure. The builders tend to incorporate durable, low maintenance materials, low embodied energy materials like stone and wood while building this kind of house.

The best part about this kind of architecture is that it incorporates permeable surfaces and uses native plants and existing surfaces wherever possible thereby making it eco-friendly. The main aim of this type of architecture is to minimize construction waste; use certified or reclaimed wood, recycled and recyclable materials.

Ashville architects are famous for using water for efficient fixtures and appliances, incorporating rain water collection and reusing gray water for irrigation and landscaping. They have been doing these things for over 20 years now.

Know The Advantages

Besides being eco-friendly, this type of constructions holds more advantages. This helps protect trees and topsoil during site work, filters storm water on site, employ sediment and erosion control techniques.

Being eco-friendly in nature, it helps in creating a healthy indoor air quality, providing ample ventilation and enhancements fresh air supply. It uses less toxic materials as far as the finishing materials are concerned. It also helps the building in getting natural light.

Last but not the least; remember it is the design and construction that makes a perfect building. A building is ideal only when it sustains and most importantly is eco-friendly.

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Eco Friendly Property in Dubai

The construction boom in Dubai is not something you'd normally associate with the phrase Eco-Friendly, but there is one area of ​​Dubai that will be built with sustainability and the environment in mind – Dubai Waterfront.

Dubai Waterfront is located on the west side of Dubai (towards Abu Dhabi) and when complete will be twice the size of Hong Kong and home to over 1.5 million people.

Dubai Waterfront is aiming to be the world's first Ecopolis, and the development motto is – “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time”.

Intelligent city planning will include comprehensive pedestrian and public transport systems to minimize the length of car travel in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions.

Water management will rely on recycled water for ventilation and cooling systems. The infrastructure will have low ecological impact and the city will be serviced by a modern co-generative system for power supply. These are just a few of the many innovations that will make Dubai Waterfront the benchmark for green development.

All individual developments will have to adhere to LEED Gold Certification. Pixel Tower and Wave Residences are examples of the former. Pixel Tower is an 18 floor tower with futuristic cyber-architecture design, while Wave Residence is a low-rise development located directly on the beach.

Omniyat Properties' Beachfront Living is another example. This development will become one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai Waterfront which again adheres to the highest standards in sustainability.

Dubai has been criticized by some environmentalists for the minimum use of solar-panels (considering there is no shortage of sun), and huge energy wasting for the purification of water for lakes and fountains in the city.

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The Sustainable Site

In 2005, a consortium of concerned groups composed benchmark standards for Sustainable Site development. This initiative was designed to provide developers, designers, owners, builders and government agencies criteria by which existing and new sites could be modified to sustainable standards.

Consortium participants included representatives from 11 private and public organizations. The steering committee was supervised of 30 experts from construction, development and architectural fields as well as government officials. The result was the creation of the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks and a Reference Guide for the landscape industry.

Between 2007 and 2009, these standards have been utilized for practical applications. Feedback from these applications has been delivered in expansion and refinements to the sustainable sustainable site guidelines.

Prominent organizations represented in the development of the original standards are the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden, the US Green Building Council, the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenScapes Program, the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers' Environment and Water Resources Institute.

The consortium's goal was to establish viable standards by which developers could reduce the impact of buildings on the environment through the implementation of sustainable landscape and site planning. The sustainable site benchmark system incorporated green site design concepts, green maintenance concepts and environmental research in establishing tangible values ​​for responsible development.

The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks are founded upon the principle that a sustainable site is the result of a merger between economic, environmental and social considerations. This merge serves to benefit all three components.

Since the 2005 initiative, local planning boards and government agencies have embroidered sustainable site and overall development concepts. While the Obama Administration has charged the Office of General Services with oversight capabilities, state and local Governments have begun implementing ways to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of green concepts in local communities.

The clustering of homes to prevent urban sprawl and reserve open spaces, the selection of commercial sites with easy public transport access and overall low-density land use for both residential and commercial projects have been included in local policy modalities. Many planning boards now offer incentives and rewards to developers who aggressively reserve open areas by including ever-green park areas in their site plans.

Brownfields are defined as abandoned or underutilized properties which redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The evolution of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act reflects the furtherance of the sustainable site initiative. The EPAS estimates there are minimally 500,000 Brownfields in the US

By carefully recycling our site locations, the country can begin to correct the wasteful practices of the past and move toward a sustainable future.

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The Five Elements of Green Design

Successful sustainable construction begins with a design that addresses each of the following five central elements of green building design.

  • Sustainable Site Design
  • Water Conservation and Quality
  • Energy and Environment
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Conservation of Materials and Resources

To assure the integrity of the design and the future sustainable exit, integration of green technology within each of those core design elements is critical. For example, the interrelationship between the site orientation, the water conservation program, the use of natural energy sources, the quality of natural sunlight inside the building all affect the building's need for materials and energy sources. In fact, the ideal design brings all the elements together over and over again.

Integrating the design elements requires recognition of several principles of sustainability and the application of these principles to the site analysis:

  • Reduce urban sprawl and destruction of land
  • Promote higher density urban development
  • Pursue brownfield development to save exiting green space
  • Minimize site disturbance and restore natural habitat

Below are hints for consideration with each element.

Sustainable Site Design

  • Only select a new site when necessary
  • When a new site is necessary, do not choose a site that is critical to the local eco-system
  • Orient the building to on the site to utilize natural resources like solar energy
  • Select a site that allows access to mass transit
  • Minimize the building's footprint by using existing surfaces, lightening roof color and using natural shading

Water Conservation and Quality

  • Realize that orientation of the proposed building that allows for natural drainage is often the least expensive way to improve the location
  • Be certain that the site assessment captures the natural hydrological attributes
  • Allow for the use of low-impact storm water retention
  • Set a water budget and implement features that help achieve the budget
  • Improve water conservation and quality by utilizing indigenous trees, plants and turf that do not require irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides

Energy and Environment

  • Maximize passive solar orientation
  • Reduce the need for artificial lighting by planning to use natural sunlight whenever possible
  • Use exterior insulation to maximize the performance of the exterior envelope
  • Use natural ventilation
  • Use Energy Star energy efficient appliances
  • Use new-age lighting products and settings
  • Research all the new energy technologies

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Protect the building's interior during the construction process
  • Make the building smoke-free
  • Maximize the used of daylight sunlight
  • Make sure that all interior finishes are environmentally friendly and safe
  • Design a healthy heating, cooling and ventilating system

Materials and Resources

  • Use engineer designed high stress materials which strength reduces the quantity of used materials
  • Use recycled materials whenever possible
  • Use materials that can be recycled when their functional life has elapsed
  • Support the local economy and reduce the transportation of materials by using local providers of local products

The five major elements, from sustainable sites to materials and resources are also considered in the US Green Building Council's LEED building certification. Whether considering that certification or just interested in green building, the above points to consider can make a huge difference in returns, cost and the environment.

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The Pro-Active Build Green Mentality

There are many reasons to build green. There remains only one outdated reason not to build green. Cost has always been the largest, most tangible objection to the shift towards sustainability.

Cost resistance is losing its credibility. Cost at the expense of the environment and accompanied by high energy costs no longer makes sense, or is that cents.

The Obama Administration has invested in the green movement. Government has shown unprecedented support for the value and future of sustainable construction. The Obama stimulus package has set in motion plans to create about 3.5 million green energy jobs over the next two years. The private sector has been slower than the public sector to respond to the merits of green construction.

Not all private sector's cost resistance is unfounded. In the formative years of the green movement, sustainable technology costs were prohibitive. These costs required a true commitment to the future and to the green movement. The return on investment was lacking. However, as sustainable technology has evolved and as demand for equipment has increased, the cost of the technology has declined substantively.

Reports from the National Association of Realtors indicate the costs related to sustainable, green construction have decreed appreciably. Recent estimates put new green construction costs at 1-1.5% above traditional construction costs. Meanwhile, energy savings range can yield a 15-35% savings.

In the 1970's, the green movement began to gain momentum. In those early years, the principles of sustainable construction tended to be localized and lacking in definition. What was green to one developer was a waste of time and money to another.

Over time, architects, real estate companies, property owners and construction companies compiled both tangible and theoretical research that have made sense of the principle of going green.

The green ideal preserves and restores habitat while ultimately producing and exporting resources, materials, energy and water instead of consuming these products. It is a lofty goal. As applied to green building, the principles strive to create a building which life of operation assures a healthy work and living environment while maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing the disruption of the land, water, energy and resources. Green site locations should be minimally invasive and as closely restored to their natural condition as possible upon completion of the project.

Experienced green developers and architects have discovered that the gerner the commitment, the greater the savings and the greater the property appreciation. Green is now in demand. Tenants want a healthy and responsible environment, and they are willing to pay for it.

To control construction costs, developers should make concept decisions early. Defining the environmental objectives allows for effective construction management but also avoids expensive changes as the construction proceeds. What developers learn is that each green component is supported by another green decision. Proper insulation and use of light and solar power reduce the cost of the heating and cooling system. Proper water retention can reduce operating costs and consumption. Developers should procure a thorough site analysis and work with their architects to maximize the green return.

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Toronto Condos Being Built More Energy Efficient

Toronto is going green. I'm sure you've noticed a large majority of Grocery stores in Toronto are now encouraging shoppers to bring their own recyclable grocery bags. As well, Torontonians took part in the earth hour which demonstrates that we are becoming more aware of our environment. Did you ever think about living your every day life more green? Well now you can as Toronto has jumped on green band wagon with over over 2,000 green condos units.

You're probably wondering what exactly makes a condo building green. Well for example TAS DesignBuild, also Green Builder of the Year, is currently building a Green condo called the M5V, located on King at Blue Jays Way in Toronto. They have included motion sensor light switches in the common areas of the condo, energy efficient appliances, dual flush toilets and a roof top rainwater retroval system with on-site water recycling just to name a few. Living Green can also mean better indoor air quality as developers use low-emission products when installing hardwood, painting etc. Living green means residents can enjoy energy savings of up to 25% which results in lower utility bills, less strain on our energy supply and by reducing green house emissions. All these elements contribute to increasing resale property values.

To encourage Toronto developers to build green condos, the Better Buildings Partnership- New Construction (BBP-NC) provides incentives and technical support. The goal of the BBP-NC is to encourage and assist condo developers to design and build condos in a more energy efficient manner and not to just meet the minimum standards as set out by the Ontario Building Code.

So next time you are in the market for a condo, why not be good to yourself and the environment and think Green.

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Park Model Mobile Home Living – Put it Anywhere You Want

A park model mobile home is usually mobile only once in its life … the trip from factory to slab. You usually envision the slab being at a park with several hundred other park models. That is OK for most folks, but how about putting the park model mobile home on some land you own.

But there are not any utilities, what will I do?

When we lived on our sailboat, we came to realize how little you needed to live and live well. The sailboat was in the Caribbean, so you did not need heat. We also had no need for AC. Can you have AC on a boat … sure.

If you paid for dock space you had access to “shore power” and could run AC. We anchored out, at no cost thank you, 90% of the time and let the sea breeze keep us cool … the only exception was the time we spent in Trinidad. We had to enjoy Carnival, so we hung at the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club docks.

When at anchor we found that our two 75 watt solar panels and wind generator supplied us with all the power we needed. You do not need that much power either.

We had an energy footprint of about 100 to 120 amp hours per day. That means we were using about 5 amps per hour. 4 amps of that was ours 12 volt refrigerator with a freezer of about 5 cu feet. Our ice box was huge; the drinks were always ice cold. We lived and ate like kings and queens. So can you, without using much power.

With a park model mobile home you can live off the grid and live well.

Dig a well, install a septic tank, arrange for propane and you are pretty well set. The propane can be used for a propane refrig / freezer, heating and cooking.

Solar panels, maybe a wind gen, some batteries, an inverter and you are set to watch TV, use the computer, and have lights.

Do not think you have geographical limitations on where to put your park model mobile home. If you really want to live in a certain spot, you will be surprised at how you can meet your energy / utility needs.

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Why Indoor Air Quality Control Can Be a Deal Maker Or Breaker For “Green” Home Buyers

What value do home buyers put on indoor air quality? I think I know the answer. But before I weigh in, let's pret you are searching for a home to buy. You find two houses in the same neighborhood and each looks good. Both are about the same price and both fit your family's needs. But one home has an invisible advantage that may save you thousands of dollars in health care costs.

The hypothetical home I'm talking about has excellent indoor air quality. I can guarantee and prove as much, because we serviced and certified the home. The other home is a different matter. Perhaps it has passed a state-mandated radon test, but beyond that there are no guarantees that the indoor air quality is acceptable and will remain that way.

Now here's the big question: how much more would you pay for the home that comes with a guarantee of excellent indoor air quality?

In many cases, the answer today is probably zero. Here lies the problem, because despite increased health care costs and more awareness of contaminants in our dwellings, as a society we have yet to find a way to promote this potential increase in the market value of a clean air home. Knowing the connection between proper lower level moisture control and air quality, we as waterproofing contractors need to bring this link to the public.

My college Richard Walter, the CEO and owner of A + Engineering Construction in Gardnerville, Nevada, knows what I know: indoor air quality does not sell – yet. He also can tell you that following state-mandated tests does not necessarily guarantee you a long healthy life.

“My concern is the government has taken anadequate approach. In Nevada I can call the University of Reno and ask for a radon test today. But that does not mean my house will be safe two years from now.”

Walter believes our nation suffers from an epidemic of poor quality of air in residences. That's because too often home buyers do not test for mold, a serious enemy of indoor air quality caused by moisture, or they do not see moisture remediation as an essential, ongoing task.

“Our company takes the approach that all homes are contaminated because we now add more insulation and close up our homes tighter and tighter as we become more energy efficient. greater than 50% relative humidity) in the foundation and crawl spaces to exist. ” We are also not effectively preventing pollutants, such as radon gas and other soil gases, from entering the house via the porous basement floor and / or unsealed crawlspace.

Basement waterproofing contractors and crawl space sealing and insulation installers can help to educate homeowners. In addition, housing contractors may be willing to use indoor air control techniques in basics and crawl spaces when building new homes – but only if they believe home buyers will pay the extra money for a safer environment. Even if the necessary steps are not taken during initial construction, basement waterproofers should promote that the damage to air quality can be addressed with after-construction methods.

I salute the Green Movement. It has turned an important corner. Public awareness and common sense have merged. Now Green innovators can finally enjoy a win-win market advantage. Meanwhile, I'm hopeful that one day indoor air quality will be a deal maker or breaker. But how will I know?

Picture this: I'm finally ready to retire, sell my house and move to Aspen. I put my family home on the market and ask for a firm $ 285,000. Then a knowledgeable young husband and wife pull me away and whisper, “We'll give you $ 300,000 if you can guarantee the indoor air quality.” When that happens, we'll know our message has been received.

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Green Real Estate – Did We Miss the Opportunity For Energy Efficient Homes in the Last Boom?

Did you know that during the last real estate bubble that nearly 20% of all the homes that exist today were built. There was probably no better time in American History and probably will not be for at least a decade or two, to take advantage of energy efficiency using high-tech building materials. Unfortunately, that residential real estate boom is over. But can we learn anything from our mistakes with regards to building more energy efficient homes?

The answer is yes, but first we need to understand what happened. You see, not all homes were built without energy efficient materials or designs, but most were, as they were catering to first time home buyers who could barely afford them. What is a shame is that these inexpensive homes that saved on materials will end up costing them 5-10 times the savings during construction in higher energy costs.

We had a great opportunity during the last housing boom to build more energy efficient homes and we failed, purely because it might raise the cost $ 500 for better doors that seal, $ 1200 for increased insulation costs, $ 1500 for super sealing windows and $ 3,000 for better windows . That is a smart thing to do and the ROI (return on investment) for the energy savings is less than 5-years easy.

Much faster than solar and such, but we failed as builders wanted to get new home buyers in who could barely afford to buy and even those little increments might cause them not to qualify. It's so short sided, but that is how things worked. Now the homes are already built so some things can not be done so cheap and easy, while others like door and window weather stripping etc. can.

President Obama has put forth some monies in the stimulus package to help retrofit millions of homes with better weather stripping, but it is too bad we did not consider all this ahead of time. Maybe next time we will be wiser? Think on this.

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Bellevue Builds it Green

Resting in the shadow of Seattle, Bellevue redefines what it means to be environmentally friendly. From establishing green policies and regulations surpassing that of most American cities to adopting a green approach towards community expansion, Bellevue is an ideal location for environmentally-sound development projects.

Bellevue is home to more than 145 Fortune 500 companies, with Microsoft and Expedia headquartered in the city. Many of the region's high powered executives live in the community and have invested in the civic, cultural, and political infrastructure to enhance Bellevue's quality of life.

Recently named by Fortune Small Business magazine as the “best place in the nation to live and launch a business”, there is a passion for the growth and a deep community dedication to environmental action and upkeep.

There are a number of both infill and brownfield development opportunities in Bellevue, many of which are in the downtown area. These parcels are generally comprised of former gas stations and retail space that has reached the end of its economic life. In addition, their location along and near Main Street, make them prime candidates for mixed-use retail-residential developments, in which the ground floor would consist of a commercial retailer and the top floors are occupied by residential housing.

While these are not high-end development plays that would likely attract retailers such as drug stores and grocers, they are ideal for the growing population of young professionals looking for just the right location in the center of Bellevue.

The City of Bellevue is also committed to “green” construction as evidenced by its outreach programs to local builders. The uniqueness of Bellevue is its ability to cater to smaller builders, working with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and its LEED design to design programs to encourage brownfield development . As a result, establishing green building standards is often looked upon as a prerequisite to breaking ground in Bellevue and the State and City have placed a high priority on empowering smaller, environmentally aware builders, to take on green projects in Bellevue.

While higher development costs and promotions to meet Bellevue's stringent environmental standards have created a barrier to entry for some developers, the advantages to building in the city are vast. The financial stability, community commitment and long-term viability of the city make the delivery of green sound projects in Bellevue an ideal opportunity in any market climate.

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