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Black Homeowners Guide To Going Green and Saving Greenbacks!

We'll have to wean Ourselves from wasting things, By thinking more efficiently we can save money effectively Yes, that's the key to thinking green. – Primm

What does it mean to go green? Without you live on the planet Mars you hear it everywhere. On the news, on college campuses, from government officials, even in car commercials. I even heard a rap song about going green.

The Going Green Movement has spawned a whole new language with words like Greenhouse Gases, Closed Loop Recycling and everyone's favorite Global Warming. Plus a host of other terms too many to mention here.

What does it all mean? The Going Green movement, popularized by former Vice President Al Gore, is performing actions that work to save the environment. For example, recycling, using low-energy appliances, preserving water and a host of other actions people can take.

Yes, Eco- friendly homes are the new trend today, whether you're a home builder or a home buyer. Because it not only works to help save the planet but it's a dependent way to save money. The US government is even paying people who own homes to go greener in the form of tax breaks and tax credits.

In this week's newsletter I'll give you simple but effective tips to helping your house go green. But most important show not only how to go green but how to save some green … as in money.

Here are 5 Tips To Help Your Home Go Green and Save Some Green.

1. Install Low Energy Light Bulbs.

A quick and easy way to start turning your home green and saving the green is by installing energy efficient light bulbs in your home.

Energy efficient light bulbs technical name is Compact Fluorescent lights or CFL's for short. These light bulbs use one-third the electrical energy of old fashion incandescent light bulbs. In addition, they can last up to 10 times longer. This is instant money savings. Can you say Ka-ching?

2. Trade Thirsty Plants and Landscaping for Drought or Low Maintenance Plants.

Low maintenance plants and landscaping will not only save your home energy cost; it can also save your energy.

Imaging having beautiful landscaping without the hassle of watering, weeding and pampering it on your precious days off. All it takes is a little thought and a little planning.

For example, use plants that are native to your area of ​​the country. Why? Because they're easier to grow and maintain – plus they'll use less water.

Pick landscaping that adapts with the climate and soil conditions in your area. The best way to do this is to consult with your local nurseries.

3. Use More Natural Products to Decorate Your Home Instead of Manufactured Products.

When decorating your home think water saving shower heads, toilets and faucets.

When decorating think natural woods like bamboo, teak and other woods that grow fast.

For example, think African Decor. Because many of the woods used come from trees that grow fast and plentiful.

4. Let Your Uncle Sam Pay You To Go Green.

You can receive Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credits. According to the US Department of Energy, consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in the home can receive a tax credit of up to $ 500 beginning in January 2006 .

The EPACT (The Energy Policy Act of 2005).

This federal law provides a credit equivalent to 30% of qualifying expenses. For purchase of qualified photo voltaic property and for solar water heating property used exclusively for purposes other than heating swimming pools and hot tubs.

The credit will not exceed $ 2000.

Improvements must be installed in or on the taxpayer's principal residence in the United States. Home improvement tax credits apply for improvements made between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007. -US Department of Energy

5. Decorate With More Plants Instead of Plastics.

EPA studies confirm indoor air pollution impacts more people than outdoor pollutions. Because of low air circulation indoors and the number of manufactured products such as plastics, glues and paint located inside homes, indoor air pollutants continue as a growing threat. Especially to the many African Americans who suffer from respiratory ailments such as asthma, sinus problems and other allergies.

Natural plants not only work to beautify your decor they also proved to fight indoor air pollutants. Certain plants help to clear pollutants such as dust, chemicals and allergens from the air. For more details on this subject Click Here! []

Yes, thinking green can save you green in and around your home. I encourage you to continue to educate yourself on how you can think green. It's easy once you start the habit of thinking green. You'll suddenly see how you're saving money, saving your time and saving the environment so our children can enjoy it too.

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Green Washing And Your Real Estate Carbon Footprint

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 oddwise typical (in this case) home for sale, in a current flat and bloated real estate market.

This ” green ” terminology could be words such as:

  • Solar
  • Stewardship
  • Eco-friendly
  • Environmental
  • 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 largest) change in the environment regarding the way we live, the homes we live in and the way we build them.

Listed Green

Things we take for granted every day, do have a direct impact on global warming. The toilet we flush, the indoor air we breathe, the utility bills we pay; all these everyday duties affect the environment and our health.

There are currently 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 gray 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 construction 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 efficiency improvements, to a level that they really deserve in the real estate marketplace today and in the years to come.

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It’s Not Easy Going Green – Or Is It?

If you are like me, you are constantly trying to reduce your carbon footprint and dependence on oil and other non-renewable energy sources. I drive a hybrid, am slowing converting all my incandescent light bulbs to CFL bulbs, recycle as much as possible and use water bottles instead of buying bottled water. Needless to say these are small steps and I often wonder if I could be doing more – much more.

As a realtor I tour homes every week in which the builder or homeowner has spared no expensive to upgrade the kitchen and baths, finish the basement, add decorative moldings, plant expensive landscaping, install automatic sprinkler systems, etc. But rarely do I see a home with an alternative, eco friendly heating and cooling system.

Here in Massachusetts about half of all homes are heated by oil. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association costs for heating a home by oil this winter are expected to increase by 47.3% from last winter. Projected increases for natural gas and electricity are less shocking, 9.2% and 8.6% respectively. Given these high costs you would think that more consumers would be going green and turning to alternative sources of energy, such as geothermal or solar, for home heating and cooling. Apart from the very progressive developer or builder, that is just not the case from what I see in my day to day adventures in real estate.

Many people are under the impression that 1) eco friendly systems for heating and cooling are too expensive install and / or 2) Not possible without the perfect climatic conditions. These systems can be more expensive, but as the technology improves the price will and has declined. There is also the additional offset of long term savings on heating and cooling costs. In regards to the second issue – geothermal and solar systems can be installed almost anywhere. Germany, not exactly the sunniest of locations, uses more solar energy than any other country in the world. Even in New England the ground is sufficiently warm enough to produce geothermal heat. Case in point – Monarch Lofts in Lawrence is installing a geothermal system to heat and cool 202 residential condo units.

Granted going green does often increase costs, at least in the short term, but should home heating costs continue to escalate, I am sure consumers will begin to demand homes with alternative heating sources and other eco conscious features. Recent surveys have shown that buyers are willing to pay extra for a new home with eco friendly features.

Of course in the interim there are options for those of us wanting to do our part for the environment, but unable to build a new home.

  • Remodeling? Incorporate some green or renewable materials such as bamboo flooring, low toxic finishes, low flow toilets and showers, countertops made from recycled glass, etc. For inspiration and materials check out Ecohaus .
  • Install programmable thermostats, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), and solar or on-demand water heaters.
  • Pay attention to the Energy Star ratings and buy energy efficient appliances.
  • Install energy efficient windows and insulation.

By doing what we can now and demanding alternatives in the near future, perhaps we can make a difference in preserving the planet for our children and grandchildren.

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Ed Norton Green Living

There are times in a celebrations life that the glitz and the glamor offer less and less comfort. It is during these times that the celebrities return to their roots and try to make life better for those that are less fortunate than themselves. Celebrity actor, Ed Norton, has done just that with a company his grandfather started.

As the trustee of Enterprise Foundation, the nations number one non-profit builder of low income housing, Ed Norton has found his roots in charity work. The key to this organization is offering reliable housing for the less fortunate. This housing, unlike the low income housing of the past, is built with renewable energy and the Earth in mind.

Unlike the home and car choices of celebrities like Ed Norton, American's who are forced into low income housing do not have a choice of green and eco-friendly housing plans. There has never before been a government subsidized home building project that even took living life cheaper and more Earth friendly into consideration. While celebrities like Ed Norton have the option to drive renewable energy cars and build homes with solar panels and other sources of renewable energy, low income families do not have these home choices.

The result of building low income income housing with renewable energy in mind, is home maintenance and utility costs that are three times lower than other low income housing choices. Ed Norton has solar panels for his home and he believes that low income families should have that same choice.

For celebrities like Ed Norton, the idea of ​​charity often returns to giving money to some organization and then dropping off the map. But, with a trust position on a ground breaking company like Enterprise Foundation, Ed Norton is upping the stakes and saving lower income families some money in the process.

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Eco Friendly Mountain Homes and Land Near Asheville – Green Real Estate in Western North Carolina

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 reserve the planet for future generations, it is essential that natural green building is embroidered 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 recyclable 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 US, Green Building Council, , 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), . 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 homes 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:

-Sustainable Development

-Alternative Energy

-Energy Efficiency

-Green Building Materials

-Forest Preservation

-Renable Resources

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.

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Build and Renovate Environmentally

If you are about to buy or build a house make sure it is environmentally sound. It will make a difference to you. You will be much more comfortable in a house that is working to help the environment rather than being against it. It can be cooler in summer and warmer in winter without any additional use of electricity.

If time allows go to look at the house you are about to spend hard earned money at at the worst possible time. Go on a hot and windy day or when it is freezing cold. Go in the rain when the sky is dark or in the late afternoon. Do not let yourself be seduced by a spring day or lovely autumn weather that will make the house seem perfect. It may not be on the wrong day. See past the flowers and the smell of coffee if the house is being tarted up to receive you by an estate agent. Check which way way is facing, where the windows are and smell the drains.

If you are renovating an existing house you probably already know its faults. Renovating the right way may fix some of them. If you are planning to build a house you can make a perfect plan on the drawing board and stick to it. Creating an environmentally friendly house is getting easier. Councils are being forced to look at buildings in a different way.

Begin by making a list of all the things you would like to have in your home such as how many rooms. Bedrooms, living spaces, at-home offices, kitchens, bathrooms, verandahs and patios. There could be more than one kitchen if you include an outside kitchen / barbecue. Then add all the subsidiary things you want such as picture windows, heated floors, pantries, built in wardrobes and book cases etc. When you are sure that you have included everything you want then show it to a builder who understands and has already built eco-housing.

You can get a list of such people from the Housing Industry Association. A suitable builder will talk you through your ideas and tell you if they are possible before anyone sets down to make a plan.
You may be suggesting a very expensive house but good design is not expensive if simple construction is understood and carried out. Any extra expenditure on design features and appliances will be promptly repaid by the saving in energy bills and maintenance. Australian families spend 40% of energy costs on heating and cooling their homes. If all this is part of the house it just contributions comfort without fuss as a background accessory to the life of the house.
To some people a house is only four walls and a roof. It uses x amount of energy and emits x amount of waste over its lifetime.

But a house can be looked at as a living organism. Water can be accessed from the sky to a tank big enough to service the whole house. Proper insulation of ceilings, walls and floors will help produce an even temperature throughout the year. Strategic vents can extract heat by wind power. Australia has enough sunshine to provide solar power to the house with sufficient left over to feed back into the system ina sort of banking system. Waste water can be recycled for the gardens. Cross ventilation was once considered imperitive for Australian homes but now many large homes are being built on American and English patterns that have no cross ventilation. Bring it back so that in summer your house catches every breeze that blows. Site your house to face north with wide eaves or covered verandahs that will let the sunshine in when the sun is low in winter and exclude it in the summer.

It is completely possible to live in eco housing that will give you year round comfort and the cheapest energy bills in your street and suburb. Make your garden part of the scheme. Plant wind breaks where necessary. Grow your own vegetables and plant deciduous trees for shade in summer and sunshine through the bare boughs of winter. Fruit trees for instance. It is all simple and possible.

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Three Practical Solutions To Stop Florida’s Green Sustainable Housing From Free Falling

There are three, interdependent challenges to Florida housing providers: a) Safety; b) Affordability; and c) Energy efficiency.

If we can not find a way to address all three challenges at the same time, we're likely to complicate solutions for two of them while we focus only on the third. For instance: We can make houses super-safe and super-energy-efficient while driving costs beyond the abilities of most people to pay.

We can make houses cheap enough for most people to own by taking short cuts on safety and energy efficiency. But making homes that are safe and energy efficient and also within the reach of most citizens requires addressing the ways these challenges are connected.

Green building requires green community planning. As important as our innovative approach is, we can not address the larger carbon footprint / climate change issues through housing technology alone – no more than we can address the problem through automobile technology alone.

Going Off The Grid

Creating off-the-grid, energy-efficient housing in “greenfield” suburbs and rural enclaves will still require each adult in the family to commute to separate daily needs in separate automobiles, canceling out many of the energy gains. Over the last 30 years, the number of miles

Americans drive has grown three times faster than the population and almost twice as fast vehicle registrations. Spread-out development-sprawl is the main reason for that.

Research suggests that people who move into compact, walk-capable neighborhoods are making as big a contribution to fighting global warming as those who buy hybrid vehicles but remain tied to car-dependent lifestyles. We need to make living in more dynamic configurations appealing.

Practical Can not Be Ugly

To succeed, green community planning needs housing alternatives that are not only practical-safe and energy efficient-but also beautiful. Neighbors have to be willing to welcome these new additions to their communities. Even if they can not explain why, neighbors must immediately associate these new house designs with expected regional vernacular, and they must immediately sense quality in the choice of materials and construction approaches.

Affordable Can not Be Cheap

The trouble is, quality design and construction costs more than inferior design and construction. Factory-built housing approaches can help deliver higher quality at manageable price points. But up until now, the manufactured home industry has focused on using systems building technology to reduce prices and not to raise design and construction quality. The result is factory-built housing's image as the last resort for home ownership.

Many communities, including those in hurricane zones along the Gulf Coast, have zoned manufactured homes out of existing neighborhoods for fear of lower surrounding property values.

In conclusion, our new mission is to re-invent a whole category of manufactured housing that delivers optimum safety, energy efficiency, and curb appealing – while making the most of cost-saving advantages inherent in factory building.

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The Rise In Green Building Trends Today

The green building trend that has taken hold across the US in the past few years, and is surprisingly evolving toward a whole new level. Whereas before when there were only a few green real estate developments, today this trend in sustainable development has expanded to whole communities and neighborhoods as well.

The west coast city of Portland has been well known as an urban-design innovator, particularly for its transit-oriented developments, and is noted to be among the pioneers of green building and design.

Single-Family Home Builders Are Now Joining The Trend

The basic tenets behind green building- energy and water-efficient buildings that have features that stress the natural over the chemical, the recycled over the new and the renewable over the finite- have now become firmly mainstream.

According to environmental and real estate consultants, big developers today are slow to move, but they still see a using eco-friendly designs and materials green building. Even in the suburbs, which are home to large-scale builders of single-family homes, there is a lot more consumer interest swelling. In a McGraw-Hill Construction survey done in March of 2006, it predicted that green building would reach a “tipping point” in 2007 and that two-thirds of US builders would be constructing greener homes.

Why Home Builders See The Need To Go Green

Home builders and real estate developers and are not simply riding the green building trend purely out of a sense that it's the right thing to do. The housing and development industry knows that they can not afford to be left behind. By 2007, it is expected that at least 6% of the nation's non-residential construction, which represents a $ 15 billion slice of the industry, will be green, according to green-building experts, as six years ago it was less than 1% . More real estate developers are finding that using green technologies and construction materials adds no more than 1% -2% to total costs, which area easily recovered through energy savings.

Offering Incentives For Developers To Go Green

At present, the federal government, 15 states and 46 cities now require new public buildings to fully comply with the US Green Building Council's LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), that requires the use of non-toxic building materials, among others things.

Four states and 17 cities now offer incentives for LEED-rated private buildings. The Green Building Council has certified nearly 550 buildings across the country since 2002, and recent real estate developments have adopted eco-friendly standards by creating greener multi-structure projects, such as South Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. The Green Building Council is also working on creating LEED standards for single-family homes as well.

The corporate world was the first to see the value of going green that is way beyond energy savings. Businesses and companies now notice less absenteeism among workers, less time lost to asthma, allergies and other illnesses aggravated by mold, stale air and chemicals found in many conventional buildings.

However, to large corporations like Ford, Bank of America, Target, Toyota, Honda, Starbucks, Adobe and others, going green was also about image-building as well as cleaning the environment and cutting costs. Many corporate people know are aware that aside from image-building, the products they make should also be green, along with their manufacturing processes and factories as well. – Real Estate PR

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Steel Buildings Go Green

Steel Buildings – Green Applications

Gone are the outdated corrugated metal buildings of the past. The new generation of pre engineered steel buildings are finding use in an ever growing variety of Green building projects. Steel buildings are leading the way in the Green building revolution, meeting Green building design goals with innovative building design, engineering and use of materials.

Building Green

Green building design, also known as “sustainable building” is coming of age as we recognize that global resources are limited and that climate change is inevitable – unless we take positive action now.

Green building recognizes the environmental impact of buildings, their construction, life-cycle and ultimate demolition, and works to lessen this impact through

* Energy efficiency

* Environmentally sound building materials

* Innovative building design

* Healthy indoor environment

Environmentally Friendly Pre-engineered Steel Buildings

Pre-engineered steel buildings also known as prefabricated buildings or prefab metal buildings are an innovative building solution featuring solid steel I-beam building construction.

* Pre-engineered buildings are designed and engineered by trained and certified structural metal building engineers to meet all local building codes for snow and wind load and seismic conditions.

* Building components are engineered and fabricated to precise specifications using the highest grade commercial steel available.

* Modern steel manufacturers employ energy efficient methods in steel production that help to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* When a steel building is demolished to make way for new construction the metal building materials do not end up in a landfill like asphalt shingle, concrete, brick and wood. The steel is recycled instead.

* Steel can be recycled over and over again without loss of the quality of the steel.

* More steel is recycled than all other recyclable materials combined.

Cool Coatings Get Cool Energy Credit

“Cool” coatings are special siliconized polyester paints with superior reflective qualities. “Cool” coatings applied to metal buildings act as a thermal barrier to keep the insides of metal buildings cool in summer. This means that buildings covered with “cool” coatings use less energy, making steel buildings more energy efficient. The use of “cool” coatings saves money and the environment through reduced energy costs over the life of the building and can even qualify for Federal tax credits.

Urban Heat Islands: Cool Roofs Bring Relief

Savvy builders are taking advantage of the fact that metal building roofs reflect light and heat keeping buildings cooler in hot weather. Plus, metal building roofs do not store heat and radiate it back at night like other types of roofs. This saves energy in cooling costs and helps save the environment by lessening the urban “heat island” effect. An “urban heat island” occurs when urban concrete and asphalt construction absorbs heat during the day then radiates it back at night so that temperatures do not fall at night as they normally would, and is a powerful contributor to climate change and global warming.

In places like California, Texas and Florida, commercial building construction is taking advantage of the “cool” properties of metal roofs for commercial buildings such as warehouses, industrial manufacturing plants, aircraft hangars, storage buildings, retail outlet stores, auto dealerships, strip malls and more.

Metal building roofs also work to save energy and the environment in cooler climates. A painted metal roof not only reflects heat in summer, but also keeps heat inside the building on cool days, saving on heating costs and keeping the indoor environment healthy and comfortable in both summer and winter. New metal building roofs qualify for Federal tax credits.

Steel Buildings: Cost Effective, Energy Efficient and Green

* Do not require cutting down valuable forests.

* Are manufactured with a high proportion of recycled content.

* Employ sustainable building design and construction and erect in less time than conventional building construction.

* Fire and rust resistant and steel buildings are essentially maintenance free.

* By their very nature steel buildings are durable, cost-effective, energy efficient and green.

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Consumer Attitudes About Green Building

Consumer interest in green building exploded in 2007, and it's still growing. Thanks to extensive media coverage, an increasing number of consumers are becoming familiar with sustainability and green building. Newspapers warn about climate change and soaring gas prices. Retail giants like Wal-Mart have adopted sustainable practices and opened green stores. Hollywood has jumped on the green bandwagon, incorporating green practices in its 2008 Oscars. Home and garden television shows offer a steady stream
of shows promoting green living.

As the media pushes green building into the mainstream, consumers are becoming more attuned to the benefits of green homes. Homebuilders have an opportunity to meet consumer demand by adopting practices that improve the energy efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality of homes. It's important to know the variety of consumer attitudes about green building in order to respond to the changing market.

Consumer uncertainty: Is green building more hype than reality?

Some consumers are skeptics and wonder about the hype surrounding green building. They may acknowledge that green is an effective marketing strategy, but they question companies' motives for advertising a product or home as green. Many of these consumers are cautious of greenwashing, a tactic that companies use to mislead consumers into thinking their products or practices are green when they're actually not. Homebuilders must be able to prove to these consumers that they're homes are legitimately green.

Consumer profile: Who buys green homes?

People who buy green homes can not easily be lumped into one category. They buy for different reasons. A family may find a green home appealing because they want their kids to grow up in a healthy home without allergens and toxins. Empty-nesters may be attracted to the cheaper utility bills.

For a growing number of consumers, green building is not a hard sell. These consumers have done their research; they're concerned about reducing their ecological footprint or impact on the environment. They understand that energy-efficient homes can alleviate global warming and soaring gas prices even more than hybrid cars can. In some cases, they're more knowledgeable than the homebuilder and can shop around for green features. Many others recognize the benefits of a green home, but their understanding is
more basic.

Consumer values: What are the benefits of green building?

The key to selling green homes is to understand the values ​​that consumers hold and what motivates them to buy green products. In other words, the best way to market green building is to educate homebuyers on its benefits. Realize that sustainability and environmental benefits will not resonate with everyone. However, if you frame the benefits of green homes in terms of indoor air quality, comfort, and economy, you're more likely to convince buyers that green homes have a direct impact on their health, happiness, and quality of life. Avoid using the volcanic of the builder- “energy recovery ventilators” means little to most buyers, but lower utility bills and fresher indoor air make a whole lot of sense. The more relevant you make green building to consumers, the more they'll recognize its value.

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Getting Green With Bamboo

What is all this fuss about being green? If your social conscience is pricking and you want to feel virtuously green, have you thought of utilizing bamboo? You can build a shed with it, eat it, sleep in it, walk it on, wear it, or grow it as a tree or bush to make more oxygen for the planet! Now that is being green!

Bamboo is so fast growing it could be the most 'sustainable' and natural commodity on the planet! On the question of it being replaceable, well some bamboos can grow as much as one meter in one day which is 1.5-2.0 inches per hour (under special accelerated conditions).

Even under natural growth conditions, a large full-sized bamboo tree could grow in six years, as opposed to sixty years for an average North American tree. This is a very high yield; in fact bamboo has been labeled the fastest growing renewable resource on the planet.

With all this growth, bamboo can be exploited without guilt, but in the West we have not, so far, found many uses for bamboo. All this is changing with the sunset of the green outlook; in Asia, bamboo has been used for almost everything.

For centuries, Asians have used bamboo to make houses, to form single span bridges and to build scaffolding for high rise buildings; they have been making hard wood-effect floors with it, making towels and sheets with it, eating from it and even eating it (bamboo shoots). How versatile is that?

Strangely, to date, we do not seem to revere it so much over in the West. It has traditionally been used in North America for outdoor furniture, outdoor fencing, musical instruments and baskets. Recently we have seen fabric made from bamboo and with the call for sustainable living getting louder, bamboo is proving to be a 'must-have' commodity in North America.

If you are having a new home built and want to subscribe to the sustainable living ideas, there are many bamboo products that you can order from your builder. For instance, bamboo flooring, furniture, drapes, mats and food containers are all available in USA.

Bamboo flooring appears just as if it is a hardwood floor. Like wood, it can be used in the bathroom as it is suitable for radiant heat floors. According to the National Hardwood Flooring Association bamboo flooring is 10% harder than red oak hardwood flooring. It usually has a tongued and grooved finish which produces a smooth sheen to the floor.

Another use of bamboo that is gaining more popularity is as its use for fabrics for drapes and clothes. It is a breathable fabric and is very soft. For clothes, bamboo can take up to four times more moisture absorption than cotton, although this is not useful for drapes. Sheers in bamboo can be bought, they are available in several shades and have a soft look and feel that is unique to bamboo.

Bamboo can be bought and raised successfully in North America, even in most climates of the west coast, including the damp ones, (hello Seattle!)

You can mail order or email order from photos illustrated on the web site of a bamboo nursery in Chilliwack BC This company offers delivery and they quote actual temperatures that their plants can withstand. Some of the temperatures that Japanese bamboo can live through are well down in the sub-zeros.

Bamboos start from tiny house plants to bushhes in one gallon tubs and on up to seven gallon tubs. Bamboos would be a great tree to choose for a new home, or for a newly landscaped garden, as they can grow to full size within 6 years, unlike most of the trees of the North West which take ten times longer.

Some trees can be bought which sport the massive bamboo stems that we associate with the look of bamboo, and some just bush out voluminously almost hiding all their branches. You can choose from brown, green or golden stems and leaves come in green or variegated colors including yellow, orange, green and white or thinly striped.

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Green Building – The Challenges Towards Widespread Acceptance By Home Builders

Energy savings, higher productivity and less waste. These are but a few of the many attributes towards implementing green building concepts and practices. These days, because of programs like the US Green Building Council's landmark LEED rating system for buildings, the ideas and concepts of green building have now entered the mainstream.

Currently, sustainable development analyzes have noted that there are around 500 million square feet of green buildings under design, development, and implementation, and there has been a lot of success in LEED applications in different industries and sectors.

The Challenges Toward Widespread Acceptance of Green Building Ideas

Despite the rising acceptance in the concepts of sustainable building, there still remains a large challenge towards widespread acceptance and long-term practice, and constantly the growing awareness in sustainable practices, green products, and high-performance technologies in building design and construction, many worry that there continues to be a lack of accurate, thorough, and quantifiable information regarding the financial and economic impacts of high-performance buildings within the construction and home building industry. In addition, there are also hurdles when it comes to the perception of cost, which has become a stumbling block in the quicker acceptance of green building concepts.

According to some sustainable development purveyors, there's a consistent disconnect between capital costs and operating costs, as for instance, a building owner knows there is a return on investment of 40 percent going into a green building, as the investments are taken from capital; however, the year-to-year, the operating budget is not linked, and that poses a real stumbling block. For the past years, many entities have discussed and analyzed what it actually costs to build green and the ultimate value that results from structuring an environmentally responsible, high-performing facility in opportunities of convicting the facilities industry to rethink construction budgeting and financing.

The Attributes Of Green Building Designs

Home builders and developers who have embroidered the concepts of eco-friendly building, say that the four attributes of green building design, which are increased ventilation control, enhanced temperature control, enhanced lighting control, and increased daylighting, have been clearly and significantly correlated with increased levels in productivity.

Many note that indoor air quality also has been linked to potential productivity and health gains in workplaces and educational facilities, which helps to explain that the greatest benefits of green building come in the form of benefits to the occupants. The other financial benefits of green buildings are more than 10 times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building. Construction industry insiders say that for energy savings alone, these exceeded the average increased cost associated with going green, and the benefits and savings mark the true value of sustainable construction.

In these times where cost-efficiency, productivity and concern for the environment need to go hand in hand, home builders and property developers have a choice between a building designed to be healthy and efficient or one that is not. According to experts, with a 50-year life-cycle investment, green buildings are increasing at a rate of around 40 to 50 percent each year, and as global energy costs also soar up, the risks of simply doing conventional design are increasing, as well as the risk of going obsoleste has fast become a large phenomenon too. – Real Estate Press

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The Basics of Buying a Green Home

Is there a Green Mortgage?

Yes! Unfortunately, only 3 lenders currently offer this new kind of loan, with less than 25% of mortgage brokers aware that green mortgages even exist. The borrower will not have to pay for this new incentive, as the lenders are starting to offer more competitive rates. Title companies are starting to offer a donation on settlement statements to environmentally friendly organizations. Green mortgages are becoming a new trend as our world becomes more aware of its changing environment.

Finding a Green Home

Where can you find a brand new Green Home? Simply take a look around Western North Carolina. It has everything from green built real estate developments to energy efficient condos in downtown Asheville. There are also eco-friendly real estate developments outside of Asheville in small towns like Black Mountain, Marshall and Leicester, NC.

Or, if trying to stay locally in your area, ask your real estate agent for information on green builders.

Green houses incorporated intelligent design, the latest green technology, construction and maintenance elements to help drastically reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve the living conditions on the inside of the home. Less allergies, asthma and mold problems. The options are limitless!

Reaping the Rewards

Owning a Green Home can certainly be rewarding in the long run.

Check out Energy Star for more information about keeping your home green. Their many tips point out which energy is being wasted and where and how to avoid it. The on line site offers great advice on how to live green and how to continue to build green.

Also, the government offers great incentives and rebates for green homeowners. Did we mention Tax Breaks? Even utility companies now offer Wind Power to make an even smaller environmental footprint.

We can all make a difference one home at a time.

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Easy Green Building Practices

The pressure is on to adopt green building practices. However, green building might seem overwhelming if you associate it with unfamiliar building methods, new technology, and higher costs. You might wonder where to start.

Breathe a sigh of relief, because green building does not require dramatic changes immediately. What it does require is a commitment to better building and greater attention to installation. With a few easy strategies, you can begin building greener homes that are more energy-efficient, durable, and healthier for homeowners. For instance, consider upgrading your insulation and air sealing, installing a vapor barrier under the slab, and installing fluorescent light fixtures. These steps will help you improve the energy efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality of your homes. As a starting point, begin implementing the easy green building practices below.

Insulation: A simple way to boost energy efficiency

The green benefits: Insulation reduces heat loss from a home, contributing to a more comfortable indoor environment. Insulation that's installed correctly can have a significant impact on the home's energy efficiency.

Installation: The more insulation, the better. Insulation should be installed at the correct depth and density to be effective at resisting heat flow. Batts should not be compressed or installed with gaps; instead, they should be flush with the framing. Similarly, blown-in insulation should be installed with consistent coverage and depth and fit completely around wires and electrical boxes.

Vapor barrier under the slab: Durability and IAQ benefits abound

The green benefits: A vapor barrier under the slab mitigates moisture related problems, such as mold growth under carpets, grout staining, and wood flooring de-lamination. These problems impair the home's durability and indoor air quality.

Installation: Use a 10-mil polyethylene vapor barrier to fully cover the foundation footprint. For basements, extend the vapor barrier 2 “to 4” up the foundation wall, and fix it to the wall with construction tape or adhesive. Overlap the seams 12 “, and seal them with construction tape. For slab-on-grade foundations, lay down the vapor barrier on top of the gravel, and extend it into the footer, continuing the vapor barrier 12” up the formwork.

Fluorescent light fixtures: An easy way to cut energy usage

The green benefits: Fluorescent lighting is the most practical energy-efficient lighting option available to residential builders. Fluorescent lights reduce the home's overall energy usage; in turn, the environment benefits from fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Installation: Install Energy Star high efficiency light fixtures and hardwired fixtures that are designed for use with fluorescent lamps in locations where lights remain on for extended periods of time: kitchens, living areas, and outdoors. Incorporate efficient task lighting into kitchens and bathrooms.

Air sealing: A strong step to energy efficiency

The green benefits: Air sealing is another critical component of an energy efficient home. It ensures the effectiveness of insulation; therefore, ensuring healthy indoor air. Without air sealing, cold air, moisture, and pollutants can leak into a home through cracks and penetrations.

Installation: Seal all gaps with low-expanding foam, foam strips, weatherstripping, weatherproof tape, and caulks. Make sure that no leaks remain at each step of the construction process. Conduct a blower door test to determine leakage paths.

OVE framing techniques: Green building at the frame

The green benefits: Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) framing techniques reduce the amount of wood needed to build a home. Framing members are placed only where they're absolutely needed, reducing the amount of wood waste. OVE framed walls also provide more room for insulation.

Installation: OVE typically involves framing 24 “on center (oc) as opposed to 16” oc, and using 2×6 studies as opposed to 2×4 studs. If you're not ready to adopt these changes, start integrating open corners and ladder panels into homes. Orienting the studies at a corner horizontally can allow you to install more insulation there. When framing a partition wall, rotate the stud to create a ladder panel, which helps accommodate more insulation.

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Green Houses Gaining Momentum!

It is getting more and more popular to go green, and many Americans are leading the way in their housing choices. One area recently reported that their realty market was stagnant except for a big rush on newly built homes that came up for sale. They were powered by solar heating and were extremely energy conscious to run.

Solar heating is one smart choice in a sunny area. You will always have hot water to hand and solar power can be converted into other energy and stored for when you want to run different appliances.

It may be that many of these buyers are trying to help the environment, but one good side effect of going green, is that the running costs will be less once you have set yourself up to be operating an energy conscious home. Heating and cooling systems can account for up to a half of your total energy bill in a non-green home.

One place to read about how to save energy in your home is Energy Star, the government's on line site. Their many tips point out which energy is being wasted and where and how to avoid it. The on line site offers advice and free booklets to send for, and gives dozens of points on how to live green and how to build green.

One of the sites on Energy Star give you the top ten tips for finding a good contractor in your area, if you want to build a 'green' house or have a radical make-over.

Of course, there are other small ways that you can save energy and money in your pocket. One of their recommendations is that you stop buying the old-fashioned light bulbs and start buying the new compact fluorescent light bulbs.

These are expensive to buy at first, but on the cost of one light bulb, you can save up to $ 30 over the lifetime of one light bulb. If you live in a hot climate, you may be pleased to know that they put out less heat, so will also keep your air conditioning costs down. This is a very small change for you to make, yet it does save your cash and the environment.

The local governments and / or the federal government offer a selection of rebates to try and encourage people to become more energy conscious in their homes.

These grants, or one time rebates, can cover several different areas of green living. For instance, if your own state does not offer incentives for you to buy an efficient wood stove or furnace, you may be able to get one from the federal government.

The amount of the grant does not cover the cost of buying a new stove, however, it can save several hundred dollars from the price.

If you are planning to buy a home and have it built for you, remember that many builders will add your requirements at the end, so there is it often often easy to ask for preferred green options in a newly built house.

There is also a scheme that is run through the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). Under this scheme you can use green building materials and designs and qualify for a green mortgage. You can even get mortgage help from these people if you are only planning to renewate, as long as you will be using green techniques and ideas.

If you want to find out more ideas about how to incorporate environmental considerations into the design, you will get some input from the green site at the National Association of Home Builders (NAH). Their site also includes such simple pointers as planting trees that let light into the home in the winter, and give shade in the hot summers, as well as tips on water conservation, and other reminders.

Some of the luxuries in a home which are not so 'sustainable' are being changed – gradually. For instance granite counter -tops are still fashionable, but buyers will often choose the look as it is made from engineered stone. These are lighter and have not used up large amounts of gas being carted around the country.

Similar 'swaps' are made with hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets. Bamboo is widely used nowdays in homes by people who prefer to use sustainable resources. Bamboo wood flooring looks like hard oak wood floors but it grows in one tenth the time of an oak tree!

Another popular flooring is cork, which feels warmer and softer than ceramic tiles and is also a sustainable source. A bathroom with cork walls and cork flooring always feels warmer due to the quiet 'insulating' properties of cork.

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