Browsing: Real Estate

Green Building – Getting The Services Of A Green Architect and Contractor

For those who are planning to build a new house or do some major home remodeling, why not do such tasks the eco-friendly way ?. The concepts of green building have taken a major foothold in the home building and construction industry.

Based on US Census figures, it was estimated that more than 1.3 million new homes were built in the United States in 2002, and remodeling and home improvement spending in 1996 adjusted to $ 119 billion. Remodeling or constructing your home gives you a chance to help transform the marketplace towards a sustainability and environment-friendly one, and create living space that's better for you and the environment.

Homes Have A Major Effect On The Environment

It's a fact that homes affect the planet, from the use and depletion of natural resource, human health, to overall ecological integrity. Aside from basic health and safety measures mentioned in the building code, there's no requirement to minimize these impacts. A new home construction or remodel would serve an opportunity in creating a symbolic and physical representation of your commitment to caring for the planet, health, and in a vital and engaged community.

Why It Pays To Find Architects Or Contractors Who Espouse Green Building Concepts

One you try looking for eco-friendly home building concepts and practices, you'll be surprised to quickly find one once you tap into the local design community, that there are a number of firms that have gained stellar reputations for going green.

Upon closure observation, you'll notice that within the general category of green, each firm or architect will have its strong points, as some focus on healthy building, while other concentrate on energy efficiency and / or renewable energy, and some apply their expertise on green materials, natural building techniques, or building modular homes. Look for a professional contractor that has extensive applied experience in building green, and will gladly apply these elements to your home project.

Choosing Green Architects And Home Contractors

– Check Out Their Previous Record For Demonstrated Experience.

First, do a thorough background check on an architect or contractor's experience with green building. Find out if he or she can point to specific projects in their portfolio, and provide references as well. Aside from ensuring that the architect or contractor is licensed and bonded, ask if he or she is a member of green design organizations or has participated in any programs, and if the contractor follows construction practices that minimize pollution and protects indoor air quality and enhancement worker health and safety as well.

– Ensure That A Contractor Practices What He Or She Professes.

Aska prospective home contractor or architect how he or she operates their business; like does he recycle in the office as well as on the job site? Find out if the green design elements evident, such as environmentally responsible materials and office supplies, energy efficient lighting, fixtures.

– Check If Green Concepts Are Incorporated Into the Contract Details

Architects have standard specifications that lays out the orders for everyone involved in building the house, down to how the paint is applied and what quality of materials are chosen for the cabinets. These specifications are generally customized by each company, and further modified for each project. These specs are a powerful tool in green building, while at the same time, are a legal document, and can be tedious to review sometimes. Ask an architect or contractor to give you an overview of the specifications for your project, and ensure that they cover all these. – Real Estate PR

{ Comments are closed }

Which Little Piggy Are You?

Everyone knows the story of the 3 little pigs, they left home to seek their fortune.

The first one built a house built of straw, the second built a house built of sticks and the third and cleverest little pig made a house built of bricks.

Which little pig are you? Growing up I was of course the cleverest who built their house with bricks when playing with my siblings.

Is this the cleverest building method? In Spain we LOVE concrete, practically all construction is concrete.

But did you know that there are HUGE advantages to building with Straw, wood and even sand ??

Straw bail houses are exactly that, straw bails piled on top of each other to create the basis of the walls for a house – they have natural insulation, very economic and of course lower labor costs.

I recently saw a program of the construction of a straw house; it was fascinating and constructed so quickly.

A memorable and fun way to build a house!

We always recommend the use of an expert for guidance through planning, regulations, building and the signaling off.

I do not know anyone with a straw home but I have visited a home built out of thousands of bags of sand, all hand filled by the owners that lovingly built it.

Their house is stunning; it looks like a custom designed property that could have built the conventional method but with a huge cost difference.

If you know of any alternative build methods or indeed have an alternative build property, we would love to hear from you.

{ Comments are closed }

Can Rainwater Collection Really Make A Difference?

Watering the garden allows for 20-40 per cent of a homes water usage, and most areas observes some sort of water restriction when temperatures soar. But, there's more to cutting back on water in the garden than reducing your usage. By using Rain collection systems we can save water and ensure we do not get fleeced by our local water provider, for providing their lovely over chlorinated flow that we have to shell out through the teeth for because of water shortages that are more than probably because of their incompetent maintenance of piping and mismanagement of water supply.

Water vessels are a fantastic way of collecting small quantities of rain for use in household gardens. However, to totally harvest the benefits of the large quantities of rain that runs off your roof during a storm, a expertly designed rainwater collection system needs to be considered. Rainwater collection systems in the UK are primarily used for WC flushing and for watering the garden. Neverheless more complete rainwater collection systems can be used to provide water for domestic appliances. By capturing water it allows for stretches of water scarcity, it lets you maintain vegetables and plants in your garden. You even have the best catcher of rain water, just go outside and look at your roof it's a huge area enabling you to capture the drops that hit it into a large storage unit rainwater has a far greater advantage over tap water. It is one of the cleanest sources of water provided providing it not affected by where it falls from local industrial emission.

You can also use basic techniques like mulching grass cuttings, leaves, bark or straw etc to form up a covering that will keep the moisture in the soil and in itself (another good motive for using organic material as a compost in your soil as it increases its water retention.Mulch is like a coating on the soil .It keeps the soil cool and it reduces evaporation because the soil is not open to dry air and drying winds.

{ Comments are closed }

Green Products Earn A Gold Star

Green building requires a multi-faceted approach. If builders focus primarily on installing green products, including finishes, appliances, and building components, they may miss the point. While green products are important to building a green home, they should not be the only consideration. The benefits of green building – energy efficiency, water efficiency, durability, healthy indoor air -are achieved through effective design, construction, and installation, in addition to materials.

In keeping with the many facets of green building, several attributes can be attributed to green products. In general, green products have less impact on the environment and on the health of people exposed to them. More specifically, they may derive recycled or salvaged materials, renewable resources, or responsibly managed forests. They may be manufactured through processes that produce less pollution. Once installed, they may reduce water and energy usage and emit fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can affect occupant health.

One question on the minds of some builders is whether environmental and health attributes come at the expense of performance. Can low-flow showerheads provide as strong a spray as conventional showerheads? Can no VOC paint resist wear and tear? Improved technologies have enabled manufacturers to produce green products that not only meet performance expectations, but exceeded them. The list of products below have been recognized in the building industry for performance attributes and for contributing to improved energy efficiency, water efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality.

Hallowell International Acadia Combined Heating and Cooling System

Hallowell International's Acadia heating and cooling system won ASHRAE's Innovation Award for Heating. The Acadia is a “boosted” air-source heat pump that extracts heat from outdoor air and distributes it through ductwork, much like conventional heat pumps. What sets the Acadia apart is its wide operating range of 0 ° F to 62 ° F. The Acadia's coefficient of performance (COP) is 2.0 to 4.1. While heat pumps have traditionally offered an energy-efficient alternative to standard HVAC systems, they've fared poorly in cold climates, where supplemental heating (usually electric resistance heat) must be used as back-up when temperatures drop below the balance point temperature. Not only does the Acadia operate in lower outside air temperatures, it defrosts 82% less than a typical heat pump, which saves additional energy.

Arch Wood Protection, Inc. FrameGuard Wood

FrameGuard mold-resistant indoor wood won the NAHB Green Building Award for Green Product Marketing of the Year. It was the only green product honored at the 2007 NAHB Green Building Conference. Arch Wood Protection, Inc. developed the safe coating with three fungicides and a borate compound? the same fungicides used in some cereals, coffee, and lotions, and the same borates used in some hand soaps and cosmetics. The FrameGuard coating is applied to interior wood, including trusses, OSB, and plywood to inhibite termites, mold growth, and fungal decay. It's been certified as a “low-emitting product” by GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI). Besides having lower emissions, FrameGuard wood is durable and grown on responsibly managed timberlands, all qualities that make it a green product.

PPG Pure Performance Paint

Interior paint has traditionally been notorious for affecting indoor air quality. Some paints contain heavy metals, formaldehyde, and ethylene glycol, which are added as pigments, drying agents, or fungi. Paints also contain solvents, which allow paint to evaporate to a solid film after it's applied to a surface. The solvents often contain VOCs, which can pose health risks to painters and homeowners who breach the fumes.

Several manufacturers now offer low or no VOC paint. One of these manufacturers, Pittsburgh Paints, offers Pure Performance interior paint, the first paint to receive the Green Seal Class A rating for no VOC paints. The resins in Pure Performance are formulated to be compatible with no VOC coalescent agents, whereas many other latex paint resins are combined with coalescent agents that are considered to be VOCs. Pure Performance paint is there before low odor. It also contains a mold and mildew resistant additive for durability.

American Standard FloWise Toilet

American Standard's FloWise toilet was among the first to receive the EPA's WaterSense (TM) label for water efficiency. This high efficiency toilet (HET) uses 1.28 gallons per flush, or 20% less than conventional toilets, which are required by law not to exceed 1.6 gallons per flush. The FloWise toilet uses a forceful flush instead of a high volume of water to clean the bowl. Their funnel-shaped piston-action accelerator (TM) Flush Valve forces water into the bowl in less than a second.

{ Comments are closed }

Green Building – Creating Healthier Work Environments And Reducing Overhead Costs

Green building is a phrase which refers to the implementation and use of environmentally-friendly practices and materials in the location, design, construction, operation and disposal of buildings and homes.

This noble concept applies to both renovation and retrofitting of existing buildings and construction of new buildings, whether residential or commercial, public or private. The trend for creating greener buildings and structures is now viewed as an important instrument for positive change in the building industry.

Building Green Helps To Improve The Overall Quality Of Life

By continuously improving the process of locating, designing, building, operating and retrofitting buildings and homes, developers and policy makers would do a lot in improving the well-being of the community. The use of advanced energy-saving technologies applied in buildings could in effect result in significant reductions in demand for fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases.

Implementing more-improved design and building practices can also aid in addressing environmental concerns like natural resource depletion, sewage and waste disposal, as well as air, water, and soil pollution. The concepts behind green building can also help assist the gains in human health and prosperity.

However, despite the huge potentials for transformation, going green in building homes and structures still represents a small percentage of building in North America. Some estimate that green building current accounts for just around two percent of the new non-residential building segment in the US, and 0.3 percent of the residential market. In Canada, green building trends are generally thought to be similar to those in the US, while in Mexico, there are no reliable figures to show the extent or levels to which green building exists in the marketplace.

Applying Green Building Concepts Help Create Superior Work Environments

It's a fact that buildings and structures created using green building principles have a less negative impact on the environment than conventional buildings. Applying environment-friendly construction methods help in minimizing the use of natural resources by using alternative building materials, and also recycling constructions waste rather than sending these to landfills.

Majority of a green building's interior spaces are also equipped with natural lighting and outdoor views, efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, as well as using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials like paint, flooring, and furniture to create a superior and much unhealthy indoor air quality.

Just a few years ago, the term “green building” would generally evoke visions of tree-hugging, granola-munching individual who walks barefoot and sleeps on straw mats. These days however, the term goes beyond the usual hype, and offers developers and home builders concrete benefits like lower overhead costs, increased employee productivity, less absenteeism, and better employee attraction and retention.

Being green is not simply about attaining more respect; although it's rapidly becoming a necessity for large firms as well, which would help in pushing green building concepts completely into the mainstream within the coming years. Financial institutions and investors soon will also be using new valuation methodologies to quantify green building factors like productivity and long-term life cycle costs when verifying and analyzing real estate values ​​as well.

[] – Green Building

{ Comments are closed }

Tips For Green Home Construction

A well-designed green home construction requires consideration of several factors, which must be incorporated in the initial structuring stages. Using eco-friendly raw materials is an important management measure in the construction of green homes. This could include using high fly ash content cement instead of normal cement. Wood salvaged from old buildings and reengineered wood can be used in constructing a green home. It is best to incorporate the green features during the construction phase. Installation of a drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler system is one such measure. Investing in a rainwater harvesting system is yet another step towards going Green. Pathways, drive ways should have made permeable paving so that rainwater can see through the soil.

Using Forest Stewardship Council (SFC) certified wood for all wooden fittings in the house is favorable to a green house construction. Even employing no / low formaldehyde based paints for the interiors of the house helps in creating healthy living conditions. Harnessing the power of the sun by fitting solar heaters and photovoltaic cells helps reduce electricity consumption and lower bills. Greater reflectivity of light colored roofs as against dark colored helps in reducing heat buildup in the house. Also, they last longer because since the heat absorbed is less, they do not expand thermally as much as dark colored roofs.

Green Home Construction holistically handles both fixed as well as movable items in a house. It is best to use recycled wood furniture for the house interiors. Various companies advertise recycled plastic furniture for the garden. A green initiative gaining popularity is using cork or bamboo flooring instead of the usual hardwood flooring. Avoid using vinyl linoleum, natural linoleum is a better choice. Make sure that the ducting in the house is leak proof. Ducting leaks cause over 10% of energy losses in a house. Fitting flow reducers to faucets and shower heads and low volume flushes helps reduce 40% consumption of water without anyone noticing the difference. Use on insulation which does not contain formaldehyde helps prevent sickness. Cellulose insulation made out of recycled paper is one such good material for wall insulation.

In a green home construction, effective use is made of low emissive double paned windows. Double paned windows not only provide more insulation but also help make the house quieter. The frames of windows should be made of wood as these provide more insulation. The piping of the house should have a jacket to reduce loss of heat. Use these tips to make your home truly green.

{ Comments are closed }

Long Commute = Low Home Value?

NPR had an interesting story earlier this week about the connection between commute time and home values. Not surprisingly, the story featured examples from the Washington, DC metro area (I guess their reporters tend to stay close to home …).

It seems that while home prices for the entire DC Metro area declined some 11% last year, there was a distinct pattern to the local variations within that data. Ashburn, located about 40 miles west of downtown DC saw average prices fall around 18% in the same time period, while in DC itself, home prices increased by about 3%. Close-in suburbs like Arlington and Bethesda have seen similar increases in their average prices. It seems that people are beginning to realize that there are wonderful trade-offs to living farther out and spending an hour or more every day in traffic. Some of these trade-offs are intangible, like time spent with family. Others are quite tangible and can be measured in dollars. With gasoline approaching $ 4 a gallon ($ 3.75 at the Texaco up the street from where I type at this very moment), the difference between a ten mile commute and a 40 mile commute is really starting to add up.

This is one very important part of why Orange line condos in Arlington have been holding their value so well even as the market seemed to become settled with condos over the last five plus years. Arlington has done an award-winning job (literally) in managing its increased density without the increase in traffic that many predicted. In fact, Arlington saw an increase in population between 2000-2005 of something like 5% with almost no increase in traffic counts on major thoroughfares during the same time. The existence of a well-established public transport network explains this appearing incongruity. As does the fact that most of the new housing built during that time was located very near this network.

The fact that people are less and less willing to spend half their day in the car has started to change development patterns nationwide. Atlanta, the poster child for sprawl in the 1990s has seen edge construction decline by something like 70% in the last few years while downtown building holds steady. This pattern is repeated throughout the country, especially in eastern cities that had seen major erosion of their downtown housing stock – places like Baltimore and Philadelphia.

There are larger, more complex social developments that are part of this shift, of course. Average household size continues to decline nationwide and there are more and more people living alone. These people do not typically seek out the expansive lawns and quiet cul-de-sacs that typify exurban living. Instead, they look for opportunities for human interaction on their street, they want to be able to walk to conduct most of their daily activities and they do not need a large basement or a fifty foot hedgerow to do these things.

{ Comments are closed }

Europe Knows Green Home Building

Green home building is very popular in the United States today, but many people do not know that Europeans have been building green homes for decades. We now have many technologies here in the United States that we consider to be new or innovative, but they really are not. Green home building is usually discussed in such a way that people marvel about these new technologies, but they are really only new to us.

For example, in Europe, a substance called Autoclave Aerated Concentrate, or AAC for short, has been used in constructing buildings for over two decades. According to experts, this substance is fire proof, highly insulating, and lightweight. It can be easily transported in large quantities, which will conserve fuel. Additionally, AAC is made of water, sand, cement, lime, and aluminum powder. Eighty percent of the AAC is made up of air, which is the main ingredient. The most important benefit is the fact that its production does not produce any byproducts. Builders have been using this building material in Germany for almost a century; however, it was introduced in the United States in 1996 and still is not widely accepted.

An additional green home building material that is used broadly in Europe but not in the United States is the Wood Fiber Board. This type of board is created from the wood chip waste which is a byproduct of sawmills. Experts explain the fact that these boards do not emit toxins when manufactured. They are very inexpensive to produce, and they are totally compostable. But, we do not use those very much here in the United States. We like to cut down new trees to make new boards. It seems as though we prefer not using something we already have, but rather wasting to create new products.

Europe is way ahead of us when it comes to green home building practices. People in Europe have been using such construction methods for about a century, so it is nothing new for them … it is a way of life. We are in the right mind set to become equal in greenness to Europe, but I just hope it is not too late.

{ Comments are closed }

Student Accommodation in Falmouth – Breaking Ground in Construction Methods

New Falmouth student flats are using innovative building techniques to be ready for the start of the academic year.

A new homes complex designed for students will be ready in time thanks to a pioneering construction system. With the academic term starting on a fixed date there is no room for late housing projects aimed at this market but this has not been a worry for the developer; Dvington Homes.

Well renovated developers of quality housing Dvington Homes have put all their skill into developing these specially designed student homes. Using the French Outinord prefabricated form work system they estimate that they will reduce the normal build time by approximately 3 months and reduce their costs by 25%. Using this method they have been able to pour enough concrete for four apartment shells in two days, the normal time by conventional methods would be approximately a week.

Located in a prime position with views over the water the development has taken much care to blend into the surrounding area. With the importance of encouraging a bio diversity environment around the new building, Devington Homes employed a Landscape architect – Rathbone Partnership – to consider the issues for 2 main areas of the development – the roof and the meadow land between the building and the rail track.

As a result Maritime Accommodation has a fully planted 'green' roof which supports a variety of vegetation growth. The roof is initially in its first stages of growth but will in the long term be an 'island' of ecological diversity for the local wildlife on the roof, this will also help to reduce surface runoff and will provide additional 'natural' insulation to the building. Not only is this visibly appealing, it is eco-friendly and improves air-quality.

{ Comments are closed }

New Eco-Friendly Villa Development in Tenerife


This stunning ECO-FRIENDLY property would not normally be found on the island, the developer takes a very keen interest in sustainable construction which is being promoting here in Tenerife and the design is therefore very futuristic but also charming. It has a very Scandinavian feel with a wealth of timber used in the construction.

The property itself is a magnificent piece of contemporary design and construction with its unusual shape and the use of laminated timber beams which enabled the formation of large spaces and panoramic balconies with decked terraces.

No expense has been spared in the development of this 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom Villa with an infinity pool. Imagine being in the pool and looking over the edge down towards the sea and across to the Island of Gomera. The views from this property are stunning, 180 degrees looking over the coast from Marzul through San Juan, Alcala, Playa Arena and on through to the mountains with views of Mount Teide.

The Villa has been constructed to a standard far in excess of the current and future building standards on the Canary Islands with great attention to detail and high standards of workmanship.

For Golfers, the new Abama 18 hole golf course is just down the hill and the renamed Adeje 27 hole golf course is only a short drive away. There is also a new golf course planned at Hoya Grande.

This dream villa would make a delightful residence or holiday home and with excellent letting potential as one of the most luxurious Villas on the Island it is an opportunity not to be missed.

The Accommodation

The Villa sits on a plot of 840 square meters on the edge of a hill village and boasts a 48 cubic meter heated swimming pool and double garage.

Outside there are a number of planters constructed around the terrace, with blue ceramic copings containing mature plants and trees.

Ground Floor :

The covered double glazed entrance doors lead into the entrance hall. The whole floor floor, staircase and both bathrooms are finished in extremely high quality large porcelain tiles.

The staircase is finished with highly polished stainless steel handrails and balustrades. There is also under stair storage.

The large entrance hall (which also leads to the rear door, pool and terrace) features exposed timber beams and central pillar.

There is a large Utility / laundry room containing kitchen cupboards, worktop, washing machine, and solar hot water cylinder.

The Guest suite has an on-suite bathroom and double glazed patio doors leading to the terrace and pool.

The fourth bedroom has double-glazed patio doors leading to the terrace.

There is an additional bathroom for bedroom four and as changing room for pool guests.

There is even an outside kitchen behind louvered doors for the terrace and the pool with kitchen units, worktop sink and drinks fridge, ideal for BBQ's

First Floor :

The staircase leads from the main entrance hall to a large open plan with high ceilings and large picture windows, patio doors leading to a 44 sq.m. decked terrace with highly polished stainless steel handrail & balustrades. The decked terrace is the perfect place to admire the 180-degree views.

In the lounge one wall is dedicated as an entertainment wall with a 42 inch flat screen TV above an electric fire that also looks like a flat screen TV all built into a fireplace that houses all your entertainment facilities ie DVD, Sky box and your music center .

The open plan custom kitchen is made from solid Birch with black granite worktops. Top quality appliances include a freestanding island with ceramic hob, double oven and stainless steel extraction unit. There is also an integrated fridge, freezer and dishwasher.

The master bedroom suite has an en-suite bathroom containing hydro massage bath, separate shower cubic, toilet, bidet and wall hung basin. The floor and walls are finished in large high quality porcelain tiles.

The second bedroom also has an on-suite bathroom with high quality porcelain tiles.

There is also a separate guest toilet.

Other than the two on-suite bathrooms the first floor is finished in solid hardwood parquet flooring in Birch.

Other Features:

The construction incorporates very high levels of insulation, both thermal and acoustic. This ensures the Villa stays cooler on the inside on the warmest days and warmer on the inside on cooler days. All windows and doors are a stainless steel aluminum finish with double glazing using blue safety glass.

The Villa comes complete with all internal and external light fittings and two automatic ventilation systems in the gardens.

Other features include automatic lighting control, intercom entry phones to floors, automatic electric garage gates, solar panels for hot water heating, heat pump for the swimming pool and an abundance of electrical outlets

{ Comments are closed }

Green Renovation Lending – How to Go Green With FHA 203K Renovation Financing

Today's world is changing at a dramatic pace. Skyrocketing energy prices and a planet showing years of abuse have led many to consider the way they live and how to change their lifestyle. The easiest and best way to reduce our energy consumption and to help reserve the planet for our children and grandchildren is to start at home. The place where we spend the most time, where we consume the most energy and our largest asset all in one. Our homes are responsible for huge outlays of money and liable for preserving and creating wealth for our families. Now is the time to do you part, help the planet, take advantage of the incredible tax and utility company credits, increase the value of your home and prepare yourself for energy price increases by financing your energy saving improvements with FHA 203K> renovation financing.

FHA 203K renewal loans have been around for decades, but they have recently found a new use in helping people go green. How do they work? The process is really really, one loan closing with money to purchase the property or to payoff current debt and an escrow account for repairs. Loans over $ 35,000 are facilitated with the aid of a HUD approved consultant designed to help administrator contract draws and insure repairs are done to FHA specifications. Loans under $ 35,000 do not require a consultant and repairs that can be made by the borrowers chosen contractor or, in some cases, the borrower themselves. FHA awards benefits in terms of higher allowable debt to income ratios along with loan amounts that can exceed FHA statutory limits. So, how can you use the FHA 203K to go green?

1.) Green Up Your Appliances – FHA 203K loans will finance new free standing appliances for your home. Why not use that opportunity to buy EPA recommended ENERGY STAR appliances? Imagine beautiful stainless appliances that save you a bundle in monthly energy costs.

2.) Save Water, Save Energy – You can finance brand new low flow toilets as well as tankless water heaters. Low flow toilets use less than half the water that older models do and tankless waters provide unlimited hot water without all the wasted energy of a constantly working water heater.

3.) Want New Hardwoods ? – Opt for sustainable bamboo flooring. Bamboo reproduces itself to maturity in 5 years as opposed to the 40-100 years than normal hardwoods take. Make sure and opt for formaldehyde free glues.

4.) Environmentally Friendly Landscaping and Lawn – Making an eco-friendly outdoor area that saves water and provides shade, helping you reduce heating and cooling costs, is not as hard as you think. How do we you do it? First of all choose local plants that require less water and less pruning. Pruning creates waste and fills landfills, avoid it if possible. Choosing local plants can help you conserve water and require less work. If you have an irrigation system install a “smart” system that calibrates water needed based on local climates and plant needs.

5.) Solar Panels – Solar is one of the easiest ways to dramatically cut monthly energy bills. Installing solar panels is so encouraged by HUD that they will allow you to exceed statutory loan limits to do so. In many cases the Federal, State and Utility company tax credits will pay for a good portion of the purchase and installation of solar panels. The rest we can finance.

6.) Better Insulation – An obvious choice for a green home, insulating your home better can help you save thousands on energy bills.

7.) Choosing Green Building Materials – A key aspect of any green FHA 203K renovation is the selection of environmentally friendly building materials. To reduce transport pollution and energy costs go local first. The second thing to look for is recyclable materials such as Glass, Terrazzo, Ceramic and Porcelain.

These are just a few of the myriad of green renovation choices you can finance with an FHA 203K renovation loan. There are literally hundreds of other ways to green your home, save yourself hundreds in monthly energy costs, increase your resale value and do your part in preserving the planet. The time is now to take action and do what you can. You never know, you might just be able to dramatically cut your monthly energy bills, create a bundle in home equity and substantially improve the marketability of your home.

{ Comments are closed }

Bangalore Real Estate Goes Green

Bangalore real estate activities are witnessing a stagnation period. There is identified stock of unoccupied properties in the Whitefield area. The reason gauged is all the IT and IT enabled service companies are heading towards green buildings. Green buildings are the peg of the year as the world is adapting green arena to counter various environmental issues. All builders and developers are bound to adopt green technology to construct their buildings.

The upcoming real estate activities in Bangalore are occurring at outer ring road and peripheral areas. Few buildings where the construction has just completed are lying vacant. The Bangalore real estate market is experiencing such vacant unit supply in past couple of months. The reasonought is the increasing demand of green building. The newly constructed Bangalore properties are not meeting green buildings requirements and so they are not rated as green.

The IT and ITES companies are not occupying this space and as a result the real estate values ​​are stagnating and the property prices are going down with time. In the last quarter demand – supply mismatch was approximately a million sq.ft. (as stated in Cushman & Wakefield report).

The Bangalore Real Estate Builders and property developers are still relevant in building green homes and using new technology because of their profit margin. Also all the upcoming and current projects are overpriced than the market value.

The Whitefield region in Bangalore, where IT and ITES firms occupy most of the office space, could have delivered another blow when a Bangalore government scheme which provides rebate in tax to the companies located at “technology parks” comes to an end next year.

Most of the companies will head towards Special Economic Zones (SEZ) which is designed as per the green codes and this will further render some Bangalore properties vacant. Thus Bangalore real estate builders have no choice but to start constructing green buildings to save the environment as well as their own business

{ Comments are closed }

Eco Friendly Property in Spain

“Go Green” – “ECO friendly” – “save the planet” – “Global Warming”. All words we are very familiar with without you have lived on the moon for the past 5 years or so. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and offering green products and services. But how green are they and is it just a token gesture to be popular? We have been researching the possibilities of building eco friendly and economic green villas in Spain after I inadvertently made the mistake of asking my wife how she would like her new house built. “Eco friendly” she replied.

Those two words began a journey of thousands of miles across Europe and countless hours researching the web to find out how “eco friendly” I could build her dream home. Initially I found that an eco friendly home was just a cave house … I did not fancy living in or building a cave house, or they had thicker lagging on pipes or they offered solar water heaters … BIG DEAL, I expected that as standard, in fact it is law in Spain now to have alternative water heating supply, one company even classed a home as eco friendly because the heating had a thermostat.

Two years later and after securing the sole rights to build with a German quality ICF system we are beginning our first two new eco friendly villas in Spain for clients and have several scheduled to begin next year. The interest has been amazing; unfortunately this means my wife's dream home has been put on hold for a while but our business and our attitude to all things green is being transformed. We are offering geothermal heating systems, solar power, gray water systems, water saving systems inside and outside the home, wind turbines, appliance advice, lighting systems I never knew exhausted and even waterless toilets (the jury is still out on that one with me ) all this to make our eco friendly villas in Spain as economically friendly as we can. The fantastic thing about the Eco friendly build systems is the speed and insulating values ​​they offer. A traditional styled villa of a 100m2 villa can be located within 10 days! Saving weeks of labor charges that bringing the cost of these new eco friendly properties on par or even cheaper than traditional block and beam villas. The insulation values ​​are amazing and they even have fantastic sound insulation (great if you have noisy teenagers like us).

When we first introduced this system to an architect he looked blankly at the proposal and smoked that smile you see in Spain when you know they think you are mad and after experiencing this manic suppressed grin over a length period of time with a lot of old – maybe not old but my age – OK old Architects! We finally came across a young enthusiast architect who believed and embroidered the system as we did. We drew up a set of plans and submitted them to the local town hall and put the project forward to the bank for a valuation. The town hall was thrilled with the idea and the bank valued the project over 40% higher than we charged the client! Now this could have a lot to do with the fact that we are inexpensive builders but the manager did tell us that they are valuing homes with eco friendly factors higher than traditional homes.

{ Comments are closed }

Cut Your Energy Bills in Half by Building an Energy Efficient Home!

Energy! This 6 letter word has easily become one of the most popular words in the world as oil prices, gas prices and energy prices have sky-rocketed! As I write this, oil is over $ 140 a barrel, gas prices where I live are hovering at $ 4.00 a gallon and electricity rates are rough $ 19. kwh. Now more than ever people are looking for ways to cut or slash their energy costs!

Back in late 2004 when I was designing (14) semi custom patio homes, I felt very strongly about energy efficiency and I knew that one day real soon, everyone would be concerned about energy efficiency! During this time, way before it was popular, I was building my homes with radiant barriers, energy efficient cooling systems and managed water systems. At that time these technologies were viewed as expensive alternatives to the standard construction procedures and products generally offered by builders, but the sentiment has now changed. These once overlooked technologies are quickly becoming the standard.

With this increased attention on energy efficiency, the real question is how can you build an energy efficient home without busting your budget! Most builders and contractors are charging premiums for outfitting homes with energy efficient products and it seems that overnight a whole new cottage industry has been created offering a host of high dollar energy saving solutions! Despite the glossy brochures, impressive sales presentations and overly accommodating sales representatives I think some of these products are overkill and their claims of costs savings in many cases are exaggerated at best!

So what is an Owner Builder to do? For starters, the first step in properly planning the construction of an energy efficient home is to consider what your overall budget is for the home you are building and within that budget how much (as a percentage) are you willing to invest in reducing your energy costs. In many cases, this figure could be as high as 10% however the average is anywhere from 5-8.5% of the overall cost of the home.

The first thing you want to consider is the climate for the area you are building in and the building envelope materials. Most homes through the United States consist of brick, Hardi-plank © siding and / or concrete. Concrete is green and energy efficient however it can be costly and there are several additional factors to consider such as lead times, renting pump trucks and higher labor costs. With that said, in places like Florida due to hurricanes concrete homes are the standard in many cases so there are exceptions. Brick on the other hand is a low maintenance product that offers several energy saving benefits when installed properly. Ideally you want an exterior product that will insulate your home from the forces of nature and contribute to your overall plan of lower energy costs.

The next step in building an energy efficient home is outfitting your home with the proper sized heating & cooling system AND choosing a qualified reputable contractor to install it. To ensure you have the rightized system, I suggest you invest in a Manual J analysis on your home plans. This analysis will give detailed suggestions on the type and size of heating & cooling system for your home based on its size and location. The small investment you make in performing this analysis will produce huge dividends in energy savings and reduced maintenance expenses.

Another important thing during this stage of planning is to have an Electrical Technician design an electrical plan for your home. This electrical plan will insure that you have the proper amount of outlets through the home and it will insure they have the proper voltage to ensure that you never overload a circuit or exert unnecessary pressure on any part of your electrical system. These (2) steps by themselves will produce a home that will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year on your electrical bill and produce a more enjoyable living experience for you and the other occupants of your Dream Home.

The next energy saving feature to consider is the insulation system you will use. Recently there have been several foam based products that have grown increasingly popular due to their ability to create an air tight building envelope. This is great for those climates that have extremely fiercely winters and moderate summers but for humid climates like Houston, Texas where I live, these products can create HUGE problems because of mold issues! If you live in the Midwest or Upper East coast then these foam products will work great and by themselves they will cut your heating & cooling costs in half!

However if you are like me and live in the Southwest, I suggest using a battled fiberglass solution in most cases with facing on the side that faces the sheetrock and a blown-in insulation for your attic applications. I usually suggest that you use a razor and cut lines in the facing before covering them up with sheetrock to allow the walls to breathe. This one minor step prevents mold growth as it allows air to freely move through the walls prohibiting moisture.

My next recommendation has become commonplace in the homes of the finer custom homebuilders and in many cases is offered as an upgrade by the tract homebuilders and that is radiant barriers! Quite simply, a radiant barrier is the foil like surface that is on the underside of the plywood-like material that you see in your attic that your roof is nailed to. The purpose of the radiant barrier is to prevent the heat from the sun from coming into the home via the roof.

Usually a radiant barrier blocks as much as 50% of the suns ultraviolet rays theseby reducing your attic temperature by as much as 30% or more in some applications. This feature is not very expensive and usually costs $ 30.00 – $ 35.00 per 4×8 sheet in comparison to the non radiant barrier sheets which generally cost $ 23.00 – $ 28.00 per 4×8 sheet. Again, this small investment will produce huge gains via the lower energy bills and increased comfort and quality of lifestyle it will afford you and your family.

This next energy saving feature is one of my favorite of all features and that is the tank-less water heater! Can you believe it, a water heater the size of a shoe box! These have got to be one of the coolest products on the market and besides the energy savings they provide, you will also like that they produce an endless flow of hot water! Tank-less water heaters are rapidly gaining steam (pun intended) in the custom home market despite being reasonably higher than your standard water heater, but it's a worthy investment to say the least!

Our last energy saving product is a Mana-Bloc © managed plumbing system. This plumbing system will save you money on your water bill as it will reduce the amount of water waste and it allows you to manage every single water feature in your home. So if you have a hot water leak in your half bath, you can cut off the hot water in that area without affecting the cold water or any other water feature in the home. In addition to that you do not have to worry about water leaking until you get the leak repaired which causes water damage and mold!

These managed systems really represent the future of home efficiency products with their ability to customize and manage every aspect of your water consumption and provide a better overall quality of lifestyle for the end user!

I can assure you that if you follow the steps outlined here and consistently considering the products and procedures outlined you will cut your energy costs by half (or more) in your Custom Dream Home! As energy prices continue to rise, this strategic energy planning and thinking regarding building a home will become a standard procedure for Owner Builders and home buyers alike.

{ Comments are closed }

Ecological Costa Rica Real Estate Market

So here are a few examples of the 'truth' that affects Costa Rica real estate of the 9th May 2008:

1. Costa Rica remains a safe and peaceful haven for many real estate investors and entrepreneurs from other countries in Central and Latin America.
2. With the Central American free trade agreement a 'done deal', real estate investors, business people and entrepreneurs are no longer in a 'wait and see' mode, they are now coming here from the USA, Mexico, Spain, Germany and other countries in Europe.
3. In 2007 Costa Rica attracted 27 new foreign high technology companies which generated some 6,352 jobs and about US $ 421 million in investment. For a tiny country like Costa Rica, that's huge!
4. Boston Scientific announced that they will invest another $ 35 million over the next three years and add about 1,200 employees.
5. The German company Continental AG will produce electronic components for car transmissions in Costa Rica after investing US $ 61 millions dollars in their new manufacturing facility in Alajuela.
6. The Baxter medical equipment company which has over 1,300 employees in Costa Rica recently opened a new, first of it's kind 152,000 square foot sterilization plant in Cartago. This new manufacturing facility in Cartago, has already been recognized with the 2008 Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, the first to be awarded the Shingo Prize outside North America and they are being “honored for their achievements in driving higher quality and improvements in productivity, manufacturing cycle time and customer lead-time. ”
7. “Thanks to the human resources of Costa Rica,” Intel builds the most powerful processors in the world right here. Intel has invested about $ 800 million in Costa Rica over the last ten years and will invest another $ 90 million in 2008. “Costa Rica plays in the greatest technology leagues. Thanks to Costa Rica talent, millions of people can connect to the web.”
8. While the working class and the middle class continue to be decimated in the USA as jobs move inshore to countries like Costa Rica and offshore to China, Costa Rica has plenty of work. At the job fair a few weeks ago, companies including Procter & Gamble, Intel, IBM, HP & Fujitsu (recognize any of those names?) Are having trouble filling 8,000 positions they have available.
9. And while America's largest banks and some of Wall Street's largest investment firms are literally begging for money from foreign investors and the USA is by far the world's largest debtor, after 40 years of deficits, Costa Rica will close 2007 with a surplus .. .

In any market, be it stocks, bonds, commodities or real estate, there are always pockets of opportunities so while the blood maybe running in the streets of certain real estate markets, I can insure you from first hand personal consulting experience with well over 100 + transactions in the last 12 months, that Costa Rica continues to boom as an emerging market, the real estate market in most parts of the country is excellent and there are plenty of opportunities for the savvy investor.

{ Comments are closed }