Browsing Category Green

5 Takeaways from “Green Real estate” Training

I spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Northern Virginia in Earth Advantage training, learning more about green homes, green real estate, their respective relevance in the market and how best to help and advise my clients regarding such. Below the “fold” is a Storify I did and conversations I had during the sessions, but these are five big takeaways.

1 – Consumers (generally) don’t care how green a house is; the house could be painted with motor oil but if it costs them less they’ll buy it. In fact, making one green decision may lead to making less green decisions. (see also: Do Green Products Make Us Better People?)

2 – Green homes and energy efficiency matter. “How much does this house cost to run” is one of the number one questions my buyer clients ask, and this is more than a trend; it’s a way of life. See: Green-certified homes sell for 9% more, study in California finds

3 – I’d wager that a “miles per gallon” for homes will be common place in the next three years. I firmly believe that a “MPG for homes” would hurt resale value of existing, less-energy-efficient homes. The Department of Energy is funding programs such as LEAP and this Earth Advantage training and other such programs in order to create a market for energy efficient homes and products; I can make at least two arguments about this, one pro and one con. Either way, now would be a good time to learn about the SAVE* Act and see who supports and opposes it.

4 – There are more than 70 green home certifications across the country; Earth Craft, Energy Star, LEED are the most prominent in this part of the country. They’re all different; they all have different qualification systems and they’re all brands.

5 – Charlottesville’s @LEAP_VA program has retrofit 600+ homes; $370k projected annual savings; 2.5 GWh in energy savings.

Heck, I’ve saved about $2k in heating bills since my home’s LEAP makeover.If you’re interested in retrofitting your home, now would be a good time to do so; start with an energy audit (ask me if you have questions about what that is … I might write a post about it soon) and look at the 0% interest Power Saver Loans offered by the UVA Credit Union;

Figure out how you might save locally by taking LEAP’s survey.

If you’re interested, spend some time (scroll to the bottom and work your way up) reading through the green real estate training Storify after the break.

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Energy Efficiency Goes Mainstream thanks to Best Buy

I’ll wager that Best Buy isn’t entering the Home Energy market out of altruism.

Retailer giant Best Buy is launching a modest push into home energy products, planning to sell gadgets that can help home owners cut their energy consumption, and have lower energy bills. Best Buy will sell the gear via dedicated sections of three of its brick and mortar stores and also through a new Home Energy portal on its website.

Regardless of their motives, this is good news.

Years ago, I discussed how people were going green to save green.

And in 2009:

From TallWall (thanks to @G2Architecture):

Myth 2: Green consumers’ main motivation when reducing their energy use is to save the planet.

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My Home’s LEAP Energy Makeover Continues

Today was interesting. As part of the LEAP Energy Makeover, the 2nd phase of my home’s energy efficient makeover began …

Foam insulation’s not cheap, and it wasn’t fully covered by the award, but doing it was the right choice. We’re nearing the finish of the makeover, and I an my family are looking forward to feeling the difference, both in our home and in our monthly budget.

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Getting Started with Energy Efficiency in My Home

As some I know I am in the midst of making some energy efficient upgrades on my home. I am finding that the $2500 dollar prize is great, but its only just a start.

To truly realize energy efficient gains I am faced with the choice of spending an additional three to five thousand dollars (and could easily spend more). I could get the blown insulation, but will really see and feel differences with spray foam insulation. Which costs a lot more.

$2500 would let us achieve at least 15% energy savings, but I want (and really need) more savings and a more comfortable home.

As with everything new, there is a learning curve. New experiences, new products bring new things to learn and new questions to ask. There are potential negative and unintended consequences to sealing one area of your house and not the entire unit. One of these unintended consequences is the off gassing from the spray foam insulation. It is something that I never knew about. I never knew you’d ask. I never knew not to ask.

This is a process … of learning, of asking questions, of digesting answers and asking more questions. It’s also one of budgeting.

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Sustainability Matters

I was humbled to participate in the panel with real business leaders John Lawrence of Mudhouse Coffee and Crystal Mario of Rivanna Natural Designs yesterday. John and Crystal are setting standards for what and how profitable green/sustainability can be done successfully.

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Seeing Green and Talking Green – Charlottesville Workshop Tomorrow

I have long said that a very small percentage of the (American) populace will make green decisions – conservation of resources, smarter use of resources, building green, etc. – because it saves green not solely for altruistic reasons.

With that preface, come to the Seeing Green: Savvy Solutions for your Business and Your Community workshop tomorrow at City Space (press release after the jump); I’ll be on the panel – “Been There, done that, have the results to prove it!” at 10:45 discussing some of the ways that I and Nest Realty have chosen to go green for green reasons as much as economic reasons.

The ways that I and we have “gone green” is surprisingly long … I’m looking forward to discussing them tomorrow as well as hearing feedback on which ones are applicable beyond real estate.

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