Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Energy Incentives Increase

You’ve heard about all the great tax incentives for greening homes with new windows and insulation, so how can you get in on the action? The best place to start is the federal web site, DSIRE, which spells out incentives specific to your state. Existing homes are eligible for a series of efficiency measures that pertain to the home envelope, worth 30% of the cost of equipment. There is a $1,500 cap on the credit per home, including the amount received for heating, cooling, and water heating equipment.

“Features like properly installed insulation, high-performance windows and high efficiency heating and cooling can reduce home energy needs by 20 to 30 percent, saving American families thousands of dollars on their utility bills," according to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
source: Eco Hatchery

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Analysis: Tax Credit Adds 357,000 Buyers

A study estimates that 357,000 buyers have been motivated so far by the $8,000 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.

The study by Campbell Surveys, a division of Campbell Communications, calculated the figure by comparing the number of first-time homebuyers before and after the tax credit was instituted. The percentage of first-time buyers rose from 32 percent in January and February to 43 percent for the rest of the year – except July when the rate fell to 42 percent.

Campbell’s Research Director Thomas Popik pointed out that this survey mirrors the numbers calculated by the National Association of REALTORS® and those from Moody’s Economy.com.

The data supports legislative efforts in both the U.S. House and Senate to extend the tax credit.

Source: HousingWire.com, Austin Kilgore (09/22/2009)

101 ways to improve your credit score

You want to buy a house, a car, apply for a loan; pretty much anything these days require good credit.

So why not improve it? Even if you have good credit, excellent credit will get you better mortgage rates on your home loan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

Here are 101 tips to help you do just that - everything you ever wanted to know to be financially successful.

Pay your bills on time.
Keep your credit card balances low.
Don't close unused credit card accounts.

Learn the other 98 ways to improve your credit.
Source: Quicken Loans

The Fed meeting: what it means to you

Just like the rest of us, the U.S. Federal Reserve wants the economy to get healthier. And while economic activity has slowly but surely started to improve over the past few months, the Fed has decided to help.

The Fed has just announced that it will purchase $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities. This is great news if you're looking to refinance or purchase a home, because when the Fed buys large amounts of mortgage-backed securities, it helps to
keep mortgage rates low.

Here's the catch: The Fed says it plans to stop purchasing these mortgage-backed securities soon. And that means that the best time to take advantage of this opportunity to lock in to these historically-low mortgage rates may be right now.

Here's another way of looking at it: Because of these unprecedented Fed actions, you may never see mortgage rates this low again in your lifetime.
Source: Quicken Loans

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Plant Filtration System Turns Used Shower Water into Drinking Water

Recycling and Waste Management, Sustainable Products, Water and Water Conservation | Wednesday 9 September 2009 by Katrina Pfannkuch

Water recycling efforts can go way beyond the basic methods used today, according to a team of eco-thinkers and scientists who have derived a way to create fresh drinking water from shower water using a variety of plants.

Designers Jun Yasumoto, Vincent Vanderbrouk, Oliver Pigasse and Alban Le Henry settled on the shower basin concept when searching for creative and practical ways to recycle water. The eco-conscious team graduated from French national design school Ecole Nationale Supirieure de Creation Industrielle, and were especially interested in finding a way to make practical use of shower water, something normally filtered outside the home.

How does it work?

The concept/design for this eco-shower is based on a natural filtration process called phyto-purification, and helps to turn a bathroom into a mini-ecosystem. As you shower, the wastewater passes down into a chamber below the shower floor, and travels through a maze of filters including; sand, reeds, rushes, a mesh filter, water hyacinths, lemnas and a final carbon filter. The plants grow up and around the edge of the shower floor, and the filtration takes place at the root of the plants. Chemicals from soaps, shampoos and other debris are removed, and then the water is recycled back up for use in your next shower, or for brushing your teeth, washing your face or drinking.

‘With this project, we tried to combine the pleasure of taking a shower with the satisfaction of recycling water. We wanted the recycling process to actually interact with the use of the shower,” said Yasumoto.

The team hopes the impact of their concept doesn’t just alter the way we bathe. ‘We thought that by conceiving this very intricate relation between the recycling of water and the user experience, we could get the users to also re-think the way they use water,’ said Yasumoto.

The concept of a self-contained water filtration system is stirring up a lot of interest now that the images have been made public. As a result, the team is continuing to fine tune the idea and currently working on ways to bring it to market.

Now the question remains, how many people will actually want to use it?

. . .

About the author: Katrina Pfannkuch is a writer, Reiki Master and entrepreneur who lives to write and create. She started Buzzword Communications to pursue her passion for excellence in communication and satisfy her entrepreneurial spirit.
source:GenGreen Life

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Green Washing in Thomasville and South Georgia

Today as many builders rush to position themselves to participate in the green building wave it is important that homebuyers be aware of the “green washing” phenomenon currently present in the industry. Green washing is simply the tendency for builders or manufactures to apply the green label to their products with little to back it up. Today many builders seeking an edge in a slowing market are eager to adopt any practice they perceive may provide them an advantage in the marketplace. For home buyers this means that builders who haven’t changed their building practices in years are suddenly claiming that they have revolutionized their “best practices” overnight to adopt green building principles. Unfortunately the education and paradigm shift required to become a green builder is not an overnight phenomenon. The tendency for builders to claim to be green is likely to continue as the rush toward green continues to be one of the hottest trends in the industry.

As a homebuyer it is important to be aware of what green building is and isn’t and to know just what makes that new home you are considering green. Green building practices are more than just installing a few compact florescent light bulbs and calling a home green. Green building involves a spectrum of practices, not just product selections.

Below are a few helpful hints to consider when evaluating green builders and practices:

1.Documentation beats conversation – Ask your builder for documentation regarding the green building programs or standards they use when constructing homes. Does the builder follow a green building program that has defined standards and practices that are inspected and certified? CHB Custom Green Homes incorporates green building programs that adopt Energy Star standards and other nationally accepted green building practices through the Earth Craft or Energy Star House program.

2.Show me the money – Many established green building programs produce homes with documentable energy savings. Your builder should be aware of these and able to educate you in this area. Much of this information centers around the heating and cooling systems installed in your home as well as air sealing and tight building envelope practices. CHB Custom Green homes are inspected several times during the building process by certified green building experts to ensure that the standards of high performance, energy efficient homes are being met.

3.What am I getting for my money? – If it’s a green product it should be different than the home down the street built 2-3 years ago. Energy star appliances and high performance windows and doors should be standard. The trades and experts constructing your home should be trained and proficient in green building practices and high performance home standards. CHB Custom Green Homes employees in charge of building your home have all been trained and certified in green building practices. CHB Custom Green Homes employees directing green building practices regularly attend continuing education opportunities to stay current on the latest green technologies and practices. The trades performing work on CHB Custom Green homes are required to follow detailed scopes of work ensuring that your homes are built incorporating green practices in all phases of construction.

4.We will not forget some of the realtors in Thomasville Georgia That are also "Green Washing" and have no clue of what green building is!

For more information about how CHB Custom Green Homes delivers certified high performance green homes contact use.

Greener Homes For Thomasville Georgia Families

Ranked #1 Custom Green Home Builder.

Our vision at Capital Home Builders is to provide you with a very special place to call home with luxury, efficiency and technology built, land preservation at heart. We take pride in being the cutting edge "eco green" home builders in Thomasville, Valdosta, South Georgia and Tallahassee Florida. We desire to serve our clients by keeping our commitments and staying flexible in the construction process to make your dream home a reality worth living in for many years. We provide an impeccable team that will effectively schedule and efficiently coordinate skilled contractors to provide you with the highest grade of construction materials and craftsmanship as desired. With energy prices skyrocketing, finding ways to cut down on your homes energy Usage not only helps the environment, but also makes great economic sense. No other national home builder matches CHB Custom Homes energy star standard features and commitment to energy efficiency and the U.S. Governments ENERGY STAR program. ENERGY STAR was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the use of energy-efficient products and practices in the home. First Hybrid Custom Home Builders in South Georgia with Eco Smart technology. "The Only Custom Eco Green Builder in South Georgia"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

EcoBroker Realtors

Green Realtors

An Eco Green Realtor is a green professional that is certified as an EcoBroker®. Specializing in green building, we assist home buyers make smart decisions in choosing a healthy and environmentally friendly home. An EcoBroker also guide sellers in marketing the green or greenable aspects of their property.

I believe that living greener isn't just healthy for us, our families and our communities that we inhabit but for our planet. If that's not convincing enough, greening your home can also save you money.

The so-called green movement has sprouted a fresh crop of lawsuits: greenwashing claims, in which companies are getting sued for making bogus eco-friendly statements about their products. Realtor's should also be careful when stating their listings and claiming they are energy efficient without really knowing what those words mean. Greenwashing is more prominent in areas where there are little or no professionals that can point out the false claims landing them in greenwashing litigation this is a hot area of false advertising. Making sure that the claims are correct by proving it with scientific evidence is key.

An Energy Efficient Certified home have the ability to save residents money on utility bills and their potential to help reduce health problems like asthma, green homes in many ways are best-suited to those making less than an area's median income.

Robert Ivy, McGraw-Hill's vice president and editorial director, said the data show green homes as a bright spot in a tough housing market.

"Green homes are a shining area of growth in new housing construction," he said. "The housing market is literally, statistically, on the verge of a tipping point."

Do you know what makes a green home?

A green home incorporates smart design, technology, construction and maintenance elements to significantly lessen the negative impact of the home on the environment and improve the health of the people who live inside. No matter your location or living situation, the opportunities for living a greener life at home are limited only by your imagination.

Going Green 101

Living a greener life and making your home a greener place is a commitment to yourself, your family, your community and the planet. Going green is a learning process. As new technologies, products and scientific breakthroughs constantly emerge, staying educated on the how's as well as the why's - of maintaining a green home is the best way to ensure your efforts are as effective and beneficial as possible. That's why consulting with an Eco-Broker Realtor or green consultant can better your chances in your greener life.

Besides the health and environmental benefits of living in a green home, many local and state governments, utility companies and other entities across the country offer rebates, tax breaks and other incentives for adding eco-friendly elements to your home. These incentives are available for new and green remodels.

The City of Tallahassee, FL Utilities has many Energy Smart Plus savings programs designed to help their customers save energy and money as well to protect and improve our environment.

For Example:

Ceiling Insulation 80 Percent Grant -This program pays 80% of installation costs up to a maximum City contribution of $400.

ENERGY STAR Refrigerators -- $75 Rebate

ENERGY STAR Freezers -- $40 Rebate

ENERGY STAR Clothes Washers -- $100 Rebate

Central Air Conditioner - $100 or $350 Rebate

Central Heat Pump - $100 or $350 Rebate

$450 Solar Domestic Water Heating Rebate

Valdosta, GA as well provides their customers with valuable incentives to improve the energy consumption of their customers and help them save money.

So, where is our local utility company in all this?
sources: various

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money: "For investors who get a bit woozy at the thought of betting solely on the vagaries of the commercial-real-estate market, a mutual fund with green-building holdings might be the safer way to go. The Spectra Green Fund, unlike many of its socially conscious counterparts, has consistently outperformed the Russell 3000 for the past three years.
The fund, which among other things invests in clean-energy stocks, is putting a small percentage of its assets in green REITs. Rashid also likes to invest in the building segment through the back door, focusing on the supply and equipment manufacturers that green builders rely on, such as Johnson Controls (JCI, news, msgs), the maker of devices that measure and monitor energy output. At about $96 a share, Johnson Controls has jumped in the neighborhood of 40% in the past year. And that's a nice neighborhood to be in."

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money: "On average, green buildings save 10% of utility costs each year -- and sometimes much more. Genzyme's (GENZ, news, msgs) corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., spends 42% less on energy and uses 34% less water than a similar traditional building would. Even more important, as sustainable materials and technology improve, green construction will become more cost-effective, says Charles Lockwood, an environmental and real-estate consultant in Southern California and New York."

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money

Grab the 'green' real-estate boom - MSN Money: "Sustainable construction is one of the fastest-growing segments of the already-red-hot commercial-building industry. An estimated 5% of all new U.S. commercial construction received the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification last year. And by 2010, 10% of all new commercial construction will be sustainable, according to McGraw-Hill's (MHP, news, msgs) 2006 Smart Market report. (The green trend in home construction is still in its infancy, although that's bound to change.)"