Growing A Greener Outer Banks NC

January 17, 2011

Attic Insulation Saves You Money

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , — 4x4RE @ 10:55 am

As many people across the country are seeing their energy bills go up this winter it’s good to remember that spending BIG money on newer, more efficient furnaces might not be their only option. One more cost effective thing to do first would be to check for proper insulation in their attics.I have been on many home inspections where their might not have been enough installed to do a good enough job, and a few where sections of the attic had no insulation at all.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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January 13, 2011

GREEN REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS FOR 2011

Filed under: community, environment, News — Tags: , , , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 12:06 pm

I came just came across an interesting article by Jim Simco, and I thought I would share it.

GREEN REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS FOR  2011

by Jim Simcoe

In less than 24 hours 2010 will be over and a new year of real estate investment opportunities and challenges will begin. In regards to green real estate, here are my predictions for 2011 (in no order):

1.  Green Value will replace Green Hype.  2010 was the last year we’ll see people largely  add green elements to their projects just for the heck of it.  Value is starting to trump hype (even in California) and that trend will continue on 2011. Investors/buyers/homeowners won’t pursue green unless they have a fairly accurate prediction of the ROI.

2.  In green building certification circles, Energy Star overtakes LEED.  LEED has always been the 800 pound gorilla in the green building certification market.  However the actual value to the end user/buyer of a LEED certified building is beginning to wane.  LEED costs more, takes longer and is more paperwork intensive than Energy Star.  LEED is a clunky old PC running Windows 3.1. Energy Star is an iPad.

3. ROI measurement becomes easier for investors. New technologies and data on recent projects make it much easier for an investor to project the return on any green building method/equipment.  For example, a few years ago it was difficult to quantify the true cost savings on utility bills (and thus value to an end buyer) of blowing closed cell insulation into walls. You’d get a range, say between 30-70% savings.  Not exactly a great way to forecast. Now with a few quick calculations and a cursory knowledge of building envelop design you can get to a very accurate projection, often within 10%.

4.  Opportunity is rapidly becoming obligation.  I’ve written about this before but it is getting more prevalent now.  Sellers/Property Owners (investors or not) are getting squeezed by 2 distinct groups.  First, City/State/Federal legislators who are increasingly enacting green building codes for new AND existing buildings. Second, buyers/renters who are becoming more ‘green’ educated and are demanding more green features.  Both groups are putting added pressure on investors to address green in their projects.

5.  Green products-faster, cheaper, more abundant.  More than ever there are a plethora of green building products on the market.  These products are often higher quality and lower priced than their non-green competitors.  For real estate investors this couldn’t have come at a better time. You can now green a project without having to overspend on materials or equipment.

6.  In 2010, approximately 40%* of your target market (buyers/renters) understood the value of paying more for green homes/apartments and were willing to pay a premium for those amenities.  That number should double in 2011.  It has become much easier for buyers/renters to see the quantifiable difference in value of buying/renting a green home vs. a traditional home. It now makes more sense to get a green home than not.

*Based on a very unscientific study of what I’ve observed in the last year as I’ve worked on projects all over the US.

Source: The Bigger Pockets Blog

November 20, 2010

Holiday Season Green Tips

Filed under: environment, Recycle Projects, Tips — Tags: , , , , — 4x4RE @ 7:16 pm
Earth Friendly Holiday Season Tips
By Green Living Tips | Published  10/18/2009 |  
   
Holiday Season green tips

It’s time to arm ourselves against the season of consumption!

Over the Holiday season, the western world generates a lot more rubbish than at other times of the year. Here’s a series of tips to help you reduce your upcoming Holiday impact on the environment.

1. Shop online. Sometimes online retailers will have better pricing than bricks and mortar stores, plus you’ll save fuel in traveling from store to store, time and stress! Items purchased online are often shipped straight from the factory to you, so it can also cut down on the overall freight impact.

2. When heading out to do your Holiday shopping, take your own reusable bags rather than using the plastic ones provided by stores.

3. When purchasing gifts, try and think “earth-friendly” every step of the way; from the product itself to the packaging. If you buy green gifts, make a special effort to let the person know of its environmental benefit as you may just set the receiver on the path to a greener life. This doesn’t mean buying items the person may not need or want, but consider the person’s interests and look for a green angle. For example, for chocolate lovers, perhaps organic, fair trade chocolate.

4. All of us have likely received gifts in the past that we had no use for and we’ve just stashed them away. It’s a waste of money and resources. Instead of taking a risk if you’re not sure what a person wants, consider purchasing a gift card – that way they’ll get what they really want or need. Some retailers are even offering earth friendly gift cards now made from bioplastic! Also consider re-gifting items you may have received in the past but have never used.

5. Instead of buying physical gifts, consider purchasing a service or tickets to a concert or movie.

6. Make a donation to a charity, developing world or environmental project as a gift for someone else. Does the person you are buying for really need another pair of socks? Instead of giving them a gift they can use, buy them a gift that goes to another needy person or organization – purchase it in their name. Many organizations provide this option now. To my way of thinking, this is the perfect gift because it gives to so many. You could purchase seed that will go to a third world farming family, wheelchairs for the disabled, chickens for a community, trees for damaged land – the possibilities are endless.

7. Battery operated items are a hugely popular as gifts. I shudder to think how many single use batteries are consumed during the Holidays and into the following weeks as kids (and adults) put their new toys through their paces. In 2006, 40 billion single-use batteries were sold worldwide! As part of your gift buying, purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery charger – these are quite economical items to buy these days and will save you a ton of money in the long run.

8. Thousands of tons of cards are purchased each Holiday season. The mind boggles to think of how many trees are destroyed in the process. Try to purchase cards made from recycled paper and after the Holiday season, if you decide not to keep the cards you receive, recycle them. Another idea worth considering is to offset the paper consumption is to plant a tree every year.

9. If you like putting bows on your gifts, use fabric instead of plastic.

10. Gift wrapping creates the same sort of issues as cards, but there are some added environmental dangers with metallic and plastic type wrapping. Aside from taking a long time to decompose, these types of wraps give off toxic gases when burned. Look for plainer wraps made from recycled paper, wrap gifts in scarves, place in baskets etc. Make the wrapping a part of the gift if you can; something that can be used for another purpose – for example, check out the Japanese Art of Furoshiki.  Furoshiki techniques with  detailed instructions can be found at Furoshiki.com

11. Purchase a live tree and it doesn’t have to be the traditional fir. There are no laws against using another species.  After the Holidays are over, plant the tree in your yard.

12. If you’re going to purchase tree lights this year; consider buy LED tree light sets – they’ll last far longer and use a great deal less electricity.

13. Use a timer for your external lighting decorations; again, a huge electricity saver.

14. Tree decorations can be made from gingerbread and strings of edible items such as berries or popcorn – much tastier than plastic and far less environmental impact! Also look to nature for decoration ideas – for example; pine cones, leaves and flowers.

15. Artificial snow spray can be made from environmentally damaging components, plus there’s added waste of the can. A more earth-friendly imitation snow effect can be achieved by sprinkling baking soda on your tree.

16. If candles are part of your celebrations and decorations, consider using soy or beeswax types. Normal candles are made from paraffin, which is a petroleum based product.

17. Holidays are a rubbish-fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, have boxes or bins set up for different types of rubbish – cans, bottles, paper etc. This will make your job easier at the end of the day and minimize the amount of recyclables heading for landfill.

18. Food wastage can also be a challenge – instead of throwing scraps, leftovers and peelings into your bin, dig them into your garden or better still, buy yourself a worm farm this year and use the vegetable refuse to help you start feeding them.

The retailers of the world have brainwashed us over the years as to what the Holidays are all about.  Think outside the box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and society rather than contributing to destroying our planet :).

 

June 8, 2010

June’s Green Action Tips

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 5:30 pm

Tips for Going Green on a Budget

Going green doesn’t have to cost a lot of green! Use these simple tips to make a positive impact on the environment while keeping your wallet intact. It’s easy, even for the laziest of environmentalists.

  • Shut down and unplug electronics. Make small changes to use – and pay for – less energy, like shutting down your computer when you’re not using it and plugging your cell phone and other electronics into power strips so you can turn several devices off with one switch.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. By using cold water instead of warm, the average household can avoid emitting 1,281 pounds of carbon dioxide annually and save on energy bills.1
  • Fill your bottle with filtered tap water. Choose the greener solution by using a reusable bottle, like the FilterForGood bottle, and filling it with filtered tap water. If you use a Brita filtration system you can make another responsible choice by recycling your pitcher filter when you replace it, which should be about every two months (or every 40 gallons). Find out more about recycling Brita filters here.
  • Update your wardrobe for less. Instead of consuming new products, trade fashionable clothes, accessories, cosmetics and shoes for free (you only pay for shipping). By swapping merchandise you can lower the amount of harmful emissions caused by the manufacturing process. Check out swapstyle.com to learn more.
  • Exchange CDs, DVDs and books instead of buying. Now you can avoid purchasing new products without forfeiting your entertainment needs. Visit swapacd.com, swapadvd.com and paperbackswap.com for access to thousands of CDs, books and DVDs.
  • Use refurbished electronics. You can get refurbished electronics for a steal (they often sell for less than 50 percent of the retail price!), and before they’re resold to the public, they go through an intense defect-testing process and the warranties usually remain intact. So you can save money and help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Shop at www.dyscern.com and www.refurbdepot.com.
  • Use kitchenware products made of recycled materials. Preserve uses items such as recycled Brita pitcher filters and empty yogurt containers to make their line of colorful kitchen gear. Since they’re about the same price as regular kitchenware, it’s a no-brainer to choose Preserve products. Visit preserveproducts.com to find a retailer near you

February 6, 2010

February Green Action Tip

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , , , — 4x4RE @ 10:35 am

February Green Action Tip

10 Tips to Save Energy (and Money) in Your Home
A whopping 46 percent of home energy use is energy loss! In other words, no productive energy use at all! Here are simple ways of reversing this, mostly by changes of habit.
1. Each degree you turn down the heat saves 3 percent of heating costs, while each degree you raise the temperature of your air conditioner saves 3-4 percent of cooling costs. By changing the temperature by 2 degrees all year, you can save about 2,000 pounds of C02 a year.

2. Cook with a slow cooker or a toaster oven (or even a solar oven!) to reduce electrical use from kitchen appliances. For a meal that requires one hour to cook in an electric oven, and which uses 2.7 pounds of C02, a crock pot uses 0.9 pounds of C02 for seven hours, a toaster oven takes 1.3 pounds of C02 for 50 minutes, and a microwave only 0.5 pounds of C02 for 15 minutes of cooking. A solar cooker requires NO C02!

3. Switch to a laptop instead of using a desktop computer and cut three-quarters off your electrical use. Turn off the laptop at the end of the day.

4. Switch to cold water washing and save 80 percent on energy used for laundry and save an estimated $60 a year. Hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer and save 700 pounds of C02 a year.

5. Plug anything that can be powered by a remote control or that has a power cube transformer (little black box) into a power strip, and turn it off, and/or unplug, when not in use. (Power cubes are 60-80 percent inefficient.)

6. Turn off the lights when you aren’t using them and reduce your direct lighting energy use by 45 percent. Stop using heat-producing halogen lamps (they can also be fire hazards). Install occupancy or motion sensors on outdoor lights.

7. Switch to compact fluorescent from regular incandescent bulbs and use 60 percent less energy per bulb and save 300 pounds of C02 a year.

8. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket and save 1,000 pounds of C02 a year. Insulate your hot water pipes.

9. Use public transportation whenever possible, carpool, shop locally, and ideally switch to a hybrid or energy-efficient car (if you haven’t already).

10. Keep your tires inflated to improve gas mileage by 3 percent. Every gallon you save also saves 20 pounds of C02 emissions.

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