Growing A Greener Outer Banks NC

January 13, 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.


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


March 3, 2010

Green Energy: Wind or Solar?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 1:29 pm

Many people who you talk to about generating electricity at home seem polarized to either wind turbines or solar panels. I found this great article at that suggests “Why not use both?” For many areas maybe a mixture of both is the best way to handle our energy needs.

Many people today have realized the dream of being completely off the grid by combining wind and solar energy. Small sized affordable wind generators are available today for the home user, and they are being combined with photovoltaic cells for power generation. It’s obvious that fossil fuel energy costs are going to keep on rising making it harder to afford getting power from the grid. The time is more than ripe for solar wind energy to be one of the solutions to rising energy costs, and to take us off of fossil fuel energy dependence.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are actually very simple machines. They consist of 3 parts: rotor blades, a shaft, and a generator. The rotor blades act like a propeller that turns the shaft when the wind flows through them. The shaft then turns the generator and a current is generated. About eighty-five percent of all off-grid systems use solar wind energy.

The new micro as well as mini wind turbines are very popular with sailors, and are now starting to be more popular with home owners in Europe and the UK. Mini turbines are very cost effective and will only cost about $1,500 to $2,500. They are perfect for generating electricity if you live off the grid in remote rural areas. It’s satisfying to think about having solar wind energy provide for all your energy needs and also knowing that you never have to depend on utility companies.

Photovoltaic Cells

The typical home solar power system consists mainly of these:
a) Photovoltaic Panels
b) Charge Controller Module
c) Batteries (optional)
d) Inverter
Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into an electric current. The type of current generated by a photovoltaic panel array is DC or direct current. For this current to be usable in most common households, it has to be converted into AC or alternating current. That’s where the inverter comes in. It’s job is to convert DC into AC current.

Solar wind energy systems are also called hybrid energy systems because the use a combination of solar and wind power to generate electricity. The wind turbines are mostly used during the winter months (in the northern hemisphere) when the sun’s vertical rays are mostly directed toward the southern hemisphere, and days tend to be cloudy. During summer months, photovoltaic cells would supplement greatly along with the wind turbine.

By using hybrid solar wind energy systems, a homeowner has the option of using or omitting batteries for storage. Homeowners also have the choice of being “Grid-Tied” or “Net Metered”. This means that your solar wind energy system has the ability to provide electricity not only for your house, but the power company as well. This way, if your solar wind energy system generated more energy than was used, the energy can be sold back to the power company. When you’re selling energy back to the company, your power meter runs backward. The “net metered” system therefore is highly recommended. The grid also works as your “battery backup” when your hybrid solar wind energy system doesn’t provide for your power demands.

Net-metered systems are also recommended because they are easier to install, cost less, and offer better performance.

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