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Monthly Archives: April 2009
State law requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to take removal actions with respect to illegal substances. On or before October 1, 2008, DTSC was required to develop health-based target remediation standards for methamphetamine labs. CAA worked actively on the initial law that put these DTSC standards in place. Hundreds of single family rentals and even some apartment units have been boarded up after a meth lab was found. Clean up standards were imperative in order to get these units back on line.
AB 1489 changes existing remediation standards for the benefit of the property owners while taking into consideration the safety of the tenants. The standards have now been developed and various studies have found that property contaminated by methamphetamine laboratory activity is safe for human occupancy if the level of methamphetamine on an indoor surface is less than, or equal to 1.5 micrograms per 100 square centimeters. The standard currently established in law is lower and harder to achieve at .1 micrograms per 100 square feet.
CAA supports this legislation. The bill currently has passed out of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Retrofitting is an easy way to institute lower-level upgrades to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, conserve resources and meet other green goals.
Some options include:
Lighting controls such as timers, dimmers and occupancy sensors
ENERGY STAR Appliances
Retrofit kits for wood-burning fireplaces
Water filters on faucets
Weather-stripping and caulking
In the real estate world of San Francisco a required inspection is the “Energy Inspection” which includes wrapping of the water heater, weatherstripping, insulating accessible areas like your attic, duct wrapping and more. I can put you in touch with my “Go to” energy inspector who can do the inspection for a very small fee and perform the work. You can then have an energy compliance certificate filed with the City upon completion. If you haven’t done this already upon the transfer of your last purchase or sale, this is a good time to do it. Give me a ring.
I called “Cleanerrific” on the reccommendation of one of my colleagues at Zephyr Real Estate . I was delighted to find that they are a subsidiary of The Jewish Family & Childrens Services and a provide training and employment for those that are learning to be self reliant. It is important for me to continually contribute to what I call “the full circle way”.
The JCFS trains and helps these people become valuable employees. I employ them. They clean your house after you’ve moved out or before you move in and everyone is happy, participating and giving back.
I spoke with their Director who told me they are 90% GREEN with their solvents and cleaning supplies…which is commendable and necessary. Cleanerrific is just that, a terrific organization providing much needed services and they have an important mission and message.
I am more than happy to pay it forward. In this case, I’m giving my client his house cleaning as a closing gift. His hardwood floors will be waxed and buffed and his new home sparkling.
“Imagine having a sparkling home or office, PLUS the good feeling of giving back to the community. You get both when you hire Cleanerific, Jewish Family and Children’s Services residential and commercial janitorial service.” And they are GREEN too!
Catch the Green Wave
Just outside of the tiny town of Saybrook, Illinois is some of the “greenest” farmland to be found anywhere in the Midwest. This pic was snapped traveling down a lovely country blacktop last October.These graceful towers are absolutely silent, but are generating power for thousands of residents in Illinois. That’s a good thing, because in the United States alone, buildings alone account for:
• 70% of electricity
• 39% of all energy use
• 39% of all (CO2) emissions
• 40% of raw materials use
• 30% of waste output
(136 million tons annually)
• 12% of potable water
Sustainable residences, commercial properties, developments, and communities are so important to all of us. If you are seeking a green home or building, there are real estate professionals who specialize in “green.”
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Green Designation is the definition of green professionalism, excellence, and leadership for today’s real estate practitioners. This training program is specifically designed to address the educational needs of practitioners in residential, commercial, and property management markets. The program provides real estate professionals with the knowledge and awareness of green building principles applied in residences, commercial properties, developments, and communities so that they can list, market, and manage green properties as well as guide buyer-clients, in purchasing green homes and buildings.
The Green Designation enables real estate professionals to incorporate green principles into their practice and encourages the real estate professional to be an advocate in spreading the green philosophy and be a positive force for creating sustainable and energy efficient communities of homes and commercial buildings.
What does it really mean when it comes to being a homeowner or looking for that eco-friendly home?
A homeowner can do many things to go green in the home. For example, some tips regarding electricity according to Planet Green are:
· Audit yourself – determine how energy is used in your home, where it is lost, etc. Many utilities offer energy audits as a free service.
· Reduce your use – replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLS);turn off lights and devices when not in use; eliminate electronics that sleep on a standby setting as they continue to pull electric even when turned off; line dry (when possible)
· Put your house on a diet – Houses consume a large amount of energy when heating and cooling. To cut down on costs, utilize natural ventilation instead of air conditioning when possible such as ceiling and whole-house fans. Keep shades drawn during the hottest period of the day in the summer. If you use electric for your water heater, purchase an insulated blanket to wrap around the water heater.
· Buy wise – After heating and cooling, appliances are the next biggest electricity users. When purchasing new appliances, look for the EnergyGuide label which shows consumption in terms of kWh per year. Additionally, look for the Energy Star rating.
When purchasing a green home, not only are you helping the environment, but you have the ability to take advantage of energy-efficient mortgages.
1. Energy-efficient homes and energy efficient mortgages – Check out “Financing Energy Efficiency: An EEM Handbook” by Randy Martin. The book discusses what energy efficient mortgages are (loans with relaxed credit standards and favorable interest rates for houses meeting prescribed energy standards) and FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage requirements. http://www.resnet.us/ratings/overview/default.htm
2. Residential Energy Services Network RESNET is one of the principal groups of green housing-minded practitioners, lenders, builders, etc. The group is guided by a committee of mortgage lenders offering energy-efficient mortgages. http://www.resnet.us/about/resnet.htm
3. EPA Energy Star – Existing homes EPA’s Energy Star Program is used by lenders as the standard of determining energy efficiency. Borrowers whose houses meet the standard qualify for the favorable terms of energy-efficient mortgages. EPA’s existing-home site contains information on the top energy saving improvements and how to save money by using energy-efficient improvements as part of the remodeling process. http://www.energystar.gov/
4. EPA Energy Star – New Homes – EPA provides information on its Energy Star Program as it applies to the new-home market. Website features resources on finding a new-home builder, lender, energy-use rater, and utility programs that promote energy efficiency. http://www.energystar.gov/
5. National Energy Raters Association – NERA is an association of professionals who rate and verify home energy efficiency and consult with practitioners, lenders, buyers, sellers and others on improving home efficiency. http://www.energyraters.org/
Tips taken with permission from the National Association of REALTORS®