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Energy Saving Tips
Some quick tips for how to get organized and add some green and sustainable practices to your life.
Invest in a reusable water bottle….saves so many plastic bottles, and space in your kitchen for the palletes of water bottles.
Reduce your paper billing – whenever you get the chance to pay bills online- do so!
Bring your lunch to work and use washable/reuseable containers to cut down on wasteful disposable packaging!!!
When looking to buy or rent San Francisco Real Estate, think and look for GREEN properties, and detail with your Realtor, Landlord and anyone involved on how to make the property more sustainable!
Carbon Monoxide injuries and fatalities occur most often during the winter months. Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide has no smell and is virtually undetectable. Closed windows limit fresh air circulation so that the danger of carbon monoxide poising is greatest.
Possible sources of that poinsoning are from gas burning appliances such as ranges, ovens, waterheaters, furnaces, etc. Malfunctioning gas burners, defective appliance flues or a damaged furnace are all conditions which can allow carbon monoxide to enter the living space.
Another common source of carbon monoxide entry is from either an improperly lit fireplace or a chimney with inadequate draft. This could be caused from improperly lighting a fire, a partially opened damper or clogged chimney flue.
The symptoms vary from very mild (headaches, drowsiness, joint aches, dizziness) to extreme (flu-like symptoms, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, allergy symptoms, nausea). Depending on the level and length of exposure, carbon monoxide is lethal. Carbon monoxide detectors (similar in design to a standard smoke detector) are readily available (drug stores, hardware stores, home improvement stores) and cost under twenty-five dollars. They are designed to sound a loud alarm when measuring any low level condition of carbon monxide.
In the City of San Francisco an Energy and Water inspection is mandated before the roperty can transfer. During this inspection, the number, placement and effectiveness of smoke detectors are inspected, corrected and/or installed. This is a perfect opportunity to ask for a carbon monoxide detector or the combination smoke and carbon momxide detector to be installed. It may reflect a slightly higher cost for the Buyer or Seller but will be well worth the addition of an important detector that could save lives. OR make sure that you update all of your current smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and go ahead and install them yourself – TODAY!!!
It’s true. It’s New Years Day and I love to do things like clean out closets. So my husband stays smartly out of the way and just came up to tell me that he had insulated our hot water pipes.
Now you may have guessed, we are a GREEN household and always seeing to improve our recycling, energy efficiency, use of natural and re-use products, native gardening improvements and general home repair GREEn upgrades. Natuarally I was pleased to hear he had insulated the pipes.
My husband also happens to be a plumbing contractor in the City of San Francisco and personally he is an avid recycler and energy improver! If he makes a plumbing call to your house, you can almost be sure he will advise you about what you can do to optimize your recylcling and energy comsumption.
Our local San Francisco website for all things GREEN including San Francisco Programs and Policies, Resources plus links to get anything recycled in SF!
Check it out at: www.sfenvironment.org
Howdy! Look what I received today in my ValPak mailer. A coupon from PG&E promoting Recycling, and energy savings. The info below is what was on the coupon with all of their website links too!
Check out the program put into place by PG&E in San Francisco
It’s easy to recycle your old (still working) refigerator! Guess who will do it for free and you will receive $35 dollars too!
www.ApplianceRecycling.com/PGE or PHONE 1-800-299-7573
Here are some other PG&E Links you might find useful
Gavin Newsom just Twittered me about the launch of the new Green Cities Website, which is a collaboration of 10 cities GREEN Goals, we can participate in helping our City “Go GREEN”, read about Best Practices and keep up with what’s happening. Very inpsirational. I’ll be sure to post some of their San Francisco initiatives and events here.
See the article about the launch Here:
and the visit the New WEBSITE website here:
I went camping last weekend and I’m proud to say that all of our equipment that needed batteries, were either wind up flashlights or used rechargeable batteries. We made the original investment and get a feel good vibe everytime we charge our batteries in ad
I am a Realtor representing buyers and Sellers of Real Estate in San Francisco and I make it my business to impart GREEN info to my clients on a regular basis. Ask me about GREEN homes for sale, what you can do now to make GREEN improvements to your current sale OR when preparing your property for sale – ask me what Green features buyers are looking for before beginning your home repairs or improvements.vance and have plenty of light at our campsite and are helping the environment at the same time. Not to mention the resources we are saving when going it outside with the elements…that’s another story. Continue reading
Source: U.S. Green Building Council
More and more Amaericans are discovering the benefits of green homes. The advantages affect consuers’ health, wallet and the environment. For example:
~Toxin-free building materials help combat indoor air ollution, which can be worse than outdoor pollutiona and can pose serious health risks.
~The net cost of owning a greenhome is comparable to – or even cheaper than – owning a standard home.
~Month to month, people who live in green homes save money by consming less energy and less water than standard homes.
~The value of a green home is often higher than that of a comparable standard home, and the amrket demand for green homes continues to rise.
~Local, state, and federal governments are increasingly offering tax breaks and other incentives for building certified green homes or adding green features to an existing home.
!Green homes use 40% less energy than comparable standard homes.
~Efficient plumbing and bathing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and water-conserving irrigation systems help green homes use less water than standard homes.
~Far fewer natural resources are used in the construction of a green home. Many green building materials have significant recyled content.
The biggest culprit of unsustainability in the bathroom comes from excessive water usage, but in dichotomous ways. To truly make your bathroom greener, it is vital to manage the water coming in through the pipes, as well as water that flows out, whether it be through non-low flush toilets, or through the vapor from hot water. You can combat this with low flow showerheads and toilets, and faucet aerators. The showerhead and the faucet aerator both maintain the current feel of water pressure, but use much, much less water. However, the challenge does not simply end with these improvements, as the walls of the room must also be able to withstand the constant barrage of water and humidity, in conjunction with an exhaust fan that can work quietly and efficiently to clear the space of excess humidity. You will also want to invest in durable surfaces that can stand up to time.
Before starting your Bathroom Remodeling Project, make sure you consider the desired function of the room, the existing conditions that one will have to deal with, the scope of the project, the size of the room, and the layout and space planning. Here it is in a little more depth:
A bathroom remodeling project can be enacted for a variety of reasons. And whether it is to fix a leak and its subsequent structural damage, to make the room more convenient, to grow with a family, to improve aesthetics, or just to upgrade the appliances and fixtures; the project will be an opportunity to consider purchasing green products in the face of more luxurious ones that serve a less vital function.
Consider the problems you face when going into the project to best be able to overcome them. For instance, the project could be driven by mold or moisture that has eroded the sanctity of the bathroom, or the electrical wiring for light fixtures and outlets could be old and in dire need of replace, and still others may wish to simply enlarge the space of the room. Think about what your goals are before you settle on a strategy.
When making upgrades and changes to the bathroom, it is helpful to consider improvements to the homes envelope as well. You may need extensive plumbing and wiring in the bathroom, and if you are considering further home remodeling projects, think about how your future goals for the whole house will be affected by the bathroom upgrade. Also, if you design the bathroom to be friendly for the elderly (i.e. higher stalls, wheelchair accessible), you will be able to inhabit the home for a longer period of time.
The larger your end goal, the more expensive and time consuming your project will be. Consider analyzing the current space, and refiguring the location of things to increase the functionality of your bathroom without disrupting other rooms in the house. Thinking of the home as an organism, instead of an object will lead one to understand that the more radical the change, the less likely you are to understand the full impact of the improvements until it is too late.
Layout and Space Planning
Before you get started on any major bathroom remodeling project, consult with an expert contractor who is familiar with the green technology improvements over the past few months. Not only will your options be clearer with the help of an expert, but he may also be able to point you in the right direction for tax credits on qualified items, which can really enhance the value of an energy efficient upgrade.
With proper planning, you should be able to come to a solution that preserves or enhances the aesthetics, while improving resource efficiency.
The information found in this article has been provided by the ReGreen Program, which is the result of the American Society of Interior Designers’ Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council partnering on the development of best practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects. This program will increase understanding of sustainable renovation project practices and benefits among homeowners, residents, design professionals, product suppliers and service providers to build both demand and industry capacity. Learn more at ReGreenProgram.org.
GREENandSAVE.com is a free resource for anyone that wants to save energy, money, and the environment. The articles, product reviews, online tools, and return on investment calculations are researched from a diverse range of public and private sector sources. Overall, the company is passionate about saving money as well as creating healthy homes, offices, and lifestyles.
For a better idea of which improvements to your home will save you the most money the fastest, take a look at GREENandSAVE’s Return on Investment Table for your next Home Remodeling project. Or, consider taking a career in the rapidly expanding Green Industry with the EcoAcademy, which is training people across the country for Green Collar Jobs.
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.
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®
Easy Low-Cost and No-Cost ways to save energy
1) Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
2) Use compact flourescent light bulbs with the ENERGY STAR label.
3) Air dry dishes instead of using your diswasher’s drying cycle.
4) Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
5) Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.)
6) Lower the themostat on your hot water heater to 120F.
7) Take short showers instead of baths.
8) Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
9) Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
10) Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the US Department of Energy and the Envirnomental Protection Agency.
Visit www.energysavers.gov for more energy-saving ideas.