Sustainable Choices in the City

Houseplants are Easy-How To Secret!

Houseplants.  We are 7×7 in San Francisco.  That is 7 miles by 7 miles.  Not all of us have outdoor space, though in the City many of us are lucky to have our little slice of land in the back yard.  If you don’t have that, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fabulous greenery that is living, in your very own home.

Here is my best kept secret.  Purchase potting soil and a pot that is a little bigger than the plant you have purchased, drop in a screen to cover the hole in the bottom of the pot (purchased at a garden supply store) and some gravel or old pot shards as a small bottom layer. Ease the plant out of the pot by turn it on its’ side and holding close to the stem(s), drop it into the pot with some soil previously placed in the pot leveling the top of your new plant about 1-2” below the rim.  Surround it with soil and press the plant down, and tamp the soil down lightly.

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The Estates Group, Erika Burke Meets Zillows’ Tommy Casias

Today I met Zillows’ Tommy Casias for lunch at a favorite spot within walking distance of our office, Osha Thai on Valencia and 18th St. Yummm! On the way I snapped Tommy at one of the Valencia corridor parklets. It’s easy to do business in our wonderful city with inspiring restaurants and representation. Here we are going to work for our buyers and sellers making sure our Zillow information is current and valuable. Thanks Tommy.

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GREEN Seminar Coming UP in San Francisco

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3 GREEN ideas for 2010

Some quick tips for how to get organized and add some green and sustainable practices to your life.

  1. Invest in a reusable water bottle….saves so many plastic bottles, and space in your kitchen for the palletes of water bottles.

  2. Reduce your paper billing – whenever you get the chance to pay bills online- do so!

  3. Bring your lunch to work and use washable/reuseable containers to cut down on wasteful disposable packaging!!!

  4. 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!

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Installation of a Carbon Monoxide Detector Suggested

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!!!

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Insulate Your Pipes! Save Money!

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.

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Great local Environmental Website

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

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Recycle your Fridge, Earn a Gas Credit, Use CFL’s by PG&E in San Francisco

fridge recyclingold fridgeHowdy!  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

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San Francisco Real Estate Links for GREEN Buyers and Sellers

Green cityHey Folks!
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:

http://www.greenerbuildings.com/blog/2009/10/21/green-cities-california-unveils-best-practices-website

and the visit the New WEBSITE website here:

http://greencitiescalifornia.org/

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Stay at Green Hotels when you can – Great Link here.

Taken from the California Association of Realtors Green Tip of the Week: Sustainable Sleeps
If you’re traveling, consider staying at green hotels.  Hunt for green lodging at http://www.istaygreen.org

greenhotelsErika Burke, Realtor, CRS, e-Pro, GREEN has earned the National Association of Realtors GREEN designation.  For more information visit C.A.R.’s Green Web site (http://green.car.org).

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Re-Charge It! Camping & Batteries – Lots of ‘Em

recylcled batteries

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

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Community Gardens in San Francisco

Potrero Hill Community Garden
Potrero Hill Community Garden

There are over 50 community gardens in San Francisco.

I’m going to make it my business to visit every one of them! I wonder of one of them has an open plot available. I visited the one on Lawton and 7th Aveunue, just behind the pumpkin patch.  When you purchase your pumpkins with the kids, be sure to walk behind and see the community garden there. There was a waiting list for that one and I bet there are waiting lists for others. I’ll report back and what I see, with pics and who I talk to as well! I bet it will be interesting.
Here is a link with a list of the current community gardens in San Francisco. FYI
http://www.sfgro.org/sfgardens.php

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