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Tag Archives: sustainable building
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!!!
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.
March 12, 2009 San Francisco, CA –Erika Burke with Zephyr Real Estate has been awarded the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR”s) Green Designation, the only green real estate professional designation recognized by NAR.
Erika achieved this prestigious designation after completing 18 hours of course work designed specifically for REALTORS®. The courses were created in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of industry experts from across the country; ensuring designees gain comprehensive knowledge of green homes and buildings and issues of sustainability in relation to real estate,
More specifically, Erika was trained in understanding what makes a property green, helping clients evaluate the cost/benefits of green building features and practices, distinguishing between industry rating and classification systems, listing and marketing green homes and buildings, discussing the financial grants and incentives available to homeowners, and helping consumers see a property’s green potential.
“As energy costs rise along with concern for the environment, homeowners are looking for innovative ways to save money and live responsibly,” said Dick Gaylord, NAR’s immediate past president. NAR’s Green Designation was developed in response to growing consumer awareness of the benefits of resource-efficient homes and buildings. The designation helps consumers who care about energy efficiency and sustainable building practices identify REALTORS® who can help them realize their green real estate and lifestyle goals.
As an NAR Green Designee, Erika has gained the knowledge and the tools necessary to become a trusted green resource for San Francisco. For more information about Erika Burke AT Zephyr Real Estate please visit http://erikaburkesf.com or by E-mail [email protected]. Welcome to my GREEN blog at www.GreenBlogSF.com .
Call me Today at 415-279-1135, for your FREE Real Estate consultation.
For more information about NAR’s newest designation, visit http://GreenResourceCouncil.org