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#269223 - 01/14/09 02:02 PM Some green resources for Canadians
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Hello all!
Here are some resources I have for those wanting to make their homes more sustainable or eco-friendly.
The only way the market will ever change is if people start demanding it. Right now other renovations produce higher returns on investment than sustainable options. The only way we can change this is if the market and those working in the market (Realtors) begin valuing these type of changes over more superficial ones.

You can switch over to sustainable energy sources in Ontario and Alberta today. It is slightly more expensive than traditional energy supplies, but means that you are not using polluting and non-sustainable solutions such as natural gas, or coal; or using potentially dangerous raditation producing nuclear supplies. You can check it out at www.bullfrogpower.com to learn more.

The governments of Canada and Ontario offer rebates and programs to help assist you in retrofiting your home to be more energy efficient and sustainable. There are nearly $10,000 worth of grants available for many households to do this. Take advantage of them. Check out Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/incentives.cfm to learn more about these programs.

For Realtors, you can become more educated on the subject by taking online courses through the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers found at http://www.nagab.org/

If you need more information, message me and I'd be happy to share my resources or experiences in the "green" market.

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#269518 - 01/15/09 08:46 PM Re: Some green resources for Canadians [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Thanks for the list I will check them out but I must say that I like nuclear energy. It gets a bad rap from three mile island and old east block reactors.

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#269660 - 01/16/09 12:16 PM Re: Some green resources for Canadians [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
I don't have a problem with nuclear-- per se. It does use radiactive material, which is highly dangerous-- and the long term effects of this aren't really known. There are many safety precautions that they take to make it safe to use, but to be quite honest, I don't really trust them completely.
The biggest concern I have with nuclear is that it has the potential to be dangerous-- and is incredibly expensive to maintain. Reactors which are non-properly maintained have the potential to devastate-- just ask those living near Chernobyl!

Renewables to me just makes more sense. Long term energy sustainability will have to look to many options though, and not just rely on one energy source. We must diversify.

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#273796 - 02/05/09 12:46 PM SUSTAINABLE LIVING
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
We are fortunate to have RC21 to help get the sustainable living thread jump started. She has considerable knowledge and interest in this topic.

In the coming weeks, look here for some good input from her and other posters on a topic that should be of interest to most real estate agents.

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#274027 - 02/06/09 12:37 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Thank you to Darlene for getting this started! I'm very excited to be a part of this.

The time to change your business practice is now! We are living in a new world, and sustainability is the future. We must begin looking to the ways our actions, our purchases, our services affect the rest of the world.

What can we as Realtors do? First and foremost, we must educate ourselves on the options that do exist. We have the option to make a difference in the way we are building, living and running our businesses. We, as Realtors or property owners can make a change-- but often we feel helpless or overwhelmed.

Builders are building based on demand. We are not demanding sustainable solutions in the building industry in strong enough numbers. We value rennovations and upgrades such as fancy kitchens and bathrooms, so often ignoring other options that may actually save our money and our health in the long run.

So how can we change things? As Realtors we need to educate ourselves and our clients on the importance of sustainable solutions. One of the greatest energy wastes in our society is because of space-- heating, cooling, lighting space for us to live. We can change this. Energy efficient furnaces can reduce this impact significantly in our own homes and offices. This can also reduce our energy bills. We can reduce our water use by simple means-- low flow shower heads or faucets are simple, relatively cost-effective solutions. So suggest to your clients the importance of these features and encourage them gently to think of these things when they go to purchase a new home. This is our first step to change.

As consumers-- ask your Realtor for these options, begin voicing your opinion on the matter. If you demand sustainable options in the market-- they WILL come.

We can all help to encourage these solutions by using our democracies to our advantage. Contact your government and ask them to take steps to regulate the building industry. To encourage them to begin building in new ways.

There are lots of options, and I hope that we can all work together in this forum (and others) to discuss ways that we can make this change happen more quickly.

Change is already happening. If you do not get into this market now, as a Realtor-- you will soon be left behind. So start educating yourself and get ahead of the game.

It takes baby steps-- but we can get there!

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#274261 - 02/07/09 05:47 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
This is a good topic. Two years ago I found a developer who was about to start selling lots on our island. I sent him numerous letter, emails and phone calls. None where returned. I had a simple marketing ideal. Alter the Building Scheme to make it an eco subdivision. I had two reporters from various news papers and a producer from the CBC radio who where ready to write some articles about the development and or do a radio show on it.

The building scheme was not going to be that harsh but little thinks like 15% recycled lumber, low flow toilets, passive solar if it could be incorporated, etc... just simple things that make sence.

The developer thought I was crazy and listed with another firm. Just lots no green development for him, no press, no zing. At last look only a few have sold. He missed the boat.

I still think developers could do this by using the mechanism of the "building scheme" and making it a green development. I know it has been done over the last few years but there are still lots of opportunities that make since in a green way both financially and environmentally.

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#274313 - 02/08/09 06:01 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
That is sad that he would not take the time to even discuss what you were offering him...free advertisement, free media coverage, a chance to do some good and draw some attention to his development. These developers need to wake up and start researching how they can make a difference in these new communities. It's not all about the playground. Once a subdivision is built, it's there for 50 years or more. One small change for the better will reap benefits for years to come. Too bad you were met with such indifference.

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#274351 - 02/08/09 10:43 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Their loss not mine. It would have been nice to pull it off but had I a big years the last few years and really did not miss the business. That's what ironic that they did not sell at the top of the market and now his profit is sitting up there depreciating and it is to late to change the development. As far as I'm considered he is getting what he sowed. Last year before the downturn people where looking for green projects. If he had thought about marketing out side of the box and taken a chance that some people want to do their part he would have (my assumption) sold out.

There is no reason why green can not make economic since if it is done is a practical way. Most of the green revolution is just basic ideals. Just look at passive solar as an example it just simple design concepts that same money/energy in the long run.

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#274430 - 02/08/09 03:41 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
You've hit the nail on the head Salty. I think that is the biggest misperception-- that it is much more expensive to be sustainable, which is why the builders avoid it.
What they don't realise is that it can actually be incredibly profitable to the builders, AND money-saving in the long-run for the consumers.
Simple things like passive solar, or grey-water systems or low-flow water attachments or efficient heating can be similarly priced to other building materials, but have the added bonus of being able to be extensively marketed and sold at a higher price.
Check out these links if you are unsure what greywater systems or passive solar are: Passive Solar
Grey Water Sytems


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#274451 - 02/08/09 05:02 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Yes and there is even a role for the government to amend the building code such as grey water systems which do not meet code in BC I do not know about ON or other states/prov.

The development I was talking about happened to be on top of a wind swept mountain and I had a quote for a small wind turbine that would produce approx 5% of the power needs. This was not cheap but would of taken the development to the next level.

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#274476 - 02/08/09 06:43 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Good information. Glad to see that the power to operate the pump was included in discussion and equasion. Very interesting diagram. I'm going to show it to my plumber, which unfortunately, I need right now.

I have learned a lot about grey water and black water since moving into my travel trailer last month. Before that, I don't know if I had ever heard the expressions before. Some RV folks wash out the black water tank with the grey water but it does require a little retrofitting. This process does more than conserve water, according to the article I read. It keeps the black water tank clean. If it works on an RV, it would be a real time saver. Some trailers (like mine) have a sewer washout nozzle but others have to run the hose (NOT the fresh water hose, of course) from the water faucet through a window into the bathroom whenever they empty the black water tank. I can see the plus in not having to handle all that mess and risk contamination of the faucet if proper procedures are not followed. So I guess I am saying that RV folks would see a real benefit from this retrofitting, whereas homes have no holding tank so it may be more of a socially responsible project that saves them on their water bill, also. We need more homeowners who think like that.

I'm showing the diagram to my plumber when he comes next week to fix my leak.

As far as solar is concerned, I do have solar heating. Unfortunately, it only works when the sun hits my windows on a very warm day. I hope to learn a lot from this trailer about conservation before I buy another house.

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#274532 - 02/09/09 12:02 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
The grey water system is a pretty good one-- saves a lot of water.
I have heard that it is actually not considered up to code in certain places Salty! Craziness, I cannot understand that.

The more companies and people who start thinking outside the box and start thinking of and creating better options-- the better for us. Imagine never having to pay an electricity bill again because you generate your own? I'd sure love to.

These things make economic long-term sense. The overall cost-- including environmental costs-- is much much less.

One thing we can do in real estate (and other businesses) is get a virtual fax. You probably already have a cellphone or blackberry and a computer. Have all your faxes sent electronically to you, and print only that which is needed. Ask your office to implement a paperless fax. Save copies of all your faxes in a file. You just saved energy, paper and money-- and you can get it anywhere.

My office went to a virtual fax system. At first it was frustrating, because I had to go and print some parts of it out (because they were contracts that needed to be signed)-- so it seemed like extra work. But once you get used to the system-- it's actually quite useful. You have to go into the office less to pick up paperwork-- it's always with you.

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#274578 - 02/09/09 10:37 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2238
Loc: Outer Banks
Originally Posted By: RC21
The grey water system is a pretty good one-- saves a lot of water.


Have you ever experienced the use of grey water? I showed some houses with it being used in the irrigation system for the neighborhood. The water was frozen on the grass about 2 inches thick and it was a brown color. Very nasty looking and I would not want automatic sprinklers in my yard spewing waste whether is was disinfected or not.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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#274592 - 02/09/09 11:11 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Bigtoe]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Just curious was the house in a town called three mile island? Was the water glowing? I think there are some good applications but it is not a cure all. I prefer a double wall heat exchanger that pull the heat off the waste water that pre heats the incoming water.


Edited by Salty Agent (02/09/09 11:15 AM)

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#274603 - 02/09/09 12:23 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
I have experienced the use of grey water systems-- and if installed and maintained properly, they are quite effective. In fact, you would hardly notice a difference from any other system.
It is not the water from your toilet that is used to spray your lawn... so I'm unsure why the water was frozen, brown and full of waste and several inches thick. This seems quite strange to me.

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#274799 - 02/10/09 07:59 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2238
Loc: Outer Banks
I guess there are 2 types of "grey water". The 2 "grey water" systems I am familiar with are used in 2 subdivisions. The "grey water" is treated effluent that is being sprayed on the lawns instead of on leach fields. The "grey water" comes from all of the waste that the houses create not just sink water.

These systems work great when they are brand new but as with all mechanical systems efficiency goes down with time and eventually components break down. Both systems here are brand new and were installed not to be green but to save on the cost of the land required for the leach fields.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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#274970 - 02/10/09 06:35 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Bigtoe]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
There are different ways of doing grey water systems... it is more about thinking about the ways to reduce the water usage by reusing some water in other places where possible.
For example, some systems take the grey water from sinks and showers and funnel them into toilet water (where it is just going to be met with waste anyways), or into other uses.
Waste water with phosphates and other chemicals should not be leached into the soil! It can be incredibly harmful to the health of the community and the environment. Certain chemicals that we flush down the toilet or wash with are incredibly harmful to plant and animal life (including humans). This includes our use of anti-bacterial soaps. Exposure to low-level antibiotics makes for more resistant strains of bacteria that will no longer be responsive to anti-biotics. There is only soo much water, and we just continue to add more phosphates, more anti-biotics, more pharmeceticals, more chemicals to a limited supply. We are constantly exposed to low levels of chemicals which can cause all sorts of problems to our health and well-being.
Of course components will break down (just like roofs, heating systems, etc)-- but if maintained properly they can last for many many years. These systems are incredibly cost effective. In fact, they can actually save as much as 50% (or more) from your water usage, meaning great savings.

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#276377 - 02/17/09 03:49 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
A quick way to be more sustainable in your business-- use business cards, mailers and advertising that are more environmentally conscious.
There are many companies now that offer business cards and other advertising on recycled paper or use non-toxic materials. Google "recycled business cards", you'll find at least one company. They can also use vegetable based inks and water reduced printing systems. Think of how much waste your company creates in mailers, business cards, etc. This could be drastically reduced by taking a little more effort to find a different printer. It is also a unique way to advertise yourself and set yourself apart.
Little things can make a big difference.

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#276546 - 02/18/09 01:36 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Let's help get ourselves out of the building slump by providing some alternatives in the market. North America is slowly getting behind by not upping its commitment to sustainable technologies.
Check out
http://www.propertywire.com/hot-topics/sustainable-housing.html
for some details on global sustainable properties.

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#278553 - 02/28/09 01:33 PM Wind Energy
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
It costs anywhere between $2,000-$8,000/per kilowatt power produced to purchase a small wind turbine. However, the wind turbine costs represent only 12%-48% of the total cost of a small wind electric system. There are also costs for other components, such as inverters and batteries, as well as sales tax, installation charges and labour. People sometimes opt to install the turbine themselves.

After installation, there are maintenance costs, as with any mechanical device. These are said to average approximately 1% of the original cost per year. The blades and bearings need to be replaced approximately every ten years. The wind turbine can last 20-30 years (or longer) if properly installed and maintained. It must be oiled, greased and safety inspected regularly. Bolts and electrical connections must be checked annually, along with checking for corosion and to ensure proper tension on the guy wires.

In cold conditions the turbine will have to de-iced and the batteries must be stored in an insulated place. Turbines should never be placed on a rooftop, as they are said to cause damage to the roof through vibrations. There have also been some complaints of noise or vibrations causing discomfort to those living inside a home with a turbine on the roof.

The turbine does produce noise. From a distance of 250 m away a typical wind turbine produces approximately 45 dB (A) decibels) of noise. This is similar to the noise inside a typical office building. If not properly installed or maintained, turbines have the potential to get louder.

The blades of most turbines are made of fibreglass or wood, and as such are transparent to electromagnetic waves such as radio and tv.

They should be placed in a large open area with a certain level of wind (which varies depending on the type and size of the turbine). It is recommended to have them in an open area free of trees or buildings, approximately 1/2 an acre or more in size for best use.

From what I have read, the claim that wind turbines are dangerous to birds is misleading, with a large window on a home posing more of a threat. This can be reduced with certain measures, such as netting.

Wind power does not create toxic by-products in its generation. Some of the material inside the batteries can be toxic, and should be disposed of properly. Overall, the environmental impact and toxicity of turbines is considerably less than the use of fossil-based or nuclear energy. The electrical components should be stored properly to keep away children or animals, like any other mechanical or electronic devices capable of carrying electricity.

There are a couple types of wind turbines, the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) and the vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), a design more like an egg-beater.

An adequate wind turbine can generate 50-100%+ of a household energy needs. If it creates a surplus of energy, this energy can usually be sold to a local energy provider. How much do you pay for energy every year? If your energy bill was $0 every year, how much would you save? How long would these savings take to pay for the system? Probably much less than 20 years, the lifespan of a typical wind turbine.

A wind turbine is not for every property or person, and is best used in combination with other energy systems (such as passive heating and cooling, geothermal systems and solar devices). But if you live in a rural environment and have space available, it is an option you should consider. There are government grants available to help subsidize the costs, and savings in the long term will help pay for the system.

If you had the property available to install a wind turbine would you?

Have you heard any success or horror stories about wind power?

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#284384 - 03/31/09 11:00 PM No fuel, no power home.
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Constant year-round temperature in your home with no outside power or fuel necessary:
http://enertia.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Thought it was interesting.

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#286723 - 04/19/09 05:55 AM Planet Forward - Watch PBS and prepare to be informed
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Just caught this program tonight but I think it premiered on April 15. Planet Forward is a very impressive undertaking - Panels of people concerned abut where energy is headed...discussions, videos, short documentaries, plus a rap song and a cartoon and an absolutely entertaining and informative approach to getting a lot of different ideas on the table for discussion. I don't know how to describe it to make it sound interesting, but I couldn't leave the screen. This program includes experts, policymakers, citizens and the American consumer. People will have a chance to be heard on their opinion of the challenge in front of us. This could be the venue that the average American uses to stay informed and to share ideas on one of the biggest challenges of our times: Do we leave the fossil fuels behind? If so, how do we do it?

According to their web site, the discussion's just beginning on Planet Forward. Selected citizen contributors will be featured on the Planet Forward web sequel, which premiers May 21.

Even the statistics were impressive. They did a fantastic job of discussing the costs of a lot of our options, at least as best they can be estimated.

The solar panels we see now will soon be built into the shingles that go on the roof - that was great info. I also learned that, like my propane bottles on my travel trailer, the batteries in electric cars will soon be switched out or charged at battery stations.

The program dealt with what other countries are doing as well as our options. Of course, the solution will be a little of everything, not one single answer. The web site should have lots of good info. Not sure if this program will be ongoing or is just a short run series. If at all possible, try to watch it or take in the web site.

I was happy to see a happy homeowner showing a monthly check for $98 that the light company paid him for his unused energy. The initial setup was pricey, of course. I did like the way the program addressed costs on the areas they were covering.

Try to catch this program. You won't be sorry.


Edited by Darlene B (04/19/09 05:56 AM)

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#297297 - 07/06/09 03:57 PM Steel Framed Homes
Alex11 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 32
Loc: California, Mission Viejo
Is anyone working with steel framed homes?
A friend owns a company that builds them. I am wondering how much demand there is for green building in this market.

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#297459 - 07/07/09 02:12 PM Re: No fuel, no power home. [Re: RC21]
Alex11 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 32
Loc: California, Mission Viejo
The site is interesting. The packages are pretty expensive. Do you know anybody who has used them?

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#297460 - 07/07/09 02:34 PM Re: No fuel, no power home. [Re: Alex11]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
http://enertia.com/WhatsNew/Testimonials/tabid/112/Default.aspx

That is the link to the testimonial page on the web site.

These homes are probably few and far between compared to conventional subdivision homes. It will be a while before most of us can say we have been inside one. As these new techniques become more widespread in the coming years, we will see a shift to customized homebuilding and a thinning out of the conventional homebuilders. Actually, the customized, innovative homebuilding will become conventional. Won't that be great?

Somehow I overlooked this post. I will spend some time in the web site tonight.

Today's subdivisions will be peaking out a lot sooner than subdivsions 40 or 50 years ago. Back then, homeowners had very little to tempt them except bigger kitchens and CH/A. Today at least some buyers feel that will take money that a large subdivision home would cost and put it into a smaller home that offers long range savings.

Great site, RC21.

Excuse any typos. My home is full of yellow jackets, and we have no formal weapons agreement.

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#305158 - 09/05/09 02:17 AM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Alex11]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast

Alex, I somehow overlooked this post. I would like to see this thread on steel framed housing get some feedback.

Check this out...the Steel Framing Alliance. I found this on their web site...Sustainable Green Steel Framed Homes. Here is link to that web page:

http://www.designandbuildwithmetal.com/AIA_CEU/Programs/sfa_sfa506.aspx

I spotted this link on the website for metal roofing. The name says it all.

http://www.coolmetalroofing.org/

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#370829 - 03/26/11 10:49 PM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I love these little pocket communities. See what you think about these small clusters of green homes. Kinda pricy but what a great life these folks must have living in one of these communities.

http://www.cottagecompany.com/

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#372992 - 04/17/11 08:46 PM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
ReferralAgents Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 22
Loc: Florida, USA
Wow, I would say very pricey. What would be more intersting to see is the trade off of paying for a more expensive home with less square footage and how that relates to the savings/benefits you would receive for living in the green home. Plus, what is the maintanence cost for the up keep of the green components of the building.

Don't get me wrong, I love green homes and green building, I'm a LEED AP, just wish there was more evidence provided by the builder/developer about the maintenance costs and so on. Just selling some one on the idea of a green home is sometimes just a marketing scam and real facts on savings as well as the true benefits of the engery efficient design would be nice to see once and awhile.

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#373008 - 04/18/11 04:51 AM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I think the cluster or pocket neighborhoods offer more than just the green home...they offer a lifestyle that appeals to many people. Instant friendships with people who have common goals, weekend barbecues with the neighbors, walking trails where the kids will be safe, fewer homes so strangers will not be confused with neighborhood residents, bike trails so folks don't have to travel to the spa to get a little exercise. Possibly those items drive up the price some. The Cottage homes in the link were in Puget Sound and had waterfront access, so that would have some impact.

I am very happy green homes are sprouting up, especially after the last ten years of boxes with cathedral ceilings and short driveways. How disgusting it is to see these subdivisions with huge homes so close together that they look like one long townhome project when you first enter the subdivision. Cars have to park everywhere because the builder did not provide a small lot for visitor parking. Driveways are short so cars stick out over the sidewalks and force kids, seniors and the disabled into the street. They are tomorrow's sad neighborhoods.

You do have an excellent point about the trade-off. While it is wonderful that green building is now accepted by mainstream buyers and builders in the residential markets, there will be problems for a long time as technology catches up. Today's subdivision sales offices have displays in their lobbies that show the type insulation offered, how it compares to their competition's insulation of choice, samples of their energy efficient windows and lots of convincing handouts. The basic stats and visual aids are there to sway the buyer who is interested. However, doing the type comparison you are discussing will take ready and able green buyers who will ask the right questions and put forth an effort to do some serious due diligence. Hopefully their agents will have some LEED training or at least stand by what they have learned through their green classes. If they have had no green agent training, they can still advise their anxious buyers to look before they leap. I have little doubt these homes will be more green than their competitors with the smaller price tag. Your concerns are more about the long range benefits...and we already have an idea how some of these green homes will score further down the road. They will perform efficiently for a while, then need the maintenance you mentioned (and it will not be cheap), then become outdated as green technology improves by leaps and bounds. Still, if folks buy now and create a market for green homes, then the next generation will benefit just as this one did because twenty years ago people purchased hideous large solar panels for their homes. God bless those folks because that was really a gamble back then given that people had little to go on but a salesperson's promise and a hope for the future. One thing we have going for us is the school children, learning in kindergarten and elementary school about being green...planting, watering, recycling. They will grow up to be the green consumers of tomorrow and they will be able to do their cost studies and make wiser choices.

I will pass on commenting on the marketing scam because you called it correctly. I just wonder how many mold remediators bought new business cards with a new title, "Green Home Consultant" or something close. Education is the answer and the internet is the solution. There is no excuse for not learning how to protect your money if you have a computer.

Please go to the LEED thread and post some information for these buyers when you get time. Some go to subdivisions without any representation at all. They will do well to listen when people with LEED training speak to them. I certainly would if I were going to spend $300,000 more or less on a green home.

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#396523 - 12/09/11 06:24 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Here is some good info on water heaters. Water heaters are always a good topic since they have improved so much over the years and we now have more options. This article points out that the newer options may not be the best...showing some good points about the old water heaters that are now higher tech and more efficient.

http://omparamapoonya.hubpages.com/hub/energy_efficient_water_heaters

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#397038 - 12/16/11 04:09 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
75Corvette Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 1209
Loc: Ohio
Darlene, that was an interesting article. I especially liked the comparison of gas vs. electric utility bills, and the discussion of comparative installation costs for tankless heaters. My water heater is getting up there and I've been thinking about replacing it before I have a problem. An electric tankless was one of my considerations (because I can't get natural gas, $%##*&). I think I'll stick to a high efficiency standard model--plus, I can install it myself. I hate paying other people to do my work! smile

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#397112 - 12/18/11 04:34 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: 75Corvette]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Saving a bundle on installation up front is always a good thing. I am not sure just what installation costs run these days but I am thinking it will be quite a bit more than my last replacement bill some 15 years ago...only $75. Plus, you will be installing a very efficient water heater, so you will have savings on that end also. Guess you have a start to your 2012 Things to Do List.

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#397124 - 12/18/11 09:46 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
75Corvette Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 1209
Loc: Ohio
Ha ha good point, but I started on my 2012 To Do list back in about 2006 grin

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#398412 - 01/09/12 01:23 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
LegalLawMaster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US...
There are so many great ways to use sustainable energy. One example is using sustainable energy in gyms. The machines in the gym can actually power the gym. Such as bikes in spin classes, etc. It is very interesting and there are gyms doing it out there. Also, there is a village that uses just water power to power their homes. Obviously things like this can be done and people just need to find the will to do it.

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#398463 - 01/09/12 11:26 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: LegalLawMaster]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Now that is a great idea I have not heard...and a great post for this forum. Wonder how the gym would "thank" the patrons for providing them with lower energy costs...maybe have a free health drink once a month or other perks. Some people may just love being a part of such a great project.

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#418069 - 01/08/13 02:18 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RyanLB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/12
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
No mention that solar power is doubling in price performance every two years? I'd say within a decade, that will be one of the most common forms of home-produced energy.

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#418091 - 01/09/13 12:40 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RyanLB]
75Corvette Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 1209
Loc: Ohio
I hope you're right, Ryan, but I'm not holding my breath for solar. Affordable solar power is always "right around the corner" but never seems to materialize. And based on the latest US government scandals involving Solyndra and others, well, I hope my grandkids can someday use solar for their homes, at least.

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#418111 - 01/09/13 08:01 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Scintillion Offline
Member

Registered: 01/26/12
Posts: 437
Loc: Colorado, USA
Going to be more and more important as natural resources become scarce and the population increases to find alternative means of living.

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#437063 - 06/23/14 05:12 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Nashville Homes Offline
Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 113
Loc: Nashville, TN
@75Corvette--

Unfortunately, the vast majority of solar products are manufactured overseas, and importation taxes on them are astronomical. I had family members who wanted to become resellers of solar equipment, but found that the products would be taxed 500% more than their intrinsic value.

I'd be happy to refer you to the company they recommended, however!

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