Category Archives: Featured

Coming Down to the Wire to Save on Green Home Upgrades

Tax credits for green upgrades expire soonWe are down to the last few days to save on taxes by purchasing energy-efficient upgrades, so don’t delay. The tax experts at the Equifax Finance Blog point out just what it takes to earn the

federal tax credits and offer more great tips, as well!

On December 31, the legislation that gives homeowners a federal tax credit expires so be sure to go out and purchase any energy efficient windows, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps and insulation before then. Many cities and states also offer tax credits to homeowners who make energy-efficient home improvements, such as dual-paned windows, solar-powered systems and tankless water heaters. Just like the federal tax credit, you don’t need have everything installed, but you do need to make the purchase before the year ends and let Uncle Sam finance your future energy savings.

These upgrades can make your home both look and feel better, but also save you on month–to-month upkeep and, if you are considering upgrades for putting your home on the market in 2014, can add to your curb appeal. After all, homebuyers love saving money and will value your investment to help them decrease energy costs. Best of all, upgrading now rather than waiting means you get to enjoy the savings, too!

The full article, “

Five Real Estate Tax Tips You Should Know Before 2014” has many more ways you can save on your 2014 taxes, but you better act fast! The Equifax Finance Blog has more information about how to go green and save green, as well as key information on credit scores, retirement planning, budget balancing and much more.

Green Built Blog Tops Green Construction Websites List

Green Built BlogConstructionManagementDegree.com recently compiled a list of the ‘Top 100 Construction Sites on the Web,’ and Green Built Blog came in at no. 1 in the Green Construction section. The Green Built Blog keeps consumers and builders alike up-to-date with the latest green housing news. Their articles often feature builders with green programs and incentives for green retrofits as well as information about the latest green trends and communities.

ConstructionManagementDegree.com is an online resource that was created in 2010 for students considering a career in construction management. The site compiles comprehensive lists of campus and online degree information for those considering this career path as well as offering them an unbiased database to find articles, information and trends in the construction management industry.

The Construction Management Degree website describes the Green Built Blog as a place, “You can get current green housing news that touches on topics such as energy-efficient homes, green building legislation, green design trends, and green events at this blog.”

They comment about the Green Built Blog further by saying, “From residents to commercial building owners and contractors, you can learn about the latest environmentally-sound news here.”

Check out the Green Built Blog online today and see why it has topped the ‘Green Construction’ section of the Top 100 Construction Sites on the Web.

For more information on green Atlanta new homes, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

Green Retrofit for Tapestry Youth Ministries By HomeAid Atlanta

HomeAidHomeAid Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that builds and maintains housing for the homeless, in partnership with the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, recently began an energy efficient initiative as part of their Environmental Sustainability Program. This initiative is aimed to help Atlanta nonprofits serving the homeless, by retrofitting their current facilities to make them more capable and energy efficient.

Made possible by a large donation to HomeAid Atlanta’s parent organization, HomeAid America, this green program was launched after receiving an astounding $600,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

This past September Tapestry Youth Ministries, a College Park based nonprofit organization serving homeless teen-mothers and their children, became part of HomeAid Atlanta’s energy efficient initiative. Using Green Day Energy Company, a partner of HomeAid Atlanta, an extensive evaluation and green retrofit was made in the home Tapestry Youth Ministries uses for their base of operation.

HomeAidAtlantaGreen Day Energy made several improvements at the Tapestry home including the addition of low flow faucets and toilets, improving the insulation with upgrades and adding air seals, even the simplest change of energy efficient lighting was done. Overall, Green Day Energy estimates the Tapestry Youth Ministries home could now save almost $9,000 per year in energy costs! That number is staggering for a small nonprofit, but it is also encouraging for nonprofits of all sizes to realize that green building and green retrofitting could be just what your organization needs to reduce energy costs and increase facility capabilities.

For more information about this HomeAid Atlanta Environmental Sustainability Program, please visit the HomeAid Atlanta website.

2013 NAHBGreen Awards Now Accepting Entries

2013 NAHBGreen AwardsThe National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is pleased to announce that they are now accepting submissions for its 2013 NAHBGreen Awards. Individuals, companies and organizations are recognized annually for excellence in residential green design and construction practices, advocacy efforts and green building programs.

This year, the award winners will be announced in conjunction with the 2012 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on January 23.

“The NAHBGreen Awards showcase the best and most innovative work in green,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This is an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized for their hard work.”

Both members and non-members can apply for these prestigious awards. In order to be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2012.

Project of the Year award categories include: single family, multifamily, remodel and site development. You may also enter to win Advocate of the Year.

All projects must be scored to the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by using on the online Green Scoring Tool.

All entries must be received by October 18, and application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.

For more information or to apply, visit www.nahb.org/greenawards. For examples of green building in Atlanta, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad Riedy at criedy@nahb.org.

How Energy Code Changes Affect Atlanta Home Building

energy code changesWondering how current and future energy code changes could affect your construction or renovation plans? Attend the Greater Atlanta HBA Green Building Council‘s expert energy code panel on Thursday, September 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the Southface Energy Institute (241 Pine Street, Atlanta 30308).

The panelists will discuss current, upcoming and future building and energy code requirements for construction in the Atlanta metro area and the state of Georgia. They will also provide insight into the reasoning behind energy efficiency code requirements as well as tips and tricks for implementing these requirements and designs in the field. This is a great opportunity for industry professionals to network and learn about green Atlanta new home building.

Panelists include Chris Laumer-Giddens of LG Squared, Lande Beaton of Vis Viva Energy & Service, Ryan Taylor of Ryan Taylor Architects and Rick Logan who is the head building official for the city of Decatur.

Lunch will be provided at this event. Registration for council members is $25 and the cost for non-members is $35.

The Atlanta Green Building Council is devoted to uniting professionals who work with green building and related products and services within the housing industry. The council aims to provide and promote green certification programs and educational as well as networking opportunities.

For more information, please contact Janel Grant at jgrant@atlantahba.com or 678-775-1446. For more on the Greater Atlanta HBA, please visit their website.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Celebrates Third Anniversary

partnership for sustainable communitiesLast week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming joined Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Regional Administrator Dr. Yvette Taylor to celebrate the third anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The interagency collaboration helps communities nationwide improve their access to affordable housing, lower transportation costs and increase transportation options, while protecting people’s health and the environment.

“Three years ago, EPA embarked on this innovative partnership to change how we interact with our stakeholders and bring about change in the community,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming.   “The programs and projects that are now in place here in Atlanta and across the Southeast, exemplify what can be accomplished when citizens, states, cities and federal agencies work together.  We look forward to continuing this partnership and assisting each of these communities in achieving its long-term economic, environmental and public health goals.

“Atlanta’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities has really allowed us to do the kind of essential projects that invest directly in our communities, reduce transportation costs for our families, improve house affordability, save energy and increase access to work, play and home,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.  “I applaud the EPA, HUD, the Department of Transportation and Department of Labor for their tremendous efforts.  Through this partnership, we can work as a team to support ongoing initiatives, promote economic development and receive technical assistance on vital projects.”

Since announcing the partnership, agencies have dedicated more than $2.5 billion in assistance nationally to more than 200 communities in 48 states to help meet transportation and housing goals, while also promoting equitable development, protecting the environment and addressing climate change. In addition, $238 million has been spent on America’s rural communities.

The partnership, now in its fourth year, works to provide communities with faster, streamlined access to federal resources and programs, and works closely with other states, local governments and federal agencies to ensure that partnership programs use federal resources effectively.

For more information about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, visit:www.sustainablecommunities.gov/.

Going Green Making a Universal Impact

green building universal impactIt seems like everyone these days is green or is talking about going green, but you have to stop and wonder if being eco-friendly is just another fad? According to recent data from the U.S. Green Building Council, it looks like green may be here to stay.

The total footprint of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified commercial projects has now surpassed two billion square feet, and an additional seven billion square feet worth of projects are in the planning stages. In addition green building is projected to support or create nearly 8 billion jobs between 2009-2013 and contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

Many buildings, both old and new, are installing roof gardens, systems that recycle water and heating, solar panels and drought-resistant landscaping. In addition, the green trend has spread to now include whole communities with the new LEED for Neighborhood Development program.

And while the eco-friendly way of building may have benefits for the environment and our wallets, it also has a positive impact on our day to day lives. Many employees are demanding healthier work spaces and actively choosing to work for companies located in green buildings. In addition, improved indoor environment quality has contributed to healthier employees and reductions in absenteeism, according to a study in the American Journal for Public Health.

With all of this positive news for the green building industry, we want to know how being energy efficient and eco-friendly is impacting your day to day life? Let us know in the comments section below!

Rediscover the Lost Art of Farm Living

When many people think of art, they think of painting, sculptures and drawings. What about beekeeping, edible gardens and livestock? It’s becoming increasingly popular to find homeowners who tap into a farm lifestyle to become more self-sufficient. According to Houzz, more and more people in city apartments are moving to to grassy, suburban home sites, and are giving up modern conveniences for the easy green lifestyle.

Here are a few easy green living ideas:

Suburban Livestock- Begin growing your own gardens and raising your own livestock. Be sure you have a casual conversation with your neighbors first on how they feel about pygmy goats out back before you invest time and money in a project.

Low-Maintenance Pets- Who knew that after their first week, chicks don’t require much attention! Just refresh their water bowl and toss a handful of feed or vegetable scraps from the kitchen to feed them (see a list of what they will eat here). Check your local chicken laws and ordinances in your city to see if your area allows a backyard flock before bringing the chicks home. If your neighbors seem skeptical about your plans to keep chickens, assure them that you will be happy to share your fresh eggs.

Backyard Beehive- Once you have started with chicken keeping, adventure event more by keeping bees to get the freshest, most delicious honey around! While chickens require low maintenance, bees require more attention. You must provide your bees with a water source that is not your neighbor’s pool. Check out The Barefoot Beekeeper for more information on getting started as a beekeeper using natural, low-cost methods.

Edible Gardening- Try a patio garden by planting a few herbs or vegetables into existing flower beds. Many vegetables and most herbs have ornamental foliage, fruits and flowers that can blend in with standard flower borders.

Home Canning- With a Ball Canning Discovery Kit for $11.99, you can easily preserve your harvest. Although canning has become a lost art, try a special jam or make a big batch of tomato sauce and freeze trays full of berries and peas. For more information on safe canning and preserving methods, visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

This summer, rediscover these lost arts in any home! For more information on green living, visit our website.

Green Building Leaders Invited to Attend Building Conference

EEBAMark your calendars! The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) is proud to present the 30th Annual Excellence in Building Conference & Expo on September 25 through September 27 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz.. Celebrating the best in building science, EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference & Expo presents a year’s worth of value in just three days!

EEBA will provide  hands-on building science training, innovative ideas, critical information and relevant resources you need from the nation’s leading experts. Participants will hear presentations from John Tooley, Sam Rashkin and Mark LaLiberte, and enjoy more than 55 educational sessions covering building science with insight from the industry’s leading thinkers.

This is a great opportunity to learn how to deliver energy efficient and high performance homes to the public. This conference will provide green building leaders and newcomers alike with a chance to network with other professionals, and to develop solutions to problems within the green building industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in two unique off-site tours that will provide hands-on experience as well as mingle with 60 exhibit partners in the Exhibit Hall.

The early rate of full conference registration is $500 from now until July 31. The regular rate is $550, the onsite rate is $600 and the student rate is $350. One day passes are also available. Reserve your room at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with a single or double room rate of $159.

For more information, visit www.eeba.org/conference or email conference@eeba.org. Become part of the EEBA network on Facebook at www.facebook.com/goeeba. To register, call the registration hotline at (952) 881-1098. For more information on green building, events and trends, check out our site.

Tips for a Cool Summer

summer lakeIt’s officially summer! Time to relax by the pool, go on vacation, spend time with friends and family and more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to make sure you stay cool, safe and under budget this summer, so they’ve provided a few tips to guarantee this summer is the best one yet:

  • Energy Star savings for your home: Cooling off comes at a huge cost for homeowners/ Lower your utility bill by using Energy Star qualified lighting, raising your thermostat two degrees and using ceiling fans can help cool off costs.
  • Breathe Easy: People spend more time indoors in the summer when it’s hot. Make sure your air is mold, radon and carbon monoxide free, so you can breathe easy.
  • Stay SunWise: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Be sure you practice safe sun habits before heading out for summer fun.
  • Have a beach blast! If you’re making a trip to the shore, make sure your plan includes ways to stay safe at the beach.
  • Bug Off! Mosquitoes and ticks carry diseases that be prevented by using proper protection. Make sure you check the label before spraying away!
  • Increase gas mileage: There are plenty of ways to improve your fuel economy including obeying the speed limit, going easy on the breaks, avoiding hard accelerations, reducing idle time, unloading necessary items and removing unused racks.
  • Water wise: Keep water from going to waste by watering in the morning, and installing WaterSense labeled irrigation systems.
  • Clean Green: Cleaning your grill, car, deck, boat or RV? Make sure your cleaner is earth friendly by using only those labeled Designed for the Envinroment (DfE).
  • Project Compost: Looking for a fun summer project that beats the heat? Try composting.
  • Go Mobile: Want to connect with the EPA on the go? They have an app for that! Check your local air quality, UV index and more all from your smartphone.
  • Make memories: Help the EPA capture the State of the Environment by submitting environmental photos to their Documerica project.
  • Check in: Hotels spend more than $2,000 per room on energy each year. Make sure your hotel is saving money and the environment by choosing one that is Energy Star rated.
  • Summer Inspiration: Keep your creative juices flowing by submitting a meaningful story or idea in just six words.

Be sure to visit the EPA‘s site for more tips for a cool summer. If you’re looking to make a move, be sure to check out all of the green Atlanta new homes on Atlanta Real Estate Forum.