Category Archives: People

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,

Help Gary Make a Wish Come True

Gary Grambley, Sterling Custom Homes’ sales director, will soon pound the pavement to better the lives of children with life-threatening diseases. He will participate in the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon as a platform to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central and South Texas.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central and South Texas is also near and dear to the hearts of his employer, Sterling Custom Homes. The Austin luxury real estate builder is showing its support for Grambley and the foundation by pledging to match Grambley’s fundraising efforts up to $2,500.

Sterling Custom Homes also donated to the foundation earlier this year. The builder gave $1 per new Facebook “Like” from its fan page (, up to 300 new fans.

Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® ( has been enhancing the lives of children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions through the granting of wishes. The Foundation is composed of nearly 25,000 volunteers, enabling the non-profit to grant a wish every 40 minutes.

Grambley’s goal is to raise $5,000, the amount of money it takes to grant one child a wish. “Training for a marathon is a long, difficult endeavor,” said Grambley. “Knowing that my efforts will benefit a child in need will provide me with an added incentive when I hit the road for the 16, 18 and 20 plus mile training runs.”

Anyone interested in helping Grambley along in his fundraising efforts may donate online

Sterling Custom Homes is one of the area’s top Austin home builders. For more information, visit the Sterling Custom Homes website.

Green Building Professionals Learn Social Media

For the next two days, green building professionals will gather in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. at the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) conference to discover the latest in home energy ratings, residential energy efficiency financing and building performance. In addition to these key topics, attendees will also have a chance to learn how to develop their businesses through the addition of a social media component to their marketing plans.

On the surface, social media may not seem like an integral or even necessary piece of green building marketing. However, more and more, consumers are turning to the internet to find out about the latest in energy efficiency and green building practices. Those in the green building industry who use tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter to promote their products and services will find that they can drive more traffic to their sites and set themselves apart from their competition.

To help RESNET attendees navigate through the world of social media, Mitch Levinson, mRELEVANCE, LLC managing partner, is presenting a seminar today. During his discussion, Mitch will teach participates how to use social media and key words to promote their businesses and develop relationships with consumers.

The session will teach:

  • How to increase exposure through the use of social media tools
  • What social media tool are out there and what works best based on individual needs
  • Real-life examples of social media and their influence on the marketplace

For more information about RESNET, visit the website. If you’re unable to attend the conference, but still want to incorporate these tools in your marketing plan, contact Mitch at mRELEVANCE.

Green Builder Magazine Takes Two National Journalism Awards

Green building and sustainable development continue to be of concern for real estate professionals and consumers. As we consume, we also become aware of how we can sustain, and sorting it all out can be confusing. However, a leader continues to emerge to help us on this crazy “green” journey.

Green Builder magazine, Green Builder Media’s flagship publication, has once again received recognition for its  investigative reports, analysis, design ideas and pertinent information for professionals and consumers.

The magazine received two national journalism awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editor’s annual journalism competition. The first award, “Best Trade Magazine Report for the Residential Real Estate, Mortage/Finance or Homebuilding/Residential Development Industries,” went to Green Builder’s editor in chief Matt Power for the article titled “The Limits of Technology.” The article addressed which green technologies really progress sustainability.

The second award of Best Residential Trade Magazine was granted to Green Builder magazine because of the variety, depth and beauty that the magazine holds.

The magazine is led by a veteran staff including editorial director, Cati O’Keefe; editor in chief Matt Power; and national design director, Eddie Malstrom.

For more information about Green Builder magazine, visit the website.

FloorPlanOnline Offers Unique “Virtual Tour” Tools

The search for the perfect home can be daunting. Potential homebuyers troll the MLS listings looking at properties in the perfect location. They browse the blurry and often poorly shot photos, squinting and tilting their heads at the screen to judge the true size of the living room. Then, after they note the addresses of what seem like fantastic homes, they’ll call up their real estate agent to go for an in-person visit.

And they’ll probably be disappointed.

Crude photos and simple floorplan sketches can waste the time of the busy homebuyer. That’s where FloorPlanOnline comes in. The company’s service provides not only the layout of the home, but also beautiful, crisp, detailed photos that are easily accessed from the floorplan. Not only is the “virtual tour” a great tool for consumers, agents can utilize search engine optimization and an analytical program to optimize search placement and measure results.

FPO Version 2.0 was recently announced, which adds greater customization abilities and media options. A WalkThru(TM) video component has been added as well as a Room Planner where users can drag and drop furniture.

A 2009 study from the California Association of Realtors showed that 20 or more photos online reduced the time a home is on the market by 50 percent. In a competitive real estate market, FloorPlanOnline is a great tool to leverage.

Meg Thompson Receives NAR Green Designation

Navigating the world of green building can be intimidating: ENERGY STAR appliances, insulation ratings and materials, double or triple paned windows, low VOC materials… the list goes on and on.

To wind your way through these issues, you need the help of a Green Designated REALTOR®. If you’re in the Atlanta, Georgia area contact Meg Thompson of Meg & Co. Meg recently received the National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation.

The Designation is an obvious step for a person who already implements so many environmentally-friendly policies in her office. Some of those include:

  • Encouraging clients to participate in EarthCraft building standards
  • Using ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Multiple recycling bins in sales centers
  • Responsible recycling of electronic devices
  • Keeping documents electronic as much as possible and making double sided copies when printing
  • Conducting meetings online if appropriate

Meg was trained on green homes, buildings and sustainability issues. She also learned to guide clients through the components of a green home, costs versus benefits, rating systems, green marketing and financial incentives for building or remodeling green.

If you are in the Atlanta area and looking to buy or sell a green home or commercial building, be sure to contact Meg Thompson at

Final Weekend For FREE Tours

Greenhaven is open foeco master suite at Greenhavenr FREE tours until August 9th. Don’t miss this opportunity to tour Cobb County’s greenest green house. This custom-built green home was built by Pace Homebuilders and it is open for tours Thursdays – Sundays.

Lots of people have visited the home to find ways to live greener lives. Last weekend was packed. Be sure to come out this weekend and meet the Designers and hear about their Eco-Friendly home design services. Be sure to look for Richard Feis, the Builder while you are on-site and ask about Sustainable Home Design and Building.

Show Home Hours:

Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1:30 – 5 p.m.

NAHB National Green Building Program Expands

The state home builder associations of Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York and Oklahoma have affiliated with the NAHB National Green Building Program, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Sandy Dunn announced this morning.

The new affiliation makes it even easier for home buyers in those states to find green homes and provides additional technical training, education and business opportunities for HBA members.

“I’m delighted to welcome the home builders in these seven states to the certification services offered through NAHBGreen,” said Dunn, who is a home builder in Point Pleasant, W. Va.,. “Our members are looking for an authentic, cost-effective and voluntary way to offer certified green homes to their clients, and they will find it in” Continue reading

Green Home Builder Speaks Out About Energy-Efficient Mandates

Recently, St. Louis green builder Matt Belcher cautioned Congress on the danger of one-size-fits-all proposals for home construction. Belcher’s argument is that policies that encourage rather than mandate energy savings are the most meaningful at stimulating greater demand for energy-efficient homes.

“The ability of aggressive building code mandates to achieve massive energy and greenhouse gas emissions savings is incredibly limited. The wide-ranging geographic differences in state and local climates create specific building needs, making national benchmarks almost untenable,” he said.

Further, “significant increases in costs for efficiency upgrades and the additional increase in home price to accommodate them has the potential to harm the part of the market with the least flexibility to react to price constraints: the marginal first-time home buyer,” Belcher said. “NAHB does not support the assertion that a broad public policy objective should be achieved on the backs of a relatively narrow segment of the market with limited resources.” Continue reading

WicksteadWorks is an Expert Green Remodeler

WicksteadWorks in an Atlanta remodeling company that was recently named on of the top 20 Atlanta remodelers by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. This particular company focuses heavily on green practices, and every single project done by WicksteadWorks is constructed to EarthCraft standards as a minimum. Frank Wickstead, President of WicksteadWorks, has thoroughly taken it upon himself to maximize his knowledge of green building practices, and has earned many prestigious designations in the process. Wickstead’s expertise in green building practices is evident by the fact that he is a LEED Accredited Professional. This year he added to his green credentials by becoming a verifier for the National Green Building Program, which is part of the National Home Builders Association. As a verifier, Wickstead will thoroughly analyze different homes, ensuring that they meet the criteria of Continue reading