Monthly Archives: June 2012

Spread out your Credit Score Requests for Best View of Finances

Know your credit score to be a better buyer of energy efficient homesToo often, we think about checking our credit reports in a hustle to make sure we are ready for a big purchase like energy efficient real estate and we order all three at once. While this does give you a snapshot of your standing from each agency, it only gives you information from one point in time. If you want a more holistic view of your credit over time without impacting your FICO score, you can space out your requests. The Equifax Finance Blog explores this tip and more in the recent article,

“Have You Pulled Your Credit Report Yet?

Asking for one of your three free yearly reports once every four months means that you have multiple chances per year to see how your credit is shaping up without damaging your score or paying for a monitoring service. While this does have the disadvantage of only letting you see one agency’s report at a time, if you set these at regular intervals you will get a better idea of where your

credit trends. This makes you better prepared for big purchases or major financial decisions, like applying for a lease or loan.

Of course, if this isn’t enough or if you are afraid of being the target of identity theft, you can always consult a credit monitoring service.  These services watch your reports for inaccuracies or unusual trends, and can catch identity theft early so less damage is done. There are many options/offerings with credit monitoring services, so be sure to comparison shop to find the one that best meets your needs.

For other great tips about personal finance advice and how to improve your

FICO score, consult the Equifax Finance Blog.

Traton Homes Brings Cobb County New Homes to Cook’s Farm

Traton HomesAtlanta new home builder Traton Homes just announced that it will build nine Cobb County new homes at Cook’s Farm in Kennesaw, a beautiful established community in the Harrison High School district. Cook’s Farm boasts an elegant streetscape, and the homes Traton is building will feature attractive elevations with three-sides brick, cedar shake and/or stone exteriors and side-entry garages with carriage-style doors. These homes will be priced from the mid-$300,000s and will be available soon.

You’ll love showing of your new home. Interiors will feature luxurious owners’ suites and gourmet kitchens with finishes like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops and maple cabinetry.

Plus, these Traton Homes will be in the middle of it all. Cook’s Farm is in a great Cobb County location, convenient to top-notch schools, shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation. Homeowners will enjoy quick and easy access to West Cobb County, including The West Cobb Avenue, Lost Mountain Park and the Northwestern YMCA.

Children living at Cook’s Farm attend excellent area schools including Bullard Elementary, McClure Middle and as mentioned above, Harrison High schools.

To visit the community, take I-75 north to Barrett Parkway (exit 269). Turn left off the exit and travel 3.2 miles to Stilesboro Road. Turn right onto Stilesboro Road, and then turn left onto Acworth Due West Road. Cook’s Farm is on the left.

For more information on Cook’s Farm, call 770-590-8272 or visit www.TratonHomes.com.

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.

Summer Savings with Ashton Woods Homes’ Sunsational Sales Event

Pindell Glen Get unbelievable savings this summer with Ashton Woods Homes’ Sunsational Sales Events. This is an Atlanta new home shopper’s chance to get unbelievable savings on beautiful homes in Pindell Glen, a new Crabapple area community in Alpharetta. During the event, Ashton Woods Homes is offering $10,000 in FREE options and $5,000 closing costs on all pre-sales!*

Pindell Glen features 13 estate sized, two-story homes with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, priced from the $400,000s. This secluded enclave is distinctively designed and features extraordinary architecture with 3,255 to 3,894 square feet. All homes are built with Powerhouse Green through Environments for Living, saving homeowners up to 45 percent annually on utility bills. Continue reading

EPA Develops Framework For Local Governments’ Stormwater Runoff and Wastewater

DischargeThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework to help local governments meet their Clean Water Act obligations.

This framework will assist the EPA’s regional offices, states and local governments in developing voluntary storm and wastewater management plans as well as implementing effective integrated approaches that will protect public health by reducing overflows from wastewater systems and pollution from stormwater.

EPA coordinated with a variety of stakeholders, including publicly owned treatment works, state water permitting authorities, local governments and nonprofit environmental groups in the stormwater runoff and wastewater framework. It discusses the pursuit of innovative, cost-saving solutions, like green infrastructure to aid communities as they develop plans that prioritize their investments in storm and wastewater infrastructure.

Also, the controlling and managing releases of storm and wastewater into the nation’s waters are highlighted in the document. When wastewater systems, many of which are aging, overflow they can release untreated sewage and other pollutants into local waterways. Overflows can carry harmful pollutants threatening water quality, including bacteria, metals and nutrients. They can also contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings and fishing or swimming advisories. Municipalities are often faced with difficult choices about how to direct their funds to solve stormwater discharges that contain many of these pollutants.

Visit the EPA’s website, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/integratedplans.cfm, to see the framework document. The agency also provides practical examples of how municipalities are implementing this approach.

For more information on green legislation and green housing trends, visit our site. For more on how Atlanta real estate is going green, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

Make Your New Nursery Green

New parents can use all the help they can get when it comes to creating the healthiest possible environment for a new baby. Don’t worry because now there are more options than ever for ecofriendly furniture, floors and paints.

According to houzz.com, a green nursery is a simple nursery. Here are a few tips and ideas for a safe, ecofriendly nursery for you and your new baby.

Ecofriendly Walls

-Use low-VOC or zero-VOC paint. Read about five great ecofriendly paint options here.

-If your older home contains lead paint buried beneath layers of new paint, carefully sand and paint over any chipping paint. If you are pregnant, hire someone to do this. Pay special attention to window sashes where paint chips tend to accumulate.

-Want to use green wallpaper? Try Kimberly Lewis for ecofriendly wallpapers made in Brooklyn and Phillip Jeffries for natural-fiber and grass-cloth wallpapers. This will add the perfect touch for the new nursery.

Healthy Flooring

-If able to, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting because the glue and backing of the carpet tends to contain high levels of chemicals that can affect the air quality. Also, these carpets also tend to trap dust, dirt and allergens. If you are worried about bare floors, buy a small carpet for your little one.

-If wall-to-wall carpeting is a must, look for 100 percent natural fibers with vegetable dyes and a latex backing. Try Green Depot’s baby carpet!

Green Furniture

-There is no need to buy new furniture for the whole room. Use your small bookcase for holding the baby’s toys and books, and use a small dresser as a changing table with a pad placed on top.

-Buy a new crib that meets today’s safety standards but look for vintage rockers, dressers, shelves and child-size furniture if you want a more vintage appearance. Check your crib’s standards on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

-Try using a green mattress for the baby to sleep on. Traditional mattresses are filled with fire retardants and other chemicals that give off harmful fumes so consider using Naturepedic for organic, chemical-free mattresses.

For more information on green design trends, visit the website. For green trends in Atlanta real estate, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.