Archive for April, 2008

Cincinnati Home Energy Evaluation Part 2

YEAH! I received my home energy via email (Energy Que tries to be a bit more green by not printing materials).  I’ve resisted to print the file myself (all 66 pages) as well.  Here is the low down on my house:

The first section provides me information on my baseline data.  It utilizes the NOAA heating
degree days for the Cincinnati area and my energy usage from the power company to determine my homes efficiency rate.  I’ve only been in my house 2.5 years, so I didn’t have a lot of data stored up, but its really neat to see that the years we had really cold winter, my energy usage went up as well.   One interesting note is that it wasn’t until last year that I really started using my programmable thermostat religiously.  I was bound and determined to only have my house heat up when I was there.  (If you saw the size of my furnace you would understand why).  So, on my graph I can actually see that the energy usage went down and my efficiency went up!

The next section of my report is all of the thermal images that they took and where the biggest heat losses are occurring.   Below is a picture of my heat ducts in my basement.  As you can see at the  joists  I’m loosing a significant amount of heat from my already inefficient furnace.Loosing heat to my cold basement

Here is another photo of heat coming from one of the only original windows left on my house.   Imagine if I didn’t have new window s or good storm windows on?   There would be a ton of heat loss!

On the 3rd section of my report it gave me a TON of clever ideas on how to help make my house more efficient!  It looks like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me…  Now that its spring and the weather is nice, I’m not as motivated to fix my leaky problems…  But summer is on the horizon and the AC will eventually be turned on.  I must get ready!

April 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

Another Great Move for Greening Cincinnati

The Mayor’s new climate plan came out today and its a step in the right direction for our city.  According to the proposed action plan, we are looking to cut our green house gas emissions 2% each year, using 2006 as a baseline.  Here is an excerpt from the plan:

Cincinnati adopts the following GHG reduction goals:

 

Long Term – Reduce GHG emissions 84% below 2006 levels by 2050.

          Short Term – Reduce GHG emissions 8% below 2006 levels by 2012.

         Medium Term – Reduce GHG emissions 40% below 2006 levels by 2028.

There are other great proposals in it such as:

  • The City should participate in the EPA’s National Idle Reduction Campaign and educate the public about the importance of engine idle-reduction practices. – Did you know that idling your car produces more emissions than turning it off and then back on?? Something as simple as turning your car off and not idling could help dramatically!
  • The City should collaborate with regional bicycling advocates in order to increase bicycle use as a mode of transportation.
  • Reduction of Electric Use in the Residential Sector – In Cincinnati a significant amount of the electricity used by residents is coal generated. A significant amount of GHG can be reduced by no and low cost measures with simple reduction of electric usage.
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    Offer “Green Loan” financing for home energy improvements paid for by utility savings, through creation of community-owned Utility Lending Institution (ULI).

  • Recommendation: Renewable Energy using Solar Photovoltaic Electric for Use in the Residential, Commercial and Institutional Sectors

     

  • Renewable Energy using Solar Thermal Hot Water Collectors for use in the Residential Sector.

     

The list goes on and on.  This proposed plan is very progressive.  Hats off to our city!  Now the big question is are the other cities neighboring Cincinnati going to follow suit with some of this?  I think tax abatements are a good start!  If you don’t live in the city of Cincinnati, but would like your area to start implementing green initiatives, give your council person a call, call city hall, let your voice be heard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 26, 2008 at 1:40 am Leave a comment

“Green Bags” Eco Lunch Series a Huge Success!

Earth Day in Cincinnati provided a fitting date for Jami and Libby’s inaugural “Green Bags” Eco Lunch Series.  The idea grew out of numerous lunch meetings with a wide range of Cincinnati’s top professionals in green and sustainable building and development.  Learning of the growing ranks of environmentally progressive design and building initiatives going on in southwest Ohio, we saw a tremendous opportunity to bring together these leaders in the environmental movement from such interrelated fields as architecture, development, remodeling, urban planning, interior design, energy auditing, engineering, marketing and landscaping.  Throw in representatives from the non-profit sector, community activism and academia and you have “Green Bags” – a cohesive network of dedicated professionals coming together over a bi-monthly brown bag lunch to educate and report to each other on the latest in green projects around the city. 

Marc, Andy and John Hueber of John Hueber Homes very graciously offered to host the first meeting at their LEED Silver Certified home on Observatory in Hyde Park.  Andy spoke of the LEED for Homes certification process and explained the many eco-friendly features the home has to offer that allowed for an impressive Silver certification.  Members will take turns hosting future meetings at sites throughout the city, presenting on their latest work.  Attendees were unanimously enthusiastic about the effort to pull this diverse and talented group together.  Based on the stellar response of those present as well as the interest of many who could not be in attendance, the group’s momentum is palpable.  Green Bags’ membership continues to grow significantly and new inquiries roll in daily.   We’ll keep our readership apprised of the latest news generated by this dynamic network! 

Many hearfelt thanks to all who attended, and here’s to your continued success in making environmental responsibility a standard of your business practices. 

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  – Gandhi

April 23, 2008 at 9:49 pm 1 comment

Happy Earth Day Cincinnati!

Happy Earth Day to all of you!  We hope that each and everyone of you did a little something to help out our environment!  Even if its as simple as taking a shorter shower, planting a tree, unplugging your power-zapping cell phone charger after your cell phone is ready to go, etc…  Every little action is compounded into one large effort.  We challenge you to do a little something everyday.

We want to say a special thanks to those of you who attended our very first “Green Bags Eco Lunch Series.”  Because of you it was a smashing success!  Didn’t know about it?  Want to come to the next one?  Email us and we will put you on our list.  We are searching for service providers, planners, environmentalists, chamber or council members, etc, all who have a strong believe in moving Cincinnati to a “greener” place.   We want to be one strong united front and build a strong community.  While still in its infancy stages, we are happy to have anyone who wants to be involved!

Change starts with you and me.  Now, go roll around in the grass 🙂

April 22, 2008 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Cincinnati Home Energy Evaluation – Part 1

I recently had Brent Quebman from Energy Que out to preform an energy evaluation on my little house in Norwood.  I was both excited and nervous about the process.  Being energy & price conscious, I was sure that he would find a million ways I could save money and the environment at the same time.

First a little background history on my humble abode.  I live in a typical Norwood/Oakley/Hyde Park bungalow; 3 bed 1 bath and REALLY OLD (approx 100).  Throughout the years there have been some upgrades made.  I have newer vinyl replacement windows, I insulated both the attic and the space between the basement and the first floor and I have a programmable thermostat.  The biggest thing I have against me is the age of my furnace and AC unit.  Both of these are pretty expensive to replace and although I will probably do it, I can’t do it right now.  So, my thoughts were in the mean time, get an energy audit done and be creative on other ways to save.Thermal Imaging Camera

So, Brent came over with his sweet looking thermal imaging camera and gave me a lesson on my home’s energy envelope.  We put the heat on high and went to work.  He mainly checked out common problem areas of my house.  We looked around the windows and doors, my furnace vents in my basement, my attic space, etc.  As we walked through the house he pointed out simple energy saving solutions for me.  My biggest problem area seems to lie in my basement.  I can’t wait to see how the images turn out.  The biggest surprise to me of the day was something that I should have caught myself, but didn’t.  As we are taking pictures of my furnace (which is a HUGE old green Williamson) we go to the back side of it and low-and-behold, I’m missing a tube connecting my non-working humidifier to the intake and hot air is just gushing out into my basement!  AHHHH, all winter long, I’ve been paying to heat my cold damp basement.  YIKES!  Silly me, I just don’t go to the backside of my furnace.  Let that be a lesson to all of you out there.  Do a thorough check of you home.  I don’t even want to think of all the money I spent heating my basement this winter.

All in all, my energy evaluation was a success.  Brent was in and out in about an hour and it was all for a reasonable price!  He charges you based on your homes square footage, but a typical home is going to run you about $150.00.  When all is said and done, you’ll get the thermal imaging report and a baseline data review (compares your energy usage to the past 5 years of weather in Cincinnati).  You’ll also get a section of reporting that will help outline where your biggest problem areas are and how to best maximize your efforts.  I’m anxiously awaiting my report!  In the mean time, I’m going to run around my house and “green” what I can.

 

April 22, 2008 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

Selling Your Home? – Going Green Can Help.

Going Green seems like the latest trend for just about everything. Heck, even Wal-Mart has jumped on the band wagon. So you may ask, how can being greener help YOU sell your home?  Well, think about it.  How often during the day do you think about rising oil prices (gas prices), energy costs (Duke Bills), even the cost of milk and eggs are going up!  It seems like we can’t catch a break these days.  Everyone is out there looking to save a little green, so it only makes sense that the housing market is following the same trend. 

For example, lets put on our buyer hats for a moment….If you were out shopping for a home today, and you found two identical homes (size, location, amenities, etc..) but only one had “green upgrades.”  (Lower utilities, more insulation, energy star appliances, better air quality, etc…).  Which one would you choose? No brainer right??  The greener one.  Having a home that had lower energy costs and better health benefits would be the one just about everyone would choose.

Well, what if the greener one was a tad bit more expensive… say 3000-5000 more?  Would you still consider it?  Most everyone would.  You’d make that back in no time compared to a home with out green features.

So, how do you start?  The key is to start making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency and document how the monthly bills change over time.  Highlight the savings to your real estate agent and if you’re agent is smart (and green) they’ll also provide comparisons to typical bills for similar-sized houses in your area.

What if you need to sell now and haven’t done any of this stuff and still want to get a leg up on the competition?  We as agents recommend that you have an energy audit preformed on your home.  I actually just had Energy Que come out and audit my house.  They’ll take thermal pictures of your home and show you where your loosing energy, make recommendations as to how to fix the problems and also take your energy usage history and track your efficiency.  How COOL??

Once the energy audit is complete, you can make some of the major to minor repairs and document these for possible buyers.  Giving you a definite advantage over your competition.  But make sure you have an agent who is knowledgeable and understands how to sell this superior advantage.  Choose a GREEN REALTOR.

As for me, I’ll be documenting my progress on my house for all of you fine folks out there.  Stay tuned!

April 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm 1 comment

Cincinnati Goes Green!

Take heart, enviro-enthusiasts!  The days of Cincinnati’s stodgy, behind the times, upstaged-by-Newport repuation are soon to be over.  We can now boast a progressive “First in the Nation:”  City Council recently voted, unanimously might I add, to offer 100% , 15-year tax abatement (up to $500,000) on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified new construction.  In addition, the city offers 100%, 10-year tax abatement on green-remodelled homes. 

It appears that the race is on – green, eco-friendly, environmentally responsible, call it what you will, Cincinnati has a tremendous amount of energy aimed at the enviromental revolution and this is only the tip of the (melting) iceburg.   The region is stepping up to the plate and helping to shape the future of local enviromental awareness with such programs as Hamilton County’s Go Green Challenge, Cincinnati Public Schools’ commitment to LEED certification for all new buildings, and publicly commissioned LEED projects such as the new firestation on Reading Road. 

Along with these large-scale public initiatives, residential real estate in Cincinnati is also experiencing a shift to the greener side of the fence.  As full-time realtors, my partner Jami and I are finding that clients are becoming more aware of environmentally responsible features and are very concerned about energy usage and minimizing their carbon footprint.   In new construction, items that used to be considered optional upgrades such as bamboo flooring, Energy Star appliances and top-rate insulation are now becoming standard.

For buyers and sellers not yet in the know about the advantages of going green, our focus is to educate homeowners on the benefits not only to their household and their budgetary bottom line but to our local environment as well.  We have cultivated a substantial network of environmentally progressive businesses in Cincinnati that seems to grow by the week.  If you would like to know more about these or other topics ranging from energy tax credits to easy, do-able tips we can all follow to help the environment, please call or write us anytime.  Libby Hunter, (513) 260-9632 lhunter@sibcycline.com; (513) 515-0689 jstutzman@sibcycline.com.  We welcome the opportunity to help you.

 

Check out your personal carbon footprint on Be Green Now’s carbon calculator:  http://www.begreennow.com/calculator

April 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm 1 comment


Who Are We?

Libby Hunter and Jami Stutzman are local Cincinnati Realtors and members of the U.S. Green Building Council who have a passion for sustainable living. Environmental responsibility lies at the core of our business practice - let us show you how we can help with ecologically-minded real estate needs. Please browse our blog, visit our local green vendors' websites and if you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let us show you how green features can make all the difference in your experience!

Contact Us

Jami Stutzman: 513-515-0689
jstutzman@comey.com
Libby Hunter: 513-260-9632
lhunter@comey.com

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