A Serious Look at the Green Elements of Home Buying Or Renovation

Home builders and developers of new residential units are now instituting major changes in their design and development priorities in response to the growing desire of buyers for homes that meet higher standards for health and safety concerns for the household and Mother Earth.

Home developers are now actively engaged in the development and promotion of their respective green home dwelling options that have the following major features:

• Use of alternative steel framing which are more structurally sound and healthier than wood frames

• Low emission and energy-efficient window system

• Installation of HEPA air filtration modules

• Use of kitchen sinks outfitted with water filters

• Use of ceramic or hardwood floor materials as alternative to carpeting or vinyl floor materials

• Ventilators with heat recovery capability

Another home developer that is based in the British Columbia area has included in the mix of their home development specialties the use of healthy house features. If you are in search of new home design concept, regardless of whether you are buying from a home developer or going for custom-built units, it is important that you discuss with builders, architects and contractors about the use of healthy features in your dream home. This option may turn out to be more expensive upfront. However, the extra cost of using green elements in your home can easily be offset by long term benefits.

What are your options if you are not in the market to purchase or construct a new home property? What are your alternatives in incorporating earth-friendly aspects in your home renovations and improvements? If you are replacing something old in your home, or adding elements in order to enhance your level of comfort, you also have the opportunity to make your home a healthier and safer place for you and your family. It is also an opportunity for you to consider home repair and improvement concepts that are earth-friendly. With the incorporation of green elements in your home renovation and improvement projects, you instantly reduce your operating cost, increase home value and decrease waste and reliance to fossil fuels.

Here are some alternatives that you can consider if you are planning to incorporate green features in your home:

1. For your insulation, you may use cotton as your insulating material. Cotton delivers the same level of performance as fiberglass. It is also a safe and earth-friendly alternative.

2. You can use CA-B pressure treated wooden materials instead of the usual pressure-treated lumber for the external structures of your home. You have to remember that the latter type of lumber are treated with hazardous or toxic chemicals to prevent infestation and rot. You may also consider using sustainable construction material such as ipe, a type of Brazilian wood, for your outdoor constructions or decking. It is an attractive material aside from being rot-resistant and long-lasting building material.

3. You can also opt for the reclaimed type of redwood shingles if you require natural wood shingles in your home construction or renovation.

4. It is also wise to choose smoke detectors that don’t incorporate radioactive materials. While these trace amounts of radioactive materials in smoke detectors don’t affect the health of the inhabitants, proper disposal of these hazardous materials is a major issue.

5. You will significantly improve the quality of air in your home if you are going to replace the ordinary filters of your air conditioner and furnace with genuine HEPA filters.

Anaheim Hills Houses Are in High Demand Because It Is the Perfect Place for Settling Down

If you want an ideal setting for your home, then Anaheim hills is the perfect place for you. In this era of global warming and unpredictable weather fluctuations, Anaheim hills maintain a pleasant weather throughout the year, which is the main unique feature of the place. Anaheim Hills is a prosperous planned society encircling the eastern portions of the city of Anaheim, in California’s Orange County. Anaheim Hills is situated south of Yorba Linda, California, which is opposite to the 91 freeway at Imperial Highway. The western border is located at the 55 freeway reverse to the city of Orange, California. The community extends past Gypsum Canyon on the northeast side, which is bordered by unincorporated areas of Cleveland National Forest (east) and Orange County. To the south of Anaheim hills is the Santa Ana foothill. The whole of Anaheim Hills is surrounded by the city limits of Anaheim, California.

There are some famous personalities from all over the world settled in Anaheim Hills for the overall beauty and serenity of the place. It has well planned neighbor hoods, good schools, and a number of beautiful natural spots which have attracted the attention of the well-to-do people in society. Anyone who visits Anaheim hills will want to settle down in the place. Such is the natural beauty of the community that it offers a temptation that cannot be ignored. Therefore the demand for Anaheim hills houses are on a rise and the real estate companies operating in the area are having a really hard time to put up with the steady demands. There are theme parks and convention centers that are major points of tourist attraction and also the main source of earning in the city. In today’s economic condition, which does not look promising from any angle all over the globe, Anaheim is thriving because of the various tourist pots which people keep visiting throughout the year round.

The education system in Anaheim is another major draw. It has a number of good schools and anyone who plans to settle down in the city will not have to worry about the education part of their children as it would be taken care of by the best. There are elementary and middle schools, and also one high school in the community itself, so you won’t have to send off your children to study. There are also provisions for educating children with special needs, for which there are specialty schools in the city. No wonder then that the people who visit Anaheim sometimes plan to stay back and set up their permanent home in the city for its all around positive environment. That is why the Anaheim hills houses are snapped up as soon as they come into the market for sale. Having a house at such a beautiful place beats staying at a hotel, and even if someone plans to take yearly vacations, then owning a property in such a pretty location makes sense. It is also a good investment, as when you need to sell off the property for any reason; there won’t be a dearth of buyers in the market.

For college graduates, this city provides enough employment opportunities so that they also fall in love with the place. The major job provider is Walt Disney, which provides meaningful employment opportunities to tons of fresh graduates. Other major areas of employment are the Anaheim Convention Center, sports centers, Adventure City, golf courses, museums, not to mention the biggest of them all… the Disneyland resort. No wonder that young people who want to start life on a good footing find this city the perfect place and they also consider settling down in the city. Therefore, Anaheim Hills houses are sometimes bought by these young crowd also, adding vitality to the place, a dash of energy and modern culture.

Would A Solar Roof, Benefit You?: 4 Considerations

For how many years, have we heard about the need, to minimize our dependence on non – renewable, fossil fuels, and replace this, with emphasizing, greener, renewable energy sources? In the past, some alternatives, which were considered, included, using solar, geo – thermal, etc, but, in most cases, either, it was too expensive, and/ or, unpleasing, from a cosmetic, esthetic perspective! A few years ago, one of the companies founded by Elon Musk, created, and introduced, replaceable solar roof tiles, instead of, using units, which, sit, on top of the regular roof. He addressed the significant issue of costs, by marketing these tiles, at approximately, the same price, of conventional roofing. However, each person must discover, whether a solar roof, would make sense, for them, or be wiser, than a more conventional alternative. There are four primary considerations, to evaluate, and this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, these.

1. Examine total costs: Carefully, consider the total costs of changing to this alternative style. This includes the materials, labor, hooking these into the electric – grid, and, in some municipalities, government imposed, fees, etc.

2. Does the existing roof need replacement?: How old is your existing roof? What condition is it in? Obviously, if you would have to install a new roof, anyway, installing a solar roof, becomes even more affordable, etc. Are the installers and technicians, in your geographic area/ region, qualified, and trained, to properly install these newer solutions?

3. Exposure and obstructions: Traditional solar panels require a Southern exposure, in order to maximize, the return, on investment! These replaced tiles cover the entire area, but, one must examine, whether, sufficient sunlight, in an unobstructed manner, makes this approach, the logical decision! Examine, whether, the esthetics, and cosmetics, of this style, are consistent, with your house’s maximum appeal!

4. Local zoning issues, laws, and regulations: Some municipalities impose restrictions on solar panels, but, few, to date, have fully addressed, Elon Musk’s latest creation! Although, from, both, a longer – term, financial/ economic perspective, as well as from a renewable energy point – of – view, implementing this approach, is a relevant, responsive, sustainable approach.

After the hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, a couple of years ago, Musk’s company, brought in, these techniques, and, got, certain hospitals, and schools, up – and – running, quickly and effectively/ efficiently, well before the electrical grid was reinstated. We must begin to think ahead, and become more environmentally, responsible!

Green Home Designs – What Not to Do

Green home designs are actually what you would refer to as environmentally friendly homes because it makes use of eco-friendly and reusable materials. These homes lean towards renewable and longer lasting materials.

Green materials include those that are saved or restored in an existing structure. There are many available options today. Using materials that contain volatile organic compounds or VOC’s when painting, refinishing, or stenciling is avoided.

Green homes of today incorporate the use of bamboo, eucalyptus and cork because these are sustainable and renewable, with special mention to cork because the extraction of cork causes no damage to trees whatsoever when properly done. It is best to choose wood that have the authentication or certification of environmental groups.

When installing the home flooring, the use of non-toxic and low to no VOC sealants is recommended. Also consider non-toxic finishes, polishes, cleaners, refinishing and adhesive products. Keeping with the green home design allows for better indoor quality because the new home emits less toxins and becomes a more conducive and healthier place to live in. Although even after opting for non-toxic materials, there is still no guarantee for 100% good health and safety because other toxic chemicals are encountered on a daily basis. But the whole concept of building a green home is to ensure that no contribution is made to the further degradation of the planet and to provide a safer abode for the family at the end of the day.

Creating a green home keeps this in mind. It is also recommended that many glass windows and doors are included in the designs as well as to the roofs and walls to allow natural light enter the home. Skylights, aside from conserving energy consumption in the home is a good way to ensure that moisture does not accumulate in a room.

When designing the kitchen, try to incorporate the use of concrete counter tops. It will add a modern look to the area. Vetrrazzo is a type of recycled glass and is also a common green counter top choice. Recycled glass comes in various colors and gives a very attractive touch to the kitchen. Aside from counter tops, it can also be used as a backsplash. Another exquisite alternative would be recycled glass tiles.

When choosing appliances on the other hand, a few considerations to be made are the energy efficiency, functionality, style and of course, the budget. Go for the most energy efficient appliances when buying new ones. Recycling old appliances may also be done. Local recycling departments are sure to give sound advice on what can be done to recycle them.

Consumers should be wary about merely sending their old appliances to a landfill. A refrigerator for example has about 95% of its parts that are recyclable. Old kitchen appliances are not as energy efficient and will in effect cost a considerable amount of money over time. As much as possible, it is recommended that all old kitchen appliances be recycled.

In line with the green design is also to design green insulation or to use eco-friendly insulation materials. Green home designs make use of a lot of ceiling and wall insulation in the entire home. It is best to choose recycled denim or cotton insulation that is made from recycled blue jeans. Wool is also a good type to use and so is Icynene, a water blown spray in foam. New materials such as the aerogel, is made from silica to form frozen silica smoke or an ultra porous silica form that is about 99% air which makes it unbelievably light but incredibly strong and an effective insulator.

Aside from helping the environment, opting for a green home design can prove to be very economical in the long run. Because beyond the initial investment, it is the savings over time due to more energy efficient appliances and the reduction to the exposure to harmful chemicals that make it worthwhile.

Living Inside a Shipping Container Home

Remember, when you were younger and loved to build pretend homes and forts? As an adult the Container architecture is growing because there hundreds of thousands of shipping containers in places all over the world. Usually in docking ports and stacks of shipping containers are piled up wasting away to literally nothing. Some very ingenious architects and builders are recycling these containers and designing homes and low income apartments out of them worldwide.

Shipping container homes are very affordable, transportable and stackable and able to survive the worst weather conditions mother nature has for us. They are structurally built to withstand almost anything and in abundant supply almost in every country today.

Containerization is best defined as the use of steel boxes that can be filled with literally any product and loaded onto a truck or train. If you are concerned about these running out, no need to worry because there are infinite containers to go around. Tens of thousands of these hit American shores each and every day of the year, as well as almost every other country.

Lets understand something here. The prices of homes today has sky rocketed to the heavens. As time goes on, more and more people can not afford a typical living environment. Struggling with mortgages and taxes to pay off their house, why not look into a shipping container as a home for yourself?

Not only are they cheaper but they last much longer than an average house today built with the same materials they have been building with.

Where You Can Find the World’s Greenest Homes

If you’re looking for a place in this world that has lush green grass, tall trees, and clean air; you might want to visit some of these natural green cities. These won’t be cities in the middle of nowhere. The places we’ll give to you are mostly popular or maybe a site to see. These are the world’s top five greenest cities.

Starting off with a place you might never heard before, Malmo, Sweden. This city uses green electricity, hydropower, which reduces carbon footprints. They’ve used this system for a decade; reducing the carbon dioxide by 5%. They recently raised that bar to 25% making it one of the cleanest air cities.

This next city has been reported to be one of the greenest cities in South America, Bogota, Colombia. The city is a nice tourist attraction having a wonderful green forest and beautiful view of the city. To keep the city green doesn’t take much. They use more buses than cars and have more bike paths to keep carbon dioxide levels low.

A city that most Americans wouldn’t know is a green city, Minneapolis, Minnesota. You may ask how this city is green with the mass amounts of buildings and lack of Agriculture. They have created a new green program called GreenStep. This program was a statewide program trying to make an eco-friendly impression. The city has 130 miles of bicycle paths; 46 running through major roads and 84 running through parks and green spaces.

Our next city is in Germany, home of sauerkraut and beer. But Freiburg wanted to put a different vision in people’s minds. The people of Freiburg have taken extreme measures and now reduce energy use in homes. Germany is known for its very cold winters. But the people of Freiburg only use 40 gallons of oil for heat. Unlike the usual use in Germany which is 1,600 gallons; this being less carbon dioxide in the air for the Freiburg people. So if you enjoy cuddling up with your loved ones in the cold to help the environment, then this city has your name written all over it.

The last city has to be one of the most future green cities in the world, Vancouver, BC, Canada. The city of Vancouver is trying the impossible, Carbon-neutral. Meaning less fossil fuels and more solar, wind, and water powered. Of course this isn’t a quick procedure but they plan on making this happen in the year 2107. Vancouver is already a green city with devices like dual-flushing toilets, light sensors, and geothermal heating. By this rate Vancouver will be the cleanest city in the world and one of my top locations for tourism.

Well that sums up some of the greenest cities in the world but there’s more out there. It takes the whole city as a team to make an eco-friendly place. This world has enough climate, pollution, and power problems as it is. But to see cities around the world doing something better gives us a future for living green.

What Is the Selection Criteria For Green Building Materials

The concept of a green home doesn’t rely solely on how a homeowner implements ways to make it more eco-friendly. Its whole concept covers sustainability of green building materials from planning, construction, and all the way when occupants are dwelling. You may want them on your house, but the availability of many green construction materials makes the selection process quite difficult. Here are the basic selection criteria to guide you when choosing green home building materials.

Resource efficiency

Resource efficiency is best explained when construction materials used are of known recycled contents. Natural resources like forests are conserved because fewer raw materials like wood are needed. The purchase of recycled construction materials is also a great step in reducing the energy consumption required during the manufacturing stages.

To maximize the resource efficiency of materials for use in construction, ensure that you are purchasing from nearby local manufacturers. This will also help reduce greenhouse emissions associated with the transport of materials from manufacturer to construction site.

Apart from using construction materials with recycled content, you can also make use of salvaged materials from nearby junk yards. There are also hardware stores that supply second hand construction materials. It can save you money while helping reduce garbage accumulation because the materials are saved from being totally junked.

Contributes to improved indoor air quality

Green building materials should be contributors to improved air quality inside the house. This means that they should pass standardized tests to prove they are nontoxic. Materials like paint should have reduced emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). They should be health-friendly particularly to the respiratory system. Look for wall, roof, and other building materials that are less-resistant or fully resistant to moisture. These materials have the highest capacity to prevent the growth of biological contaminants. They can lessen the chances of mold and mildew growth inside the house.

Helps in water conservation

Earth’s water supply is said to be depleted fast if we will not conserve water properly. In fact, there are nations around the world which are already experiencing the effects of water wastage. Your choice of green building materials should help in water conservation efforts. The fixtures you should use in the kitchen, bathroom, comfort room, and laundry area should all have the WaterSense label by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With this label in your faucets, flush, and showerheads – you are very sure that you are indeed conserving thousands of gallons throughout the lifetime of each fixture.

Green building materials help protect the nature. But they also establish appealing overall aesthetics of a green home. A refreshing and beautiful house is the true key to a comfortable living enjoyed by all family members!

Luxury Condos Can Be Eco-Friendly, Too

These days, the ‘green’ label gets thrown around a lot. There’s no end to the list of things advertised as less harmful for the environment than their traditional counterparts. Far from following the trend, the housing industry has long been ahead of the curve. Residential development continues to sit at the forefront of this commitment to green building, with alternative insulation materials going mainstream, solar panels popping up on rooftops across the country, and water-saving technology becoming the norm. But while these additions and renovations can be great, many eco-minded homebuyers don’t realize just how efficient and environmentally friendly it can be to live in multi-unit buildings. Luxury condos are green by their very nature!

The Benefits of Population Density

The more that a single structural element, utility, or appliance can be shared, the more efficient it is. In a luxury condo, a shared wall does what two separate walls would in houses. That translates to half as much building material to construct the wall, whether it’s wood, brick, concrete, etc. It’s also common for utilities to be centralized in a condominium complex, meaning that the hot water heater serves multiple units, a far more efficient use of energy than heating multiple small water heaters. The same holds true for air-conditioning and heating, which benefit from scaling up and serving multiple residences. By combining these functions that would need to be replicated at each individual home, multi-unit homes maximize efficient use of building materials and electricity.

Space to Breathe

On the other side of the equation, minimizing sprawl by sharing structures and appliances leaves more room on the property for outdoor features. Luxury condominiums have a much smaller footprint, on a per-unit basis, than individual homes. This means that the grounds can be larger and more luxurious, with water features and even small community gardens that would not be possible on many small lots.

The Cutting Edge

While luxury condos are, by their very nature, environmentally friendly, developers are increasingly using multi-unit residential construction to push the boundaries of green living. This is owed, at least in part, to the overwhelmingly green values and trends displayed by young, hip urbanites. Young professionals have shown especially significant interest in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for buildings. LEED certification encourages developers to incorporate alternative energy sources like solar panels for electricity or hot water. Another LEED innovation is the use of so-called grey water systems to recycle sink and drain water into the landscape. This water-saving technology is especially popular in the arid West, where drought has forced cities in California and Arizona to mandate cuts in public water.

Today, many homebuyers are interested in spending on environmentally responsible housing choices. Whether it’s a first home or a retirement pad, more and more buyers should look to luxury condos as eco-friendly options.

Bellevue Builds it Green

Resting in the shadow of Seattle, Bellevue redefines what it means to be environmentally friendly. From establishing green policies and regulations surpassing that of most American cities to adopting a green approach toward community expansion, Bellevue is an ideal location for environmentally-sound development projects.

Bellevue is home to more than 145 Fortune 500 companies, with Microsoft and Expedia headquartered in the city. Many of the region’s high powered executives live in the community and have invested in the civic, cultural, and political infrastructure to enhance Bellevue’s quality of life.

Recently named by Fortune Small Business magazine as the “best place in the nation to live and launch a business”, there is a passion for the growth and a deep community dedication to environmental action and upkeep.

There are a number of both infill and brownfield development opportunities in Bellevue, many of which are in the downtown area. These parcels are generally comprised of former gas stations and retail space that has reached the end of its economic life. In addition, their location along and near Main Street, make them prime candidates for mixed-use retail-residential developments, in which the ground floor would consist of a commercial retailer and the top floors are occupied by residential housing.

While these are not high-end development plays that would likely attract retailers such as drug stores and grocers, they are ideal for the growing population of young professionals looking for just the right location in the center of Bellevue.

The City of Bellevue is also committed to “green” construction as evidenced by its outreach programs to local builders. The uniqueness of Bellevue is its ability to cater to smaller builders, working with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and its LEED designation to design programs to encourage brownfield development. As a result, establishing green building standards is often looked upon as a prerequisite to breaking ground in Bellevue and the State and City have placed a high priority on empowering smaller, environmentally aware builders, to take on green projects in Bellevue.

While higher development costs and premiums to meet Bellevue’s stringent environmental standards have created a barrier to entry for some developers, the advantages to building in the city are vast. The financial stability, community commitment and long-term viability of the city make the delivery of green sound projects in Bellevue an ideal opportunity in any market climate.

Garden Apartments

This residential apartment is located on landscaped property that is at ground level. This term loosely describes any apartment on the first floor. It also includes a basement apartment or one in a high rise. If it is a real garden apartment, there will be no household, or apartment, above it. They are spread out horizontally in an open courtyard. You can find these apartments worldwide.

Such an apartment will have one or two bedrooms but you can find some that have three or more bedrooms, especially if they are used as a vacation apartment. The more bedrooms there are the more people they can accommodate when on vacation and renting the apartment. If it is an apartment that is rented out long term it is generally not furnished. If the apartment is rented out on a weekly or monthly basis for vacations, it will be furnished. Garden apartments may also have one or two stories. The common area can include outdoor amenities like a swimming pool, tennis or basketball courts, a spa or clubhouse. The entrance to the apartment could be off the courtyard or the street.

The owners of the garden apartments are responsible for the outdoor area being kept up with the lawn mowed, any outdoor equipment cleaned, clean swimming pool without leaves and other debris, etc. Many owners will plant the area with well cared for trees and floors. If it is an apartment complex and you have a pet you need to find out if there is a special area for the dogs. Make sure that you clean up after your dog once it has finished its business. Your garden apartment may have a small yard or patio. If your garden apartment has either of these two amenities, it would be a good place to have friends and family over for a barbeque.

Each garden apartment is a separate household unit but all of the tenants share any amenities, such as a swimming pool or exercise room and the main outside grounds. The apartments have their own controls for the heat and air conditioning and bathroom and kitchen facilities. In some places, it may be called a walk-up garden apartment because it has an outdoor staircase. With garden apartment complexes that offer premium services like a weight and exercise room or sauna may be charged an extra monthly fee to help with the upkeep and have a key to let them into these facilities. By having a key, it prevents those that choose not to pay the extra fee from using these premium facilities. Some may even have a laundry room for the residents. The rent for a garden apartment would be much the same as a regular apartment but it depends on the location and amenities.