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Beware of Greenwashing in the Housing Market

By Dayanti Karunaratne
February 13, 2009
File under: Green Building Techniques, New Communities


It’s no secret that corporations – and the agencies that market them – have grown wise to the increased public concern about environmental issues. At a time when many market sectors are hurting, businesses of all types are trying to catch some of the momentum in the so-called green economy.

With good reason – green products are among the fastest growing segments in the market and present a huge potential for growth.

While its important to read product labels carefully to make sure you’re getting a truly green product, the stakes are significantly higher when it comes to investing in a house or condo. You need to look closer, ask questions, and, perhaps most importantly, not be satisfied by the marketing pitch. …read more of Beware of Greenwashing in the Housing Market here

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Rent Green

By Dayanti Karunaratne
February 9, 2009
File under: New Communities, Remodeling Green


While the term green building may conjure up images of costly renovations like positioning our house in relation to the sun, in reality, many of us are at the mercy of our landlords. Who keeps an eye on efficiency? As a renter, how can you ‘green’ your humble abode?

One way is to voice these concerns when you’re shopping around for a new place. Take the opportunity to bring energy efficiency into the conversation when visiting potential units.

Beyond who will pay the bills, ask questions about efficiency and maintenance. For example, if you want to further insulate your hot water heater, will your landlord pay for the materials? (A foil blanket on an electric water tank stops up to 97 percent of radiant heat loss which, depending on the location of your tank, means the $20 device will pay for itself within a year.) …read more of Rent Green here

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New Housing Concept?

By Ted Nelson
December 4, 2008
File under: Green Building Design, New Communities


Green building means more than just using low-VOC paint. While any small steps we can take immediately are great, in the long-run we have to develop a fully sustainable built environment for ourselves and our communities. In my last green building entry, I looked at a whole town being built around the principals of environmentally sustainable development, but recently I came across a smaller scale solution in a NY Times article: cohousing. The cohousing model originated in Denmark in the 1960s, and has since spread around the world: there are over 100 cohousing communities in the US and Canada today, with as many as 100 more in the pipeline. These communities range from 7 to 67 seperate residences, with most falling somewhere between 20 and 40. Cohousing developments can be urban, suburban, or rural, as the multitude of example in The Cohousing Association of the United States’ (Coho/US) website demonstrates. The 6 defining characteristics of cohousing according to Coho/US:

1. Participatory process. A group of buyers usually forms before construction and funds the project together.

2. Neighborhood design. The community then works with an architect to create its ideal living environment. These first two features make cohousing a very fluid process, limited only by the imaginations and desires of the project’s initial residents. …read more of New Housing Concept? here

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5-Minute Lifestyle

By Ted Nelson
November 19, 2008
File under: New Communities

5-Minute Lifestyle

At the very heart of our “unsustainable” society is the built environment. Aspects of green building such as building materials and energy are beginning to receive the attention they deserve. But what about the actual layout of our neighborhoods, our communities? This is something the average person may overlook because alone we are powerless to change it. As a society, however, urban planning is an issue we do control. Developers continue to build car-required/walking-optional subdivisions of cookie cutter McMansions because people will buy them. Shouldn’t we demand, and legally require, something better? Something more livable?

There are, of course, tons of examples of developers doing their part, building LEED certified or just generally sustainable projects—residential, commercial, and mixed use—across the United States. One mixed-use project stands out as the first in North America (and fourth in the world) to be endorsed by One Planet Communities.

Codding Enterprises’ Sonoma Mountain Village (SMV), located about 1 hour north of San Francisco in Rohnert Park, California. SMV will be built on a 200 …read more of 5-Minute Lifestyle here

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