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How to buy and live green -- By John Raleigh

posted Sep 5, 2013, 4:43 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

How to buy and live green

By John Raleigh

Today the Green movement is still in transition but many elements have become mainstream, primarily due to global warming. Ironically, in the 1970's environmentalists were more concerned about global cooling from pollution and not global warming from CO2.

It is popular to ask these days: "Do you believe in Global Warming?" This is as provocative question, like asking do you believe in God. It is a polarizing question. Implying that you are either an environmentalist or not. Or you either believe man made pollution can affect the climate or not. Unfortunately there is misinformation and hypocrisy on both sides of the issue. There is a religious type zeal on both sides that has alienated a lot of the general public.

Whether you believe the Earth is warming or not, there are major governmental plans to increase the cost of energy use, control fossil fuel use, and promote alternative energy. In fact, in the Bay Area, we are already penalized, with extra fees or fines, for over use. Water rates are 5 times higher for large users compared to basic. In fact a house with a irrigated half acre lot will cost 10 times more for water (in the summer) than for a house in Sacramento (they have no meters) and a thousand times more than an Agricultural user for the same size area. PGE rates for electricity are $.36/KWH for the higher tier user and only $.11KWH for the basic user. Indiana electricity users pay $.06/KWH (one sixth of what a homeowner in a 3000sf home would pay in the Bay Area and half of what a basic users pays/KWH). We also pay about 10% more for gasoline and diesel and about 50% more for natural gas than the lower cost areas, like Texas. Nationally, a carbon tax or a cap and trade tax is proposed in Congress. In the Bay Area we already pay a tax because our rates are more than double the National rates. If the carbon tax is fair, the coal burning states like Indiana would pay more and we would pay less. More than likely, Congress will come up with a plan that makes us all pay more.

What can YOU do to reduce global warming and live GREEN?

 There are voluntary plans of action that will save energy, decrease use of foreign oil, and save you money.

Below, I'm providing a list of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, live greener, and make you feel good about helping save the planet or just ways to save money. One list shows inexpensive things you can do, and the other shows more expensive ways. If you just try some of the inexpensive suggestions, you can save 20% of your energy and water usage. A 75% reduction in you energy and water usage is possible if you try all of these suggestions. Carbonfootprint.com will help you measure your usage of energy and water. Using their calculator will help you figure out what are the most effective ways to save resources and money.

Inexpensive things you can do:

Here are some inexpensive ways, some specific to the Bay Area, to save energy, water and money:

- Use CFL light bulbs, motion sensors, unplug energy vampires like TV's, computers and chargers;

- Buy local, sustainable, green products, shop with your own cloth bag, only buy what you need;

- Recycle, buy recycled or used products, support Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and/or support your local farmers markets;

- Buy a programmable thermostat set it at 68 in winter, 78 in summer. Turn the heat/AC off when you are sleeping;

- Cut down on unnecessary car trips. When you get to your destination, park in the first spot you find. Don't drive forever to find a closer parking space;

- Use public transportation, use a rental car service like Zipcar and you can eliminate one or all the cars you own. Even an inexpensive car can cost $5,000/year to own and maintain.

- Walk or bike to school or work. Live near your job.

- Live in a concentrated dense urban area (Most Europeans live in cities and use half the energy we do)

- Use less water, drink tap water not bottled, plant local drought resistant plants instead of lawns, or let your lawn dry out in the summer. Pumping water uses massive amounts of energy.

- Vacation locally. Take 1 long vacation instead of several short ones and save a lot of driving.

- Use low VOC paints. Paint your roof white with special roof paint
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/15/business/fi-cool-roof15

- Chalk and seal your house

- Buy or rent a smaller house

- Use regular instead of premium gas (try it, if the engine doesn't ping it'll run fine). Don't wait to warm up your engine. Modern cars don't need a warm up.

- Change your oil every 15,000 miles, like the manufacturer says, not every 3,000 miles -- like in the old days

- Set your pool pump to run at night--7 hours a night in the summer and 1 hour in the winter. Buy a pool cover

- If you have a new PGE smart meter, do your laundry at night, and use only cold water. Lower your hot water heater temperature to 110 degrees.

 TRUE “GREENY” ways to save the Planet

Now, if you are a TRUE and dedicated "Greeny", dry your laundry on a clothesline and try the following things:

- Plant your own vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. In a smaller garden only plant lettuces, herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and dwarf fruit trees. Many vegetables can be planted that grow in the winter rainy season that will require little or no watering. Examples are lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, spinach. Because domestic water is so expensive, squash, corn, melons, potatoes, cucumbers, beans and other water hungry plants are more efficiently grown commercially and are not cost effective in a home garden.

- Compost, buy organic food (conventional fertilizer and pesticides use a lot of energy), raise your own chickens, put in a beehive.

- Eat less meat. Beef takes 2500 gal of water/pound to produce. Animals produce methane and use more water and energy than plants to produce the same amount of calories.

- Use gray water for yard irrigation. Take 2 min. showers. Share bath water. Turn your pool into a water retention cistern.

- Use energy saving tips from the Government   
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/pdfs/energy_savers.pdf

- Measure your carbon footprint:  
http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx or http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/

- Sustainable living info
http://www.recycleworks.org/greenbuilding/index.html

Somewhat expensive things you can do to help the Planet

- Buy a hybrid or electric car (Pay off time is 10 years - probably longer than the car will last)

- Buy or build a passive solar house or install Photovoltaic active solar panels (Pay off time is 8-10 years);

- Replace your windows with dual pane or better (Pay off time is 10-25 years);

- Insulate more or put in a thermo barrier in attic (Pay off time is 3-5 years);

- Attic fan for cooling, Reversible ceiling fans can help heat and cool (Pay off time is 1-3 years);

- Remodel with "Green" certified products (Pay off time is 10-20 years);

- Solar and/or on demand hot water (Pay off time is 5-10 years);

- Solar pool heater (Pay off time is 3-5 years);

- Buy "Green" appliances, plumbing fixtures and HVAC (Pay off time is 3-8 years);

- Replace your lawn with an artificial lawn (Pay off time is 5-10 years);

- Invest in new clean technology companies;

- Buy carbon credits

Filoli Gardens in Redwood City, where we live....

posted Jun 5, 2012, 9:23 PM by Svetlana Raleigh   [ updated Jun 5, 2012, 9:31 PM ]

I thought I'd add something else for fun----
Filoli Gardens in May:

May in Filoli Gardens, Redwood City, CA



Persimmon Bread — Amazingly Good!

posted May 11, 2012, 6:07 PM by Svetlana Raleigh   [ updated May 11, 2012, 6:08 PM ]

It has nothing to do with Real Estate but cannot resist from sharing this................Try it when you have a chance, It’s really delicious! I just took 2 loaves from the oven and the whole house smells yam! Here is the recipe —

Persimmon Bread  (Makes two 9-inch Loaves)

3½ cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup
Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

…….and here is the site it came from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/11/persimmon-bread/



Homebuyer Workshop at College of San Mateo - Nov.17

posted Nov 7, 2011, 12:45 PM by Svetlana Raleigh   [ updated Nov 7, 2011, 4:55 PM ]

November 17 / 2 to 5 p.m.
Home Buying in Your Financial Future
Location: College Center, Bldg. 10 - Rm. 193, College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo
Understanding the basics of how to buy a home - even if you’re not at that place in life yet – is a key to achieving the American Dream. Professionals in banking, title, credit, law and real estate will provide both rudimentary knowledge and interact with students, faculty and the public on the basics in planning for homeownership. Open to CSM students, faculty and the public on a first come, first served basis. No pre-registration required.

More info at: http://www.samcar.org/index.cfm/Homebuyer-Workshop.htm

Just something for FUN -

posted Nov 2, 2011, 6:15 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

Antique Car Show - Roy Cloud School in Redwood City


Economic Update - October 24, 2011

posted Oct 27, 2011, 12:20 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

Have not posted anything for awhile.... the blog is up to date though: sfpeninsulaestates.wordpress.com.  Here is the latest economic update.
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The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in September jumped 15% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 658,000 units. Single-family starts increased 1.7%. Multifamily starts rose 53%. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, fell 5% to an annual rate of 594,000 units.

Industrial production at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.2% in September. Compared to a year ago, industrial production is up 3.2%. Capacity utilization rose to 77.4% in September from a revised 77.3% in August.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 0.8% in September after a flat reading in August. For the year, seasonally adjusted wholesale prices are up 6.9%. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.2% in September.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index rose four points in October to 18. The reading was the highest level since April 2010. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

Existing home sales fell 3% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million units from an upwardly revised 5.06 million units in August. The inventory of unsold homes on the market decreased to 3.48 million, an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.4-month supply in August.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 403,000 for the week ending October 15. Continuing claims for the week ending October 8 rose by 25,000 to 3.7 million.


Economic Update - May 30, 2011

posted May 31, 2011, 4:03 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

New home sales rose 7.3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000 units from an upwardly revised rate of 301,000 units in March. Economists had expected a pace of 300,000 units in April.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending May 20 rose 1.1%. Refinancing applications increased 0.9%. Purchase volume rose 1.1%.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 3.6% in April after a revised 4.4% increase in March. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 1.5%.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter of 2011. This follows a 3.1% pace of growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Retail sales fell 1% for the week ending May 21, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.1%.

Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 11.6% in April after a 5.1% increase in March. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are down 26.5%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May's final reading rose to 74.3 from 69.8 in April.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to 424,000 for the week ending May 21. Continuing claims for the week ending May 14 fell by 46,000 to 3.69 million.

Economic Update - May 9, 2011

posted May 9, 2011, 1:06 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity fell to 60.4 in April after reaching 61.2 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 21st straight month of expansion.

Total construction spending rose 1.4% to $768.9 billion in March, following a 1.4% decrease in February. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.5% in March.

Retail sales fell 0.8% for the week ending April 30, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.8%.

Factory orders rose 3% in March to a seasonally adjusted $462.9 billion, following an upwardly revised 0.7% increase in February. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 2.6%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 29 rose 4%. Refinancing applications increased 6%. Purchase volume rose 0.3%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 52.8 in April from 57.3 in March. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 16th straight month of expansion in the services sector.

The Labor Department reported that in the first quarter productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.6% and labor costs increased at an annual rate of 1%.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 43,000 to 474,000 for the week ending April 30. Continuing claims for the week ending April 23 rose by 74,000 to 3.73 million. The monthly unemployment rate rose to 9% in April from 8.8% in March.

Economic Update - April 4, 2011

posted Apr 6, 2011, 2:08 PM by Svetlana Raleigh

Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 2.1% in February after a revised 2.8% decrease in January. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are down 9.3%.

Retail sales rose 0.2% for the week ending March 26, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.6%.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis — fell 1% in January after a 1% decrease in December. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 3.1% compared with January 2010.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 25 fell 7.5%. Refinancing applications decreased 10.1%. Purchase volume fell 1.7%.

Factory orders fell 0.1% in February to a seasonally adjusted $446 billion, following an upwardly revised 3.3% increase in January. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 0.1%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity fell slightly to 61.2 in March after reaching 61.4 in February. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 20th straight month of expansion.

Total construction spending fell 1.4% to $760.6 billion in February, following a 0.7% decrease in January. Economists had anticipated a decrease of 0.3% in February.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 388,000 for the week ending March 26. Continuing claims for the week ending March 19 fell by 51,000 to 3.7 million. The monthly unemployment rate fell to 8.8% in March from 8.9% in February.

Economic Update - March 28, 2011

posted Mar 30, 2011, 11:38 AM by Svetlana Raleigh

In its third and final report for the fourth quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 3.1%, rather than the 2.8% increase previously reported.

Existing home sales fell 9.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million units from 5.36 million units in January. The inventory of unsold homes on the market increased 3.5% to 3.488 million, an 8.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 7.5-month supply in January.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 18 rose 2.7%. Refinancing applications increased 2.7%. Purchase volume rose 2.7%.

New home sales fell 16.9% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 units from a rate of 284,000 units in January. Economists had expected a pace of 290,000 units in February.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 0.9% in February after a revised 3.6% increase in January. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly decrease of 0.6%.

Retail sales fell 0.1% for the week ending March 19, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3%.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 382,000 for the week ending March 19. Continuing claims for the week ending March 12 fell by 2,000 to 3.72 million.

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