The Green American Dream
The flip side of the downturn in the housing market is that home prices are more affordable than ever. This makes today the perfect time to get fantastic values on beautiful energy wise remodels.
Buyers can take advantage of what’s new in Green Building technology and save thousands of dollars a year on energy costs while helping stimulate the economy and doing their part to Save the Planet! Energy wise renovators and investors are making the new Green American Dream a reality while finding out how to make excellent returns on short term or long term investing. Looking to buy a wonderfully remodeled Green Home? Interested in learning how to do energy wise house flipping for yourself or others? You’ve come to the right place.
Real Home Performance for Home Buyers
There’s been a lot of talk about “Really Green” vs “Greenwashing.” The biggest hit has been taken by LEED with Henry Gifford’s blistering presentation in April this year. (Skip to the last paragraph for Henry’s true feelings.) Henry showed how LEED and other points-based rating programs can entice designers to specify gizmos that are currently popular at the expense of tried and true design concepts that dont garner as many points.
First Time Homebuyers, Juan, Corrin & their new son. Although they didn’t receive a plaque or certificate or a computer prediction, they are happy about their new home and especially the low utility bills and the comfort of the home.
This results in many LEED buildings costing more to operate than the equivalent non-LEED buildings. Henry suggests that simply monitoring the energy usage (and continuing to monitor it and publish it) is the best way to move us toward energy independence.
What a great idea, Henry! That’s what we do here at GreenEarthEquities. Today I stopped by to pick up the utility bills of one of our buyers participating in our “We Pay Half” program. That’s where we pay half of the Utility Bills for a period of time, usually 2 years. It allows us to put our money where out mouth is and stand behind our claims of energy efficiency… and at the same time keeps the customer motivated toward efficiency because they are paying the other half.
Here are the first 6 months of bills, May thru October. The home is a 40 year old 1200 square foot tract home in Fresno where the summers are really hot. Perhaps even more important is that the homeowner was pregnant with her first child and kept the thermostat at 70 degrees all thru the summer.
Month Gas Electric Total
May 11.06 43.70 55.62
June 5.20 40.36 45.97
July 6.92 109.32 116.88
August 5.09 112.77 118.31
September 6.17 109.97 116.72
October 6.51 71.15 78.24
The home got no certification or plaque. No HERS rating required. No third party testing or computer modeling. The project was designed toward the main thing that counts = the bills. And the bills are about half of what the rest of the neighborhood experiences. Is the homeowner happy? Ecstatic is more like it. Sad that they didn’t get a rating or a plaque? Dont think so. So what’s to not like about that? The deliverable was delivered.
Henry Gifford’s critique was directed at LEED, primarily for commercial buildings. But Residential Programs are not far behind. How much non performance from Home Performance programs will the tax payer allow? Is there political will to demand transparency and performance?
Would the real efficiency of Energy Efficiency Programs improve if the following were implemented:
1. ”We Pay Half” where contractors & developers paid half the utility bill for two years. OR
2. Contractors & Developers wait a year for 50% of their incentive payment and receive it only if the promised deliverable was really delivered.
3. Allow rate payers to see the “Neighborhood Average” along with their bill every month.
Pretty simple stuff really. Please comment in the comments section below. Do you think it’s too simple? Would it work to deliver more energy independence? Or is there too much investment in the testing and modeling and certifying industry that is providing so many of the good new Green Jobs that dont always deliver what the programs promise?
Additional Buyers Information
Click a link below to view posts
Magic Numbers? Layout: Buy and Remodel, Sale or Lease Tonight we'll discuss the wisdom of diversifying our real estate strategy given the current Buy and Hold market opportunities. It's been our experience that 3 Bedroom 2 Baths offer some of the best profit margins when energy-wise house renovating and flipping. The question is, when the return on investment (ROI) rate is higher through long term leasing strategies, does the magic number of beds and baths change? It's been said, "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break." With inventory low, we're finding most the obvious bargains have multiple offers, many over list price....Continue Reading!
Greater ROI HomePath Financing Tonight we'll have two guests sharing about one of the most exciting financing & investment combinations on the market today. Jennifer Martin, our Real Estate Broker and Gene O'Brien, our Loan Broker will be talking about Leveraged Investment in Foreclosures using the Fannie Mae program called HomePath. Check it out at HomePath.com to get a head start on the Webinar. Requiring only 10% down, The HomePath mortgage allows investors to get in the game with less capital than with conventional financing. Tune in to hear why investors are flocking to this program. What are its limitations and where does it shine? And...Continue Reading!
Green Home Reference Guide Part 2 Complexity Vs Simplicity Tonight we will continue our discussion with Debra Little about Appraisals and Appraising Green, Energy Efficient Homes. We will complete the Guide that she uses in the training classes that she conducts for Appraisers around the country. It will lead into a discussion on Simplicity versus Complexity. How complex and complete does an Appraiser's understanding of Home Performance need to be? Can we keep it simple? Or must we (and they) be sucked into the Vortex of Complexity that so easily rises up in an industry with so many variables? Some would say, "Let...Continue Reading!
Green Home Guide Part 1 Dave Robinson Interviews Debra Little Tonight we will go over the Green Home Reference Guide which was prepared by Debra Little and Steve Easley for use in the the PG&E training for Realtors and Appraisers. Debra is a Real Estate agent and a Certified Appraiser and Steve is a Building Science Forensic Expert. Debra and I will discuss each point on the guide and we'll take all your questions and follow the rabbit trails wherever they go. The guide we present tonight will be an Improved and Expanded version and could actually be the basis for a simplified rating...Continue Reading!
Quickbooks Pro Overview Introduction To House Flipping Accounting Tonight we'll be responding to requests for an overview of how GEE uses QuickBooks to meet our accounting needs. Part 1 of a series on Energy Wise House Flipping Business Management, some of the topics we'll discuss include: QuickBooks Features Getting Started Account Set Up Reports: Standard and Custom Reconciling Bank Statement Online Account Updates Bill Pay and Invoices Tracking by Jobs Year End Accounting We'll also take a brief look at NeatWorks electronic receipt and document filing system. The first in series on this topic, we'll discuss upcoming training and were you can find answers to QuickBook questions you may have now or in the future. Click here to...Continue Reading!
Portable Task Management Laptops, Cell Phones and Tablets Tonight we'll discuss an essential aspect to our or any industry, namely time and task management. In the past we've reviewed our use of SmartSheets, a great online project projection and delegation software. More important still is the use of daily portable task tracking devices and software of which I've been a high end user since the debut of Palm Pilots (back when Dave's "palm" pilot was aSharpe). I currently use 3 different programs for long-term, daily and incidental tasks. Join us as we review and discuss several hardware and software options. Looking forward to your feedback on what works...Continue Reading!
Home Performance Why Do We Make It So Difficult? If you've hung around this site for a while, you've noticed some recurring "Mantras" ... the chief of which is "Keep It Simple." We've found that Simplicity Works and Complexity Doesn't. For example, the above photo which Rogelio sent me from his phone ... of the final blower door number for our project on Homsy Ave ... it's a simple number but it's all I need to know that we are well on our way to a top performing house. All we need to do is tag a few more bases like this and...Continue Reading!
Investment Strategies Turning Crises to Opportunity OK. We've had a volatile couple of weeks on the national economic scene. It's sent shock waves thru the public so there's been a lot of profit taking and looking for safe havens for investment. Our realtor Jennifer says some of her home buying clients are deciding to wait and rent.... But what does it mean for us, the Energy Wise Real Estate Investors? Are the formulas that we used last year still valid? Is this still a workable business model? Is it a good idea? A great idea? Or a good way to waste money? How...Continue Reading!
Energy Loading Order & What's Most Important? Choosing What Will Your Budget Allow After Enlightenment, we have a "Menu" of Green Options that is so large (and ever expanding) ... that there is no way we can do "Everything" Tonight we will address the question of how to choose and how to best use the budget that we have. BTW that's really important... having a budget. In our business it depends on the initial purchase price, and the ARV, After Repaired Value. No matter how high our ARV or how big our Spread, we still can't do everything. So how to choose the most...Continue Reading!
Home Monitoring System Tonight we'll talk all about residential Energy Monitors. We'll compare several options that are available today, including some disturbing info from some field testing... and then I'll show you the installation of one of the most popular monitors in a 12 minute movie that I shot while installing the TED in my new home in Virginia. Most importantly, we'll discuss the new marketing concept that we are considering... including the monitor, installed and all set up, with the sale of the home. Remember, we're paying half the low bill for two years anyway. Now we'll keep the account...Continue Reading!