Tag Archives: Low Impact Living

Low Impact Living – Community Gardens

Iron Horse Community Garden

Living a low impact lifestyle with a small carbon footprint is a good idea for many reasons other than the headline-making issues.  Low impact living helps to unify communities and creates good will between neighbors.  Low impact living is good for your Tucson Real Estate also.  There are many ways to have a low impact lifestyle.  One way is to organize a community garden.  I recently posted about the historic Iron Horse neighborhood in central Tucson.  Located adjacent to Iron Horse Park is the Iron Horse Community Garden.  The land for this garden is provided by the city and this small community space brings a pleasant oasis of green where a barren sandy lot could add to blowing dust.

Some community gardens rely on a property owner setting aside a portion of their land where neighbors can share resources like tools, water, information, expertise, and above all fresh organically grown vegetables.

You can explore http://www.communitygardensoftucson.org to learn more about community gardening.

Remember to consider low impact living when considering your Tucson Real Estate choices.

Iron Horse Community Garden

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Low Impact Living – Grocery Bags

Living a low impact lifestyle with a small carbon footprint is a good idea for many reasons other than the headline-making issues.  Low impact living helps to unify communities and creates good will between neighbors.  Low impact living is good for your Tucson Real Estate also.  There are many ways to have a low impact lifestyle.  One way is to consider what bags you use to pack your groceries.  Plastic grocery bags account for huge amounts of litter both on land and in our oceans.  By purchasing a cloth or recycled bag that can be reused, you will make a difference both to the environment as a whole and to your own neighborhood.  One company you have to chose from is SustainableBags.net.  They offer a variety of Bio-Plastic, Organic Cotton, and Organic Hemp Bags.  If their bags are too pricey for you, remember that most stores offer reusable bags with their store logo for only about $1.00.

Remember to consider low impact living when considering your Tucson Real Estate choices.

Will Future Housing Trends Be Greener?

It appears, according to one analyst, that the future of housing may be a greener one.  Here is what Richard Blair from Smart Financial Mortgage had to say in a recent email:

At a recent meeting of the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota, Senior Fellow John McIlwain said “a new normal” will be created in the housing market over the next 10 years, and he marked the end of “the suburban century.” He noted that markets offering “a vibrant 24/7 lifestyle” will see the most robust activity, “net-zero-energy” units will become the norm, and the rental market will expand as homeownership rates fall to more historic levels. Suburban town centers will gain popularity among those wanting an urban lifestyle without living in a big city. Over the next decade, McIlwain said four demographic groups will fuel the housing market. He said older baby boomers increasingly are moving back to the central city, while younger baby boomers are finding it more difficult to relocate for jobs because they cannot sell their suburban houses. Meanwhile, millennials are more environmentally aware and will seek urban lifestyles, and immigrants who cannot afford large suburban houses to shelter multiple generations will increase demand for rentals. With 1.5 million housing units per year needed to accommodate the shift to normal levels of household formation, McIlwain said zoning, financing, and regulations need to be rethought to meet housing demand. Source: minnpost.com

Factory-built homes are gaining popularity among buyers who appreciate the speed with which they can be constructed as well as their discounted price – 10 to 35 percent less compared to stick built, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute. One problem is the difficulty potential buyers have finding information and qualified builders. “We have not, as an industry, learned to promote our homes,” admits Vic DePhillips, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Building Systems Councils. Some locales still aren’t accepting of factory-built technology, but increasing numbers of zoning boards have come to understand that finished factory-built homes look no different than stick built, says John Perry, chief executive of Contempri Industries Inc., a modular house manufacturer in Pinckneyville, Ill. Source: Chicago Tribune

Trees can save homeowners money. The following information is taken from the Realtor® Content Resource:

Three properly placed trees could save home owners between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Their shade cuts cooling costs in the summer. In winter, they serve as windbreak and help hold down heating costs.
The National Tree Calculator estimates that a 12-inch elm in an Omaha yard can save $32.43 a year on homeowners’ energy bills; the same tree in Atlanta would save them $11.89 annually. The 12-inch elm adds $40.23 to the Omaha home’s value and $57.33 to the Atlanta home. As trees grow larger, they can add even more value.
Source: National Association of Realtors®

So it may be better to consider more walkable neighborhoods and low impact building options when considering a purchase of Tucson Real Estate.

Low Impact Living – Technicians for Sustainablility

It is always important to consider low impact choices for your Tucson Real Estate.  One great choice, as stated previously, is solar energy.  There are many companies to choose from in Tucson when considering solar energy.  One is Technicians for Sustainability.

Technicians for Sustainability, LLC is a  Tucson based, locally owned, mission-driven company specializing in solar electric, solar hot water, and rainwater catchment.  They are located north of Downtown Tucson in historic West University neighborhood.

Their goal is to “ensure that southern Arizona’s natural resources are used efficiently and with respect for present and future needs”. They are so committed to the environment that employees are encouraged to cycle to office and, when possible, even to work sites.

And the dedication doesn’t stop there.  Every year the company gives two grants for non-profit organizations wanting to add solar systems to their buildings. KXCI Community Radio is a current grant recipient. Technicians for Sustainability also develops and promotes community education programs.

Check out their website at tfssolar.com for upcoming events, an endless list of web resources, and available programs for solar electric, solar hot water, and rainwater catchment.

When considering low impact choices for your Tucson Real Estate, consider Technicians for Sustainability.  They will give you more to consider than just solar energy.

Low Impact Living – Solar Water Heaters

When considering ways to make your Tucson Real Estate more environmentally conscious, energy use should be high on the list of things to consider.  One of the big energy wasters is the old fashion water heater.  When you get ready to get into the shower, the water must run until hot water reaches the bathroom.  When you are washing dishes, the water must run until hot water reaches the kitchen.   When you are washing clothes, the water must run until hot water reaches the laundry room.  All of this wastes energy.  For just a little more up front investment, you can replace your existing water heater with a solar water heater and solve the energy wasting problem.

Solar water heaters use Arizona’s most abundant form of energy, the sun.  Sunlight is free so why not use it to heat your water?  Local, state, and federal incentives are currently being offered and cover up to 70% of the cost to install solar water heaters.  Those incentives, much like incentives for solar electric, help to make this a smaller investment while giving you the full benefit, both in energy savings and increased property value.

Any of the solar companies in Tucson can help you research the possibility of a solar water heater for your home.  One possible option is Technicians for Sustainability.  You can learn more by visiting their website at http://tfssolar.com/.

Remember to consider low impact options for your Tucson Real Estate.

Low Impact Living – Tankless Water Heaters

When considering ways to make your Tucson Real Estate more environmentally conscious, water use should be high on the list of things to consider.  One of the big water wasters is the old fashion water heater tanks.  When you get ready to get into the shower, the water must run until hot water reaches the bathroom.  When you are washing dishes, the water must run until hot water reaches the kitchen.   When you are washing clothes, the water must run until hot water reaches the laundry room.  All of this wastes water.  For just a little more up front investment, you can get a tankless water heater and solve the water wasting problem.  Here is what Southwest Gas had to say about tankless water heaters in last month’s newsletter.

Did you know that water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home and typically accounts for 12% of you utility bill?  Heating water requires a significant amount of energy, and natural gas has proven to be the more efficient choice for this purpose.  Using natural gas at the appliance is three times more efficient than using electricity.  With natural gas, about 90% of the energy is delivered directly to your home.  In comparison, electricity is only about 30% efficient because 70% of the source energy is lost in power generation and transmission.

If you are looking for additional efficiencies, consider a tankless water heater.  Tankless water heaters, as the name suggests, have no storage tanks.  They heat water only wit hot water is needed, making them very energy efficient.  Since most tankless water heaters are compact and wall mounted, they are extremely space efficient.  Although tankless water heaters typically costs more to purchase, they cost less to operate in the long run.  The added benefit of energy tax credits definitely make tankless water heaters a smart choice.

Contact our Energy Specialists at 1-800-654-2765 to learn more about how they work, where to buy them, available energy tax credits, and installation requirements.

How does a tankless water heater work?

  1. A hot water tap is turned on.
  2. Cold water enters the heater.
  3. The water flow sensor detects that water is flowing.
  4. The computer automatically ignites the burner.
  5. Water circulates through the heat exchanger.
  6. The heat exchanger heats the water to the designated temperature.
  7. When the tap is turned off, the unit shuts down.

Remember to consider low impact options for your Tucson Real Estate.

Low Impact Living – An Explanation of Solar Energy Covenant Restrictions

Here is what Krystal Book with American Solar Electric has to say about Solar Energy Covenant Restrictions:

An Explanation of Solar Energy Covenant Restrictions

Arizona law protects individual homeowners’ private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy.

This law sustained a legal challenge in 2000. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of homeowners in a lawsuit filed by their homeowners association seeking to force the homeowners to remove roof-top solar panels. The judge found that the association’s “guidelines combined with [its] conduct ‘effectively prohibited’ the defendants from placing solar heating devices on their residence, contrary to the provisions of A.R.S.-33-439 (A).”

Senate Bill 1254, enacted in July 2007, stipulates that a homeowners association may not prohibit the installation or use of solar-energy devices (panels and associated devices). An association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar device so long as those rules do not prevent the installation of the device, impair the functioning of the device, restrict its use, or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device. The bill also requires that the court award reasonable attorney fees and costs to any party who substantially prevails in litigation against an association’s board of directors as it relates to the provisions.

For more information about Solar Electric for your Tucson Real Estate contact:

Krystal Book (krystal@americanpv.com) American Solar Electric, Inc, 1475 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 410, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 www.AmericanPV.com 480-994-1440×102