Air Sealing Rules, Affordable Efficiency, Green Roof Market, + More LEED Bashing

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Energy Efficiency is Critical in Home Design

The housing market is “starting to gain traction,” according to AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, although people aren’t rushing to add home theaters and the like.

Rather, “home features and products attracting attention are generally focused on energy efficiency or accessibility around the home, as well as wireless systems and low-maintenance, sustainable products,” per Mr. Baker based on findings from the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey in the second quarter of 2012.

  • 66% of respondents report the popularity of adding insulation in the attic
  • 52% of respondents report the popularity of energy management systems
  • Popularity continues to increase for solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, water reclamation systems, triple-glazed windows, tankless water heaters, water-saving devices, and recycled or salvaged materials.

[+] More of the Results of the AIA Home Design Trends Survey.

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Study: Eco Labels Influence Home Values

A green label on a single-family home in California provides a market premium compared to a comparable home without the label, according to a new study co-authored by Nils Kok (UC-Berkeley) and Matthew E. Kahn (UCLA).  The authors found that a green home label — Energy Star, LEED, GreenPoint Rated — adds an average nine percent price premium, or about $34,800 more than homes without a green label using the average home price of $400,000 in California.

Kok and Kahn studied about 1.6 million homes sold in California from 2007 through 2012.  While controlling for variables known to influence home values — location, size, vintage, amenities — the authors claim they were able to isolate the added value, or premium, of green home labels.

In addition, the authors found two interesting points of research relating to the so-called green premium.  First, green homes sell for a higher premium in hotter climates.  The authors speculate that green labels are valued because homes in these areas cost more money to cool.  Second, the premium is positively correlated to geographies with higher registrations of hybrid vehicles.  The authors use hybrid registrations as a proxy for environmental ideology and believe the correlation suggests homeowners in these areas value the intangible qualities associated with having a green home.

In other words, “in communities with strong environmental values, residents may see green homes as a point of pride or status symbol,” said Kok in a statement announcing the new study, The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market.

Indeed, some of the benefits that homeowners may associate with green homes include: lower utility costs, higher quality of construction, better indoor air comfort, healthier indoor air quality, and proximity to amenities including parks, shops, and mass transit.  According to some research, demand for green building materials is expected to reach $70 billion by 2015 and green homes could become roughly 28-39% of the market by 2016.

[+] The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market.

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Energy Efficiency is Pervasive These Days

In findings presented at the NAHB’s National Green Building Conference and Expo in Nashville, McGraw-Hill Construction said more than 80% of builders and remodelers responded that energy efficiency is making homes greener now than in the last couple years, according to a SmartMarket Report called New and Remodeled Green Homes: Transforming the Residential Marketplace.

The 60-page download includes findings based on a survey of 416 residential builders, developers, and remodelers taken during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Of those that responded, about 60% believe efforts to improve indoor air quality have made homes greener than two years ago.  Also, about half of them — and especially the remodelers — consider durable materials to be one of the most important features of their homes.

So what’s driving the growth in new and remodeled green homes?

First, there’s a perception that green homes are higher in quality.  Second, homeowners are seeking green homes in order to save money and minimize energy costs.  Surprisingly, initial costs are noted as an obstacle by less builders than before, signaling that perhaps homeowners are interested in investing now to save later.

Thus, green is penetrating the market at all levels, new and remodeled.  The market for green homes is currently at $17 billion, and it’s expected to increase to between $87-114 billion by 2016.

[+] For a copy of the report, visit McGraw-Hill Construction.

Credit: McGraw-Hill Construction. 

Read more: Energy Efficiency is Pervasive These Days

The Light Bulb as a Home Appliance

I’m sure by now you’ve read some of the political talk circulating the web as a result of a recent article by The Washington Post about the Philips LED bulb that won the L Prize and $10 million.  The contest was meant to spur lighting innovation and make LEDs more affordable, but readers noted the bulb’s unrebated MSRP of $50 and basically flipped out.

Even Energy Secretary Chu commented on the price: “Nobody expects to pay $50 for a light bulb and quite candidly, if you’re filling your house with light bulbs like that, they should be part of your will,” according to Andrew Restuccia of The Hill.

With the media this LED bulb has generated — especially considering the fact that Philips won the contest in August 2011 — I can’t figure out why there’s not been a more grounded approach to the discussion in the last week or so.  So let’s just cut through the clutter and address some of the main talking points.

What are the specs for the L Prize bulb? 

It’s a screw-type replacement for the 60-watt incandescent and uses 10 watts of energy.  The omnidirectional bulb outputs 900 lumens, has a life of 30,000 hours, has a color of 2700 K (similar to an incandescent), and a CRI of 92.  It’s dimmable, contains no mercury, and turns on instantly.

What is the price of the L Prize bulb? 

It’s reportedly going to sell for the MSRP of $50, not counting rebates, if available.  As of August 2011, 31 utility providers and energy efficiency program partners had signed up to promote and develop markets for the new L Prize bulb.  Philips expects to achieve the $22 target L Prize price through utility partner rebates of up to $30 off in-store purchases.

Doesn’t Philips already have a bulb like this on the market?

You can buy a different Philips 60-watt replacement at places like Home Depot.  I purchased four AmbientLED bulbs less than a year ago for $40 per bulb and they’re awesome.  This same bulb is selling retail for about $25, or $20 right now on Amazon (Wow! You mean it dropped 20 in price in about a year?  Yes.)  It uses 12.5 watts, outputs 800 lumens, has a life of 25,000 hours, has a color of 2700, and has a CRI of 80.  So it’s close in performance to the L Prize bulb but not has high performing in key areas.

What’s the cost of purchasing and using the L Prize bulb?

Based on the cost of the bulb, plus the cost of energy to run the bulb on an assumption of $0.11 kWH: the L Prize bulb costs $82 (prior to any rebates), a halogen bulb costs $186, and an incandescent costs $213, according to a recent Philips press release.  These numbers closely align with the same math performed by Think Progress in response to the WaPo feature.  By the way, WaPo now concludes that the incandescent will cost $145 more over the life of the L Prize bulb.

But that’s still a high initial price?  What to do?

The reality is, many Americans live check to check.  Replacing a bulb every 6-8 months is a lot easier than investing in something that won’t need replacing for like 20 something years.  Which is why it’s probably time we as a nation find a way to treat home lighting as an appliance worth saving for and purchasing, as opposed to an expendable that’s tossed in the shopping cart and trashed when dead.  If it’s cheaper to buy the L Prize bulb when factoring in lifetime energy costs, which it is, then it’s pragmatic to make that happen.

What about Made in America?

To win the L Prize, a majority of the final product assembly and integration must be carried out within the United States.  Philips made the white LEDs and electronic driver in the United States.  During mass production, all final assembly and testing of the L Prize bulb will be completed in the United States.

The real question:  Would you buy one for $50?  How about $20?

[+] More about the L Prize LED light bulb from Philips.

Credit: Philips Lighting North America.

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Green Homes Currently a $17 B Market

Green homes comprised 17%, or $17 billion, of the overall residential construction market in 2011, according to new findings in the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study by McGraw-Hill Construction.  Mc-Graw Hill predicts green homes will gain market share over the next few years to between 29-38% of the market by 2016 — a market that could equate to $87-114 billion by these forecasts.

Additionally, 34% of remodelers expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016.

Factors that contribute to the growth of the green homes market include “higher quality” and “increases in energy costs,” while obstacles continue to be “higher perceived first costs” and “lack of consumer education.“  Builders guesstimate that the premium to build green is about 7%, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

Areas with the highest growth in green homes include, first, the West Coast, second, the Midwest northern region west of the Mississippi, and third, the New England area.

Notwithstanding a brutal housing economy, “green has grown significantly as a share of activity— indicating that the green market is becoming an important part of our overall economic landscape,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, VP of Industry Insights and Alliances, McGraw-Hill Construction.

As the housing economy begins to, perhaps, come back a little from recent doldrums, 33% of builders and 22% of remodelers expect to be dedicated to green building work by 2016.

[+] More about the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study.

Credit: McGraw-Hill Construction.

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Zilbert Brings $6.75M Miami Beach Marina Townhome to Real Estate Market

Miami Beach, FL (PRWEB) November 17, 2011

Zilbert Realty Group, a premium real estate brokerage firm based in Miami Beach, Florida, announced today the availability of a 3000 square-foot townhome along South Beach’s famed marina.

Priced at $ 6.75M, the townhome is a three-story, all-glass structure with dramatic marina views, spacious terraces and private access. The home features a large open floorplan on the first level, with an entire second level dedicated to the master suite. A third level creates a private living space with access to a roof terrace. Design features include a floating staircase between the three levels, specialized antique wood flooring and a private two-car garage. The master suite has two sets of bathrooms and walk-in closets. The home’s designer used premium materials and fixtures throughout the property.

This property is part of the Murano at Portofino condo complex, located at 1000 South Pointe Drive in Miami Beach. The townhome sits adjacent to the condo tower, in a separated structure.


Zilbert Realty Group is a real estate brokerage firm that specializes in upscale properties in and around Miami Beach. With annual sales of $ 165M, the company is one of Miami’s fastest-growing luxury real estate brokerages. The firm caters to both local and international customers, and offers services in many different languages. Its professional and licensed real estate sale staff has one of the highest per-agent-average-sales in Miami’s real estate industry. It’s award-winning website ( receives over 50,000 visitors each month. The firm will be opening the first Zilbert Realty Store, a retail real estate concept store, in early 2012.


Body Well Massage Professionals Now Offering Mobile Massage in Orlando Market

Sunrise, FL (PRWEB) October 30, 2008

Body Well, a provider of managed on site mobile massage therapy services, announced today that it has commenced massage service in the Orlando area. The company, founded in Palm Beach County in 2005, has been steadily expanding its service areas to include the largest metropolitan regions of Florida, now including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa Bay and Orlando. The range of services offered in all regions including Orlando consist of in room hotel massage and in home massage therapy, special event and corporate chair massage, plus chair massage at convention center trade shows.

The company has completed its initial round of recruiting in the Orlando area and has contracted Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) meeting Body Well’s stringent standards. The team has been strategically assembled to accommodate a range of specialized therapeutic massage modalities including Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage, Medical Massage, Reflexology, Chair Massage, and Prenatal massage among others. The male and female LMTs are based throughout the Orlando area in order to accommodate clients seeking massage in areas including Disney and all other resorts, plus communities including Winter Park, Apopka, Maitland, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, and Casselberry.

“Leveraging Body Well’s experience and operational capabilities to provide mobile massage services in Orlando to residents, tourists, local businesses, and convention center visitors alike was really a no-brainer,” remarked Daniel Melmed, President of Body Well. “We are confident in our ability to provide mobile in home, in hotel, and corporate chair massage services in Florida in a way that readily distinguishes us from any other massage service, anywhere in the state.”

Body Well’s standard fees for on site massage therapy services in home start between $ 90 and $ 100, and for in room massage at hotels or resorts from $ 110 to $ 120 per hour. Deep tissue massage is available for an additional $ 15 per session. Group discounts, couples massage discounts, seniors and military discounts, and discount package pricing are available.

Chair massage for convention center trade shows and exhibitions, as well as for corporate and office wellness programs, range from an average of $ 60 to $ 85 per hour depending on volume.

Body Well also accepts insurance paid massage therapy, including therapeutic massage through personal injury protection (“PIP”) for automobile accident victims and massage through major medical insurance when benefits are available.

The full range of services offered and corresponding fees, plus additional information about Body Well’s therapists, policies, past newsletter articles, press releases and more can be found at the company’s web site.

About Body Well:

Body Well performs mobile massage services throughout the South Florida tri-county area including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, in the Tampa Bay area including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Brandon, and the Orlando area, including Disney and all other resort areas, plus communities such as Winter Park, Apopka, Maitland, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, and Casselberry. The company offers a wide range of professional on site massage therapy services including home massage, event and chair massage, massage therapist staffing of physician’s offices and other massage facilities, in-room hotel massage services and more. Further information about Body Well can be found on the company’s web site: Body Well can be reached by phone at (954) 572-2122. For appointments: (888) 929-WELL (9355).


Soliant Energy Supplies Commercial Rooftop Solar Solutions to Portuguese Market

Monrovia, CA (PRWEB) September 8, 2010

Soliant Energy, the leader in concentrated photovoltaic solar energy systems for commercial rooftops, today announced that it has completed the first installation of its commercial rooftop CPV solar energy solutions in the Portuguese market, in partnership with Turiprojecto, a leading Portuguese construction company. The solar energy producing system, built around the Soliant Energy SE-500X, was successfully installed by Sunwind on Turiprojecto’s corporate headquarters in Alverca, Portugal. SunWind, the renewable energy subsidiary of Turiprojecto, is also serving as Soliant Energy’s integrator in Portugal, Spain and North Africa . Turiprojecto will use the new rooftop Soliant Energy system to generate energy for company use and as a display installation for prospective customers.

“We are proud to be part of what we believe is the first rooftop CPV system to be installed and in-use in Portugal,” said Dr. Terry Bailey, president and chief executive of Soliant Energy. “Portugal, and the neighboring southern European and Northern African regions, are excellent target markets for Soliant. The hot, dry climates make solar a cost-effective renewable energy source and there are acres of flat industrial rooftops to turn into energy power plants. We look forward to working with Turiprojecto and SunWind to capitalize on this opportunity,” continued Bailey.

“For over the past twenty years we have been a leader in commercial, logistic and industrial business parks construction in Portugal. Turiprojecto’s and SunWind’s work with Soliant Energy reflects our belief in the potential of commercial rooftops to provide profitable solar energy production systems to our customers with access to the most innovative renewable energy solutions available,” said Jos

Global Timeshare Market Continues to Expand

Altamonte Springs, FL (PRWEB) October 14, 2005

The timeshare industry continues to be the fastest growing sector of the global travel industry with more than 6.7 million timeshare owners and sales of almost $ 9.5 billion, according to Patrick E. Dougherty, owner of Timeshares United which handles timeshare properties worldwide.

“The U.S. and especially Florida, is particularly hot at the moment and Orlando continues to be the family vacation capital of the world. The weakness of the dollar against many of the world’s currencies means that overseas buyers are snapping up fantastic bargains. More than 3 million people have a timeshare property in the U.S. There never has been a better time to get into the timeshare market,” he said.

“Timeshare has come a long way in the last 20 years and for the last seven years has been the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. It is now one of the most regulated industries in the U.S. Every state has strong legislation governing the industry and protecting consumers so they can now buy with confidence,” said Dougherty.

“With timeshare ownership available for less than $ 2,000 a week, buying makes a lot of sense to many people. For about the price of just one vacation, you have a deeded luxury property you can use for years and years to come.”

“Many people don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and furnishing their own holiday villa and why continue to pay for hotels year after year,” he added.

“Another major advantage of timeshare is that if you don’t want to use your property one year, you can rent it or you can choose to stay at any one of 5,000 other resorts in 90 countries around the world. And you are sitting on an asset that you can sell at any time if you need to,” said Dougherty.

“Florida continues to be one of the most popular timeshare destinations for the British because of the year-round sunshine, high standard of living, service and courtesy in shops, restaurants and elsewhere that has long since disappeared in the UK and the very favorable pound-dollar exchange rate. After Florida, the most popular timeshare states are South Carolina, California, Hawaii and Colorado. Other hot spots are Las Vegas, Arizona and Mexico,” he said.

“However, it doesn’t matter where you want to buy, lease or rent timeshare properties. There are great deals to be had around the world with financing available through Timeshares United team of finance partners.

“We expect 2005 will be a record year for timeshare sales globally and that the market will do even better next year,” he added.

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