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Ronald Klarenbeek - NowSold.ca

 

Ronald Klarenbeek

Eco Smart Real Estate

Occasionally I am asked the question what is an Eco smart Real estate agent or Green Realtor.

Simply put, I try to immerse myself in all the new and smart trends that will have a greener and greater and more of a positive impact to our environment.

The benefit of this for my clients is great for instance a home owner can now get an energy star rating on their home, which means when it comes to selling your home a potential buyer can see whether your home is energy efficient or not and what it costs to run your home per annum.

If your home has a great energy rating and you have done the extra steps to retro fit your home with some or all of the following.... energy efficient windows, doors, furnace, hot water on demand, insulation, Thermostat, low flow toilets, solar panels or geo thermo to simply changing your light bulbs to LED and swapping out the old shower head to new ones or putting in door seals and much much more.

Whether by law or by simple economics, "sustainable living" and eco smart real estate will become the new norm. When that occurs, the government incentives now in places for "sustainable living" will most likely be gone. By getting ahead of the competition and thinking about the future eco smart real estate is positioning ourselves as the leader in the Fraser Valley sustainable living real estate market.

By taking these steps you will be more likely to ask and get more for your home then your neighbors. A potential buyer will see that the operating or energy cost per annum will be much less then what they are used to seeing.

Being an eco smart realtor I try my very best to promote the sales and marketing of real estate that has one or all of the following factors.

  • Reduces Green House gas Emissions
  • Reduces annual energy costs,
  • Promotes good design and quality,
  • Preserves natural resources,
  • Produces less toxic pollution and waste,
  • Utilize readily renewable resources,
  • Utilizes recycled or reclaimed materials,
  • Promotes Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency,
  • Promotes Environmental awareness,
  • Reduce construction associated waste
  • Minimizes the use of toxic materials to reduce the emission of poisonous indoor emissions,
  • Uses adaptable materials that can be reused or recycled.
  • Helps leave the world a better place for future generations

So my question to you is this, are you ready to take a few step toward EcoSmart / Green and sustainable living while taking care of our recourses for the future generations to come...

There are a lot of misconceptions today about the time and money it takes to implement green features and sustainable lifestyle practices to your home.

Myth 1

Going green or retro fitting my home will cost too much.

Not True! There are a variety of cost-effective ways to make you home green without hurting your wallet. It can actually SAVE you money in the end.

Reasons to go green and retro fit your home

There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have an abundance of resources available in Canada but in reality its rather limited and more and more people are using them up If Canada is not selling our resources to other countries. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard or better living then we've experienced, we need to take action today.

Going green or making your home an eco smart home is a great place to start, because the typical home consumes approx 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy. (this according to the Green Building Council). to put it simply that is 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that's not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to retro fit your home and start going green:

a. For The Environment

I would like to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.

b. For The Savings

Everyone wants to make their dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.

 c. For Your Health

Going Green isn't just good for the environment; it's also good for YOU. Sustainable living and design or technology enhances a resident's overall quality of life by improving air and water quality.

An abundance of green service professionals and products are available see links below or call for any specific questions

Myth 2

To have a eco smart green building, you need the building to be LEED certified.

Not True! know as great as that would be...LEED is setting a standard for existing and new green homes and buildings. You can implement or retro fit your home that reduces energy consumption, save you money and save the environment without the building being LEED rated or certified.

What is a green building

"Typically speaking, green homes are healthier, much more comfortable, more durable, and more energy or cost efficient and have a much smaller environmental footprint than your conventional homes."

Sustainable properties are really the future of the real estate industry. Consumer demand, residential builders, government incentives, and local government policy are slowly but steadily making this happen. Many consumers, real estate professionals, and property owners are taking steps towards retro fitting their properties for most if not all the reasons stated above.

As the green eco smart building movement gains momentum here in BC and across Canada, so does the consumer demand for greener eco smart energy efficient and energy star rated properties. Right now 2 out of 3 of my clients are paying attention to green homes and if any retro fits have been made or done to the home. they recognize the link between green properties, the costs, and healthier living.

The Public also understands the long-term investment and savings associated with eco smart or green home. Homebuyers surveyed by the nation association of realtor in America who ranked energy efficiency as "very important" purchased homes that had a median price $12,400 higher than those who ranked it "somewhat" or "not important.

Myth 3

One person can't really make a difference.

Not True! I believe that every step towards going eco smart or green is a step in the right direction. Whether you change one habit several habits or your entire way of living, your actions will absolutely reduce your carbon foot print and make a "world" of difference in the long run.

a. reduce your carbon footprint

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases you generate annually. The lower your footprint, the better!

See ecohatchery.com or the link below to see your carbon foot print.

b. going carbon neutral

To solve the problem of climate change, we all need to take account of our personal carbon emissions and make continued efforts to reduce them wherever possible. But it is impossible to reduce our carbon emissions to zero, no matter how hard we try. Going carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets is a practical and affordable way to do something about those remaining emissions. In effect, you are paying someone to offset your carbon emissions by giving them money towards creating renewable energy or reducing their own carbon emissions. It's supposed to be a zero sum game.

For a further explanation as well as links to a list of approved Carbon Offset vendors, and more please visit David Suzuki's website for more information.

There will be more informative links and knowledge to come; in the mean time below are some excellent and great recourses and websites to get started:

  1. https://nagab.org/products_services.php
  2. http://www.citygreen.ca/
  3. http://www.ecohatchery.com/
  4. http://www.bcsea.org/
  5. http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/green-home-building-policies.aspx
  6. http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca/
  7. http://fraservalleyconservancy.ca/

Walls

issue:

The average 50-year-old home can lose a third of its energy through air leakage. Small holes and cracks in walls and gaps around baseboards, sockets and attic hatches. combined these cracks and holes can add up to the size of a soccer ball and larger.

solution:

A blower door test, conducted during an energy audit, is the best way to find air leakage areas. Sockets can be lined with foam. Small cracks can be caulked or larger crakes can be filled with foam.

Lighting

issue:

incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past cost money and are simply inefficient

solution:

The best way to reduce energy costs is to replace all incandescent or florescent lights with LED light bulbs, The wonderful thing about LED light bulbs is they virtually cost pennies to opperate, and you can now get LED light bulbs that look just like incandescent bulbs when on. You can even set the mode by changing the color with certain LED bulbs.

Windows and doors

issue:

Gaps around old windows and doors allows cold air in and warm air out, as does the glass on single-glazed windows.

solution:

In some cases, you can re-caulk or seal the window frame inside and out and only replace the glass in the frame! otherwise budget to replace all your windows for an substantial result and comfort level as well as energy saving. Weather stripping can reduce drafts around doors ($25 per door). If you do opt for new windows. consider calling Anton VanDyk with Centra.ca windows in Langley or look in the white pages for local window installer.

Attics

issue:

Attics in older homes often lack sufficient insulation and a vapor barrier to decrease drafts. Homes built in the 1960s typically have about half as much as recommended or none.

solution:

Lay or blow in new insulation. Your potential Savings maybe up to 30 per cent in older homes, An energy audit can give you an estimate. please see citygreen link for auditors or further information

Fireplace

issue:

The damper does not close properly, not dealing with this is like having a window open all the time until solved.

solution:

Check for damper efficiency during a blower door test. If there is leakage, certified fireplace technician can install a spring-loaded damper, or give you a couple options.

Heating vents

issue:

Some vents blow too weakly while others are too forceful, resulting in a temperature imbalance warm down stairs but not up.

solution:

Test vents by placing a garbage bag with a cardboard rim over each vent and timing how long it takes to fill with air. Three to five seconds is normal; vents that fill faster are sucking air from the rest of the house. To slow them down, partially close the damper to direct air to less-efficient areas. If vents on upper floors are too slow, consider installing an additional cold-air return to redirect more air upstairs.

Appliances

issue:

Refrigerators and washing machines made prior to 1990 are not energy efficient. Energy is also wasted by computers left in standby mode and TVs and stereos turned off by remote (these still use energy) causing what are referred to as phantom loads.

solution:

Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency fridge and front-loading washing machine. New stoves dishwashers and dryers may not be worth the replacement costs in terms of energy savings. Turn off electronics or plug them into a power bar that can be fully switched off.

Run the dishwasher only with a full load of dishes. Let the dishes air-dry or use the economy setting.

Set your refrigerator between 2 -3 degrees Celsius and the freezer to -18 degrees Celsius.

Air conditioner, Furnaces & Boilers

issue:

They all use lots of energy; the air conditioner is typically the biggest consumer of power in most homes. In many cases, however, it doesn't pay to replace these big-ticket items unless there's a reason.

solution:

Reduce the need for air-conditioning by installing energy-efficient ceiling fans. Programmable thermostats save heat or air conditioning power when you're sleeping or not at home.

When it's time for a new furnace chose the highest efficiency model available). The greenest option around is source heating, also known as geothermal, or solar.

When it's time to replace the hot water heater consider an on-demand unit which costs 60 per cent less to run. Until then, install low-flow shower heads and aerator faucets. Try keeping your electric water heater at 60 degrees Celsius and your gas water heater at 55 degrees Celsius. Your potential Savings is about 30 to 40 per cent increase in efficiency; but switching to a geothermal energy system will cut costs by 300 to 500 per cent.

Wrapping your water tank with an insulating blanket or foam will save you up to about 9% on your water heating costs.

Water

issue:

Here in Vancouver, where we are surrounded by waterways, snow-capped mountains and wet winters, we can easily forget that water is a precious and limited resource. In fact, only 3% of the world's water is fresh, and less than one third of 1% is available for human use.

Canadians like to think that we are environmentally conscious citizens but the reality is that Canada ranks a dismal 28th among the 29 nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of per capita water consumption. Only Americans use more water than Canadians.

Canada uses 1,600 cubic meters of water per person per year. This is more than twice as much water as the average person from France, three times as much as the average German, almost four times as much as the average Swede and more than eight times as much as the average Dane. Canada's per capita water consumption is 65% above the OECD average.

In terms of total water consumption, Canada is 26th out of 29 OECD nations, with the United States, Japan and Mexico using more water, in total, than Canada.

solution:

  • Keep showers to under 5-7 minutes
  • Use only a little water in the bathtub
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
  • Put water in the sink when washing up
  • Flush the toilet only when necessary.
  • Don't use it to flush tissues
  • Use a broom to clean the driveway or sidewalk
  • Use a bucket when washing the car
  • Use a turn-off nozzle on the end of the hose to adjust the water flow and turn the water off and on
  • Turn your water faucet off tight
  • Put water in the kitchen sink to wash and rinse dishes
  • Run the dishwasher only when it's full
  • Run the washing machine only when it's full
  • Check for hidden water leaks
  • Incorporate low-volume toilets and automated faucets in kitchens and bathrooms

You might be able to purchase indoor and outdoor water saving kits from the City of Vancouver (was $12 for Vancouver residents). The Indoor Water Saver Kit is especially suited for older homes and includes a low-flow shower hear, two bathroom aerators, a kitchen aerator, a toilet displacement bag, and two leak-detection tablets. The Outdoor Water Saver Kit includes a heavy-duty water nozzle, mechanical water timer, six hose washers, and two rain gauges. Using them should save up to 21 cubic meters of water!

Kits are available in the Client Service Centre at City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue.

But you can also find these items at most home hardware stores, or online. If you use the water saver kits you can save 10-15% on your water heating bill. If you follow the suggestions above and watch your water consumption, the amount of water you can save is virtually unlimited!

Recycling

recycling counsel of BC

Call the RCBC Recycling Hotline 1-800-667-4321 FREE  for options to recycle your appliances, or post them on the RCBC Materials Exchange www.bc.reuses.com if they still have some life in them and could benefit someone else.

Mobile phones and rechargeable batteries may be dropped off at businesses participating in the Rechargeable Battery and mobile phone Recycling Program. Businesses may join the program for free and either collect in-house or become a public collection point. www.rbrc.org

You may also join Freecycle.org, a free online community that connects people who want certain products with those who want to get rid of those types of products. www.freecycle.org

When looking at buying or selling new computers, ask the companies if they take back products that are no longer wanted. A list of some companies that do is available on the Electronics Product Stewardship Canada website at www.epsc.ca

Dell, Apple, HP all have great recycling programs

If your old computer equipment still works, you may donate it to Computers for Schools in BC.. www.computersforschools.ca

Household recyclables

We all know what we can and can't put into our blue & yellow bags, and in the blue containers, but what can we do with milk and juice containers? You can bring all empty milk, cream, milk substitute and juice containers to a participating Return-it Depot in your neighborhood. This voluntary milk container recycling program is a project of the BC Dairy Council and is fully funded by them. Visit www.encorp.ca/milk to find out locations, and for 'how to return them' tips!