EcoBroker Education in Raleigh May 21-23

USGBC Triangle Chapter and the Association Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals (AEERP) partnered up to sponsor the 3-day EcoBroker

Certification course Monday-Wedneday this week.  What a treat to have CEO John Beldock instructing!  He’s so passionate about EcoBroker, knowledgeable about energy efficiency and environmental issues relating homes.

The EcoBroker certification is the premium designation for real estate agents who care about the environment and want to better their knowledge about environmental issues and help consumers live in more efficient and healthy homes.

Learn more about the EcoBroker Program at


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ENERGY STAR Adoption – NCEEA 2nd Annual Summit-Part II

So, is 30% significant?  You betcha!!!    NC is now in the 25% club along with the early adopters in the SW.  NC catapulted to the top quartile by more than doubling the market penetration from 2008-2010.  2012 numbers are expected to exceed 30%.  The local numbers as reported by the TMLS since 2009 mirror the trend.

Here’s how the Triangle and NC stack up compared to the country.

Table 1: ENERGY STAR Single Family Production and Market Share


Market Share












North Carolina











Triangle (per TMLS)














Date sources: and TMLS as reported by Quick Turn Appraisals.

Cumulatively NC’s market share represents 34,972 ENERGY STAR qualified homes built to date per ENERGYSTAR.GOV.

Where are the ENERGY STAR homes located?   Right again, the Triangle followed by the larger metro area of Charlotte.

What is the environmental significance?

ENERGY STAR qualified homes built in 2011 are the equivalent of:

  • Eliminating emissions from 5,363 vehicles
  • Saving 32,440,980 lbs of coal
  • Planting 8,865 acres of trees
  • Saving the environment 63,623,285 pounds of CO2


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Electric cars…cordless charging!!!

Cordless charging is a game changer allowing people without a garage to own an electric car and the added bonus is that Evatran is local to the Triangle.

Last March I test drove the Nissan LEAF and was enchanted with the quiet ride and concept of never buying gas again.  In reality, the LEAF was not the best match for my lifestyle.  Sure there is a national network of charging stations and Raleigh is a leader is providing public charging stations.  I check the Nissan site for available charging stations within 50 miles.  With a 100 mile range and no gas engine as a backup, my conviction to the LEAF is wavering.  In my day’s work I can easily travel over 100 miles and would need to plan time in my schedule for a re-charge.

The LEAF requires a 240 volt permanently wired charger for optimal charging.  There is an option for regular household current 120 volt for emergency charging, about to produce about 5 miles range for 1 hour.

There are two problems for many home owners with no garage, no place to put the outlet and the requirement for a short OEM cord.  Parking lot charging for apartments, townhomes and many homes without a garage or carport is problematic.  The home charging station costs $2,000 on top of the approximately $40K price tag for the vehicle.  According to the Wiki article, “the 2014 model year, Nissan plans to introduce an inductive charger for wireless recharging. The system will be 80%-90% efficient, and existing vehicles will not be able to be retrofitted with the system.[87]

Solar is also a charging option for the LEAF.  The two barriers are Home Owner Association approval and cost.

GM’s product, the Chevrolet Volt travels about half as far as the LEAF per gallon and is a hybrid gas engine vehicle providing much more flexibility. The charger uses standard household current 120 volt and does not require an external charging station to replenish the Lithiom-Ion battery.

So, Volt trumps LEAF for charging and flexibility. Add the cordless charging under development by Evatran  and you have a winning combination!  Now, back to work to be able to afford the $38K pricetag.  Or the $28K for a Toyota Prius Plug-in.

MotorTrend comparison of the Volt and LEAF was very enlightening especially the equivalent of miles per gallon and carbon emissions.


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More green than shamrocks in Raleigh in March

While thousands were wearing the green at yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, others are starting their greens in the garden.

Notable news, NCSU scientists have perfect a new mildew resistant strain of the spring beauty, the dogwood tree.

According to N&O March 8th article,  “a decade of research into potential solutions has yielded a bulletproof dogwood that not only repels diseases but produces larger, showier flowers. Samples are being distributed to growers around the state for testing, and the tree could be available at local nurseries – and in local gardens – as soon as 2014.”

When I first moved to Raleigh some years ago I was surprised to see dogwood trees in the woods and along the roads.  In the Northeast dogwood trees are planted in a sunny but protected area.  Here they are so abundant that the falling petals seems remind me of the  fluffy spring-time snowflakes….without the cold.

Dogwood sales in NC represent 10% of all dogwoods sold in the nation with NC growers reaping $5-6M as stated in the same N&O article.  The longer I live in NC, the more I learn about its economy.  I would never have guessed that this dogwood will be a cash crop for the state.

The new strain of disease resistant dogwood is simply named, NCJAM6, and was developed from a thriving tree in the Pisgah National Forest.

Does anyone remember the story on the crape myrtle hybrid developed from the outstanding specimen at the JC Raulston Arboretum?  Some years ago an NCSU graduate  horticulture student showed me the tree in the Arboretum that is the “mother” of a many of the crape myrtles that line Raleigh’s trees.

Visit the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) at NC State University to see two unique cultivars of the species Lagerstroemia fauriei: ‘Townhouse’ and ‘Fantasy’. ‘Townhouse’ has dark mahogany-red bark and profuse flowering during the summer. It is also noted for its striking winter appearance. ‘Fantasy’ is named for its elegant stature, beautiful rusty-red exfoliating bark and profuse display of white flowers in the summer. Visit the JCRA in person or at to explore their impressive collection of crape myrtles.   (NCSU Cooperative Extension, “Successful Gardener”)

Look for more information on trees and their effect on the environment as National Arbor Day (April 27th) approaches.


Spring seems to be coming early this year with temperatures in the 80s in March!  According to the average temperature should be in the 60s.

Look for a future post about the effect of warmer weather and how to choose plants that are heat tolerant and use trees to cool your home.



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From One Seed, Premier of the film

As part of the time-honored tradition of Meredith’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture,
Bill Landis presented the community with the premier of his film, “Seed”. This engaging 28 minute film chronicles the journey from seed to tomato plant and finally to the consumers who purchased the tomatoes.

The evening started with “The Bathtub Ring”, an a capella women’s harmony group of Meredith students, singing old time songs.

The humble tomato seed story was entertaining and playful.  Bill’s graduate student’s stitched together just the right scenes to create a complete journey from seed to dinner.  BTW, all attendees received two heritage seeds, Principe Borghese, traditional Italian plum tomatoes.

Back to the story…As the images of ripe tomatoes flashed by, my mouth was watering for fresh summer tomatoes, not the plastic pretty red grocery store variety.

Why do heirloom seeds still exist and why are they important?  First, they represent a fading plant diversity. Varieties that exist for taste, appearance, hardiness and adaptation to the local climate are disappearing as large farms move to hybrid one crop plants.  Landis stated that in 1903 544 varieties of cabbage existed and that number declined to 36 in 1983.  Second, these seeds connect us with our past. e don’t know Aunt Ginny whose purple tomatoes were featured or Aunt Ruby famous for her German Green Tomato seeds.


Following the showing, the film participants gathered in an informal setting on the stage for Q&A.

Local organics are making in roads, enough so that Harris Teeter approached Eastern Carolina Organics in Pittsboro to supply fresh vegetables for their local stores.

Eastern Carolina Organics
 547 Industrial Park Drive
Pittsboro, NC 27312.
Ph. 919.542.ECO4 (3264)

Bill Landis, Adam Fisher, John Soehner, Amy Hamilton, Chris Hunter and Alex Hitt.


Bill Landis, PhD BIO Graduated with a B.S. from Guilford College, and received  his M.S. and Ph.D. in foods and nutrition from University

in 1996. Landis is the program coordinator for the foods and nutrition program, and is the director of the M.S. program in nutrition. His interests and research background includes local and organic foods, sustainable diets and methods of food production, vegetarianism, and sports nutrition.of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was a faculty member at Ball State University in Indiana before coming to Meredith College

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NC Energy Efficiency Alliance 2nd Annual Summit

NC Energy Efficiency Alliance 2nd Annual Summit February 22, 2012

The NCEEA summit was hosted in Raleigh and packed with success stories!  For eighteen months the NCEEA has been educating stakeholders and promoting energy efficiency to North Carolina consumers.  The alliance is a partnership of the Appalachian State University Department of Technology, NC State Energy Office, Advanced Energy, NC Solar Center and Southern Energy Management.

The panel on green homes started the day with insightful questions posed to the panelists:

  • Dan McFarland (Southern Energy Management) NCEEA partner representing HERS raters
  •  Mel Black (BrightPath Education Services) representing appraisers
  • Paul Donohue (Abacus Mortgage)
  • Jeanne Moyer (Triangle Green Homes) Realtor/EcoBroker

Dan McFarlnad, Mel Black, Paul Donohue, Jeanne Moyer and moderator Nick Hurst

Interesting Points Made by the Panelists

  • Green the MLS is making progress with the Triangle MLS leading the way. Since March 2009, the TMLS has been tracking the number of certified green homes in addition to green and energy efficient features found in any home.
  • Once the MLS is green will all agents know how to enter and use the data.  One step at a time!  Getting green fields in the local MLS is a tremendous accomplishment!  The benefit to agents, builders, appraisers and consumers is so great.  However, with any database there is a learning curve and some inaccuracies due to human nature. Remember the acronym GIGO, garbage-in, garbage-out!  Education and supporting materials were provided to agents to increase the understanding and reduce the number of errors.
  • HERS scores for resales are like a kilowatt/square footage rating.  The market will migrate toward rating ALL homes as they are sold.  Consumer education is needed for understanding the scale and making it simple to understand per square foot, how much energy a home uses.
  • Appraisals still garner much attention during a real estate transaction.  Qualified appraisers are necessary for accurate appraisals that consider energy efficiency.  AMCs certify appraisers by subject matter competency and geographic area, two of the biggest concerns.  Appraisal Management Service  (AMC) is a third party service that contracts the appraisals in an effort to reduce fraud. The appraiser works for the AMC that works for the bank keeping the transaction at what is called, “arms length transaction).


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Recycling electronics

It’s this time of the year that folks are upgrading laptops and getting new electronic toys!  One of my favorite places, Purple Elephant has closed its doors after 5 years.

As of JULY 1, 2011, Computer Equipment is BANNED FROM NC LANDFILLS

Resources you might consider:


Wake Country Trash Takers

City of Raleigh recycling options (scroll to the bottom of the web page for donation alternatives)

City of Cary recycling

Wake County recycling

Chatham Country recycling

Durham County recycling and swap

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GreenNC and so much more!

To all my readers, I apologize for letting so much time lapse since I last posted to my blog. So much has been going on all summer and yet to come this year.

Topics to cover in this post:

  1. The Triangle MLS is green for nearly 2 years and data collected shows that green certified homes sell for more money and faster than standard construction…yeah!
  2. GreenNC Expo will be held December 8th in Durham for the first time and is a packed with education, vendors and a feature speaker. This is the 7th year for the annual Expo hosted jointly by the Triangle Chapter of the USGBC and the NC Solar Center.


The Triangle MLS added fields to track the green certifications and green features in listed homes March 2010.  This is so significant and unique as most MLSs throughout the country do not track the sales of green homes.  With this data now available to all users it is obvious that locally consumers are buying green certified homes in greater numbers.

  • Certified – Listed in MLS as EnergyStar, GreenBuilt, LEED-H, NC Healthy Home
  • YTD 32% of the new homes listed in TMLS are green certified. This is up from 2010 – 23%.
  • According to Quick Turn Appraisal findings for new construction home sales that closed in 2010.  Comparing certified homes to non-certified properties, both sold at about 98% of their listing price, with similar square footage.  Average figures for the past year:


    CLOSED IN 2010


    Sq Ft





    Certified (N=922; 22.5%)




        Non-Certified (N=3178; 77.5%)






    $ 13.82



      +3.1%   +12.9%   -30.1%

    Note that we also are seeing the market penetration of high-performance homes steadily increasing.  For listings in early 2011, over 30% of the new construction now has at least one certification listed!  That’s up from less than 20% in 2009.

GreenNC Expo December 8th

This year marks the 7th annual GreenNC Expo held in Durham for the first time at the Marriott Convention Center downtown Durham.  GreenNC features vendors, educational sessions, networking, luncheon speaker and award ceremony.

Of course the best session is the one that I put together, “The State of the Green Home Market in the Triangle”!!!  Come on down and listen to the panel of experts talk about what is being built, who is buying, what’s up with appraising and how to finance a green homes.

• Exhibit space with prominent green designers, builders and suppliers that serve residential and commercial clients throughout North Carolina. Walk through and see what innovative companies are growing the North Carolina green economy. Learn what new green buildings products and initiatives are on the horizon for 2012. Click here to register for a space or to see a list of exhibitors.

• A full day of 24 education sessions covering a variety of current green building topics. Continuing education credits will be available for almost all sessions for GBCI (LEED AP+), AIA, ASLA and others. Participants can earn a total of four CE credit hours by attending one of six concurrent sessions in each of four time slots. Click here for description of each session.

• Opening plenary featuring successful green building initiatives from the local, state and federal levels. The opening plenary is free but registration is requested. One hour of continuing education credits is available.

Luncheon keynote with Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development for USGBC. Nate will address What’s Next? in Residential Sustainability in the U.S., speaking to regional and national green homes trends, the advent of data to drive enhanced performance, and the future of our existing housing stock. One hour of continuing education credits is available. For more information on Nate Kredich…

An evening Green Award Gala to recognize and celebrate the exceptional leaders in the region’s green building movement.


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Plug-in conference in Raleigh July 18–21

Raleigh has been the host of several high profile national environmental conferences since the new Silver LEED certified convention center opened in 2008.  Wow that was 3 years ago already!

  • 2010 National Green Building Conference May 16-18
  • American Solar Energy Society National Solar Conference July
  • Electric Power Research Institute’s Plug-In International Conference Jully

Plug-in 2011 included an open to the public evening.  The $10 admission included a  pass to the exhibit hall to see the latest plug-in vehicles and to a screening of Revenge of the Electric Car.  Both were well worth the investment.

I was familiar with the Nissan LEAF when the national tour stopped in Raleigh in March this year.  You can read all about the LEAF and see pictures of me driving the car using this link to the my earlier blog post.

At the time I was enchanted with the LEAF but after investigating it further I think the Chevy Volt is a better fit for me. It is a hybrid and has a more flexibly and cheaper charging system than the LEAF. I had been concerned about the 100 mile range, the  slow re-charge and few charging stations.

Cars on display included:

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • 2012 Ford Focus Electric
  • Mitsubishi i
  • Nissan LEAF
  • Siemens Smart Chopper

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle

The evening’s finale, The Revenge of the Electric Car, was well worth seeing!  The insights, photos and clips from Telsa Motor’s CEO Elon Musk made for delightful viewing.

In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM and the Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of the electric car.

Electric cars have come a long way since the Detroit Electric car in the early 1900s.  Tesla’s roadster is sleek, fast and cute!

1918 Detroit Electric Telsa Roadster $120,000 Tesla S model

Two of the displays really captured my interest.  First, on the
practical side, a tow truck equipped to provide a minimum charge
to electric vehicles.  This was an add-on capability to the
standard towing and enough gas to get to a station rescue.
The second answer the question of where does the power come from
to power the electric car. Aren’t we just trading carbon to create
grid based power for gas?  Well, this innovative structure with
solar panels as the roof answered the question and provides cover
for the vehicle. At this time it is only available to dealers as a
display and charging station.

AAA Mobile Electric Charging
Green Zone charging station for dealers

Enjoy the slideshow! 

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Posted in Car: electric, Electric Car, Hybrid car, solar | 3 Comments