6th Annual Green Home Tour this weekend and next

the 6th Annual Green Home Tour sponsored by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle starts tonight with homes open Saturday and Sunday this weeekend (May 14-15) and next (May 21-22)

In case you haven’t seen this already it is an excellent opportunity to learn about green building first hand by experts with an outstanding new certified home!

Michael Chandler speaking
Friday, May 13th 2011
4:30 – 6:30 pm
2825 Barmettler Street
Raleigh, NC 27607

Also, it is time for the Spring Green Home Tour sponsored by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle.  The tour runs for both this weekend and next. Some of the homes are only open on a Saturday.

There are 4 outstanding homes in Wake County that are ONLY available during the tour.  Many of the tour homes are listed in MLS. Please contact me if you would like to set up an appointment.

  1. 2825 Barmettler Raleigh- Greg Paul Builders: LEED & NAHB Gold
  2. 4919 Shallowbrook Drive Raleigh – Olde Heritage Builders: GHBT Gold certification in progress
  3. 12831 Lindley Drive Raleigh – BuildSense: NAHB “Gold” Green Certification & EPA’s Energy Star
  4. 2408 King Malcom Lane, Zebulon – Habitat for Humanity: NAHB & SystemVision certifications in progress

>> Don’t Miss the Kickoff for the 2011 Green Homes Tour this Friday

Friday, May 13th 2011
4:30 – 6:30 pm
2825 Barmettler Street
Raleigh, NC 27607


Please join Triangle USGBC, the Green Home Builders of the Triangle (a Council of the Home Builders Associations of the Triangle), and City Councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin to learn more about building a LEED for Homes and NAHB Green certified home. The Triangle is projected to nearly double in size by the year 2040 and the home building industry will reflect that growth with an increase in new home construction beginning in 2012. Does green building have a financially viable place in our residential market? What does a viable green home look like?

Hear the full story straight from the homeowner and designer on the green home building project at 2825 Barmettler Street in Raleigh, the first LEED-for-Homes and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green certified home inside the Raleigh beltline. What was done? Why was it done that way? How were decisions made? How much did it cost to go green? The discussion will offer tangible, discrete, and replicable techniques and methods to ensure you build the most efficient, cost effective, and relevant home.

GBCI, NAHB and AIA credits will be offered.


$15 Chapter Members and GHBT Members

$25 Nonmembers (To join the Triangle USGBC Chapter and receive the Member Discount for this event, click here to join; then register later as a Member.)

Posted in Energy Star, Green Certified Homes, Green Home, HBA, LEED, MLS, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Earth Day!

Today is the traditional Earth Day celebration that started over three decades ago.  I was struck by a few statements in the history on the official website, http://www.earthday.org.

  • First, it was a national movement supported by Republicans and Democrats
  • Massive numbers of supporters came out including college students: 20 million people took time from their daily lives and protested in favor of the environment
  • Resulting legislation was Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts which has served the country well.

My wish today is for each of us to renew our commitment to the planet and supporting efforts to maintain protective legislation.  Remember the spirit of the first Earth Day and forget party politics and help our legislators do what is right for the earth. We all live here and need quality water, air and soil to survive.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club blog is a good resource for pending legislation and suggestion supporting action.  Take a few moments, read what policies are on the chopping block and contact your local representative.  Most times the alerts include easy to respond email or link you to the page to find your rep.

Enjoy the day, the spring weather coming this weekend, celebrate the earth and commit to making your actions in your personal life  count!

Look for a special offer for home energy audits!!!!!  My commitment is to help make homes more energy efficient.

“The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency 2and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”   (from the History of Earth Day)

PLAN AHEAD — See Ed Begley in May at the National Solar Energy Conference

Public Day – May 21, 2011

Keynote Speaker: Ed Begley, Jr. 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Public Day presentations will cover three themes:

  • Green Careers
  • Greening Your Home or Business
  • Understanding Renewable Energy Technology, Policies and Incentives

Presentations are free to everyone who has purchased a conference pass (just $5 on Saturday).

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Celebrate the green season..spring is here in glory!

Nothing can be finer than to be in Carolina…in the spring time!

The blooming shrubs, flowering trees, and spring flowers have been spectacular this spring.  I have enjoyed photographing trees the spectacle from leaves unfolding to night time studies of flowers in bloom.

Green News Bites

  • SECU offers green loans – mortgages for  new ENERGY STAR rated homes and cars that get 28mpg of less, 2nd mortgages for energy efficiency improvements.
  • Green Vehicle, Green Second Mortgage, and Green Mortgage loan.
  • No ENERGY STAR rebates this year…sigh!  No money from the Feds or NC to

    "Buy appliances that make a difference" - US EPA

    fund the program. If you are in the market for a new appliance, read the labels and get the best performance possible.  Look for the ENERGY STAR label.  Check out the ENERGY STAR site page that lists products from refrigerators to windows.

  • Earth Day Celebrations are coming up FAST. This year the downtown Raleigh celebration will be the weekend before the official date of April 22nd. Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:00 AM
  • Where:Museum of Natural Science
    11 West Jones Street
    Raleigh, NC 27609
    Free Drive-through E-cycling – Bring your old electronics and we’ll find a new or safe home for all of their parts, ensuring that hazardous materials stay out of our landfills!
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HBA of Raleigh-Wake County Spring Home Tour

The Raleigh-Wake County Home Builder Association Third Annual Spring Home Tour is this weekend…yikes!  It snuck up on me.  I’m so used to promoting the Green Home Builders of the Triangle Green Home Tour in May that I forgot the the Wake HBA instituted a new tradition of Spring Home Tour three years ago!

According to the HBA, “The 2011 Spring New Home Tour is a showcase of Wake County’s best new homes! On the weekend of March 26 & 27, take a free tour of new homes that feature the latest trends and newest neighborhoods. There will be 97 homes on tour throughout Wake County. Homes are open between 12 to 5 p.m. and the tours are self-guided”.

HBA Spring Home Tour March 26-27. 2011

How to find the homes?  Lots of ways!!!

Where are the green homes on the tour you ask?

Well…they are included but not spelled out. Look for Green Jeanne’s quick cheat sheet on which homes are green!

The search options are by community, price or city but not GREEN!

For example, 12 Oaks in Holly Springs reorganized and re-launched last month introducing a slew of builders new to the community.  Several of the builders are featuring certified green homes. David Weekley homes stand out as the best example of green building but that’s another blog post!


This is Weekley’s model home with a MUST SEE room that shows the energy efficiency features in all their homes in 12 Oaks.

The Kirby

David Weekley Homes
633 Ancient Oaks Drive
Holly Springs, NC
More Details

Put these dates on your calendar:

I downloaded the app and it is GREAT!!!!  If you don’t have a smartphone, eat your heart out. It eliminates the need for carrying a book around from home to home. Check out the screen shots supplied by the developer, Pathos Ethos and Camelot Design Group.

List of homes on Spring Tour

Spring Home Tour Map

Posted in Energy Star, Green Home, HBA, Home Builders Association, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shredding and Electronics Recycling April 16th & 20th

Spring clean your paper files and learn about privacy.  More opportunities to dispose of your confidential papers safely. NCSU’s paper shredding includes electronic recycling.  Electronic recylcers reclaim and recycle your old electronics (TVs, computers, voice recorders etc.). This is far better than in the unenlightened era when we tossed our old monitors into the landfill.

BBB Offers Free Document Shredding on April 16
Triangle – RALEIGH, N.C. (March 8, 2011)—Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (bbb.org) announces today its semi-annual “Secure Your ID” Day, will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Free document shredding will be offered from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Coastal Federal Credit Union, located off Wake Forest Road at 1000 St. Albans Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. This event is jointly organized by the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to raise public awareness and educate Americans on the issues surrounding identity theft.

Read the entire article.

I have participated in other shredding days. It is liberating to get pounds of paper safely out of my house and know my data is destroyed.  Try it!

Need help organizing and figuring out what to ditch, call an organizer.   I know several great ones who have patience and are non judgmental. One of my favorites is an eco-organizer, Julie has a very green twist to her techniques.

Check out the IRS limits on how long you MUST keep your files.  The short answer is 6 years but read their rules.

Here’s your laugh for the day.  If you file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely!

Wednesday, April 20th

NC State will host the 5th spring electronic recycling event along with a paper shredding drive on Wednesday, April 20th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Campus. The event is sponsored by Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR), Synergy Recycling, Shimar Recycling, and the Centennial Campus Partnership.

Open to the public!

For more information visit: http://www.ncsu.edu/recycling


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TBJ Poll on Nuclear Energy

Why a post on nuclear energy in a green home blog?

Simple, nuclear power contributes to roughly 1/3 of the power generated by Progress Energy.   Progress Energy’s two New Brunswick plants are the same Mark I design.  Read the TBJ story about the Brunswick plant.


If the poll is inactive, see the final results here.

CNN map – how close do you live to a nuclear plant?  –  plug in your zip code and see circles showing 15 and 50 miles distance.

Energy efficient homes use less power than standard construction. ENERGY STAR homes by definition and certification are 15% more efficient than non program homes.  If we build more efficient homes and make the existing homes more efficient we can reduce power consumption.
Today’s poll on the Triangle Business Journal asks:

Given the Japanese nuclear reactor problems following the earthquake and tsunami, should the U.S. continue to pursue its robust nuclear plans?

The results at 6:45 pm when I responded indicated an overwhelming support for nuclear power.

If you can still cast your vote, weigh in hopefully on the side of caution.  Given the situation in Japan it might be time to confirm the safety and disaster plans for the 104 active nuclear reactors operating in the US.   NC Warn has plenty of information about the nuclear reactors in our area, www. NCWarn.org.

About half of the nation’s energy consumption is used by buildings.  Most of the power consumed by residences is for heat and cooling and water heating. If  we can make our homes more efficient consumers, we can use less power.  Less power translates into NOT building more nuclear reactors and retiring inefficient coal plants.

Graph from "Demand Side Management Programs" by Progress Energy

BTW, I checked my power consumption and exactly half of my bill is heating, cooling and hot water!  Amazingly accurate description of the average homeowner.

Clearly buyers want energy efficient homes per the 2010 Green Home Builder Magazine study.  Buyers were segmented into the following groups and polled on various topics related to green building.  Across the board 60% of all respondents wanted an energy efficient home.

First Time                57.7                     28.8
Move Up                  51.6                     33.5
Second Home           63.9                    0
Displaced                  52.6                   54.5
Empty Nest              62.5                   28.1
Custom                      72.4                    24.2

Is is realistic to assume that changed consumer patterns can affect our utility provider’s building plans. You bet!  Every bit helps..puts money back into your pocket, less greenhouse gas and reduces the demand for power generation.

Click on map to enter your zip code.  Mapping provided by CNN Money, data from Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Posted in carbon footprint, Global warming, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nissan LEAF – all electric car test drive!

Folks I must admit that I was impressed.  The LEAF has a 100 mile range, snazzy gadgets, comfortable ride, peppy, and cute!

All-electric Nissan Leaf makes Raleigh debut – check out the N&O article about the weekend test drive event at the Farmers Market.

The next few years could prove decisive in determining whether the plug-in electric car, with a driving range of about 100 miles between charges, is a boon or a boondoggle.

As the price at the pump rises, my interest as gas pushes the $4/gallon mark. I’ve ridden in a  Prius and a feeling of lust overcomes me. Or is that the 10th commandment not to lust after anything my neighbor owns.  Squelch that feeling and look at alternatives!

Next I decided I wanted a bio-diesel vehicle as my next car.  Then I looked at the map of the bio-diesel fuel locations and realized that I had no place to store fuel.  So, that option started to look shaky also.

All electric was my next option.  Range is the issue now even more so than bio-diesel.   Pumping petroleum based diesel is an option if no recycled oil is available, a bit expensive but a way to keep the wheels turning.

Enter the LEAF!  I was not expecting the car to be so cute and have such a great range of 100 miles with fully charged battery.  Well, I already knew that Raleigh is one of three pioneering cities for Project Get Ready by Rocky Mountain Institute.   Mayor Meeker unveiled the first of two stations on Hargett Street.  (Read the entire article on the City website.)

So, I’m thinking that I can tailor my daily life to drive only as far as the charge lasts and wondering how I’m going to figure this out.  What do you know, the GPS screen converts to a map plotting my proposed route with notations on how far I can go before I am critically low AND where the nearest recharging station is located.  WOW!  Now, I can dig this.

I can go on for some time about the neat features, the iPhone app, the LED lights, the hatch back and racks that can be added for toys.  However, this is where I stop and ask you, my readers for your help.

So, I’m hooked on the concept.  All I need is the car. Nissan is awarding a FREE car, one per city on the tour.  You will be asked to enter your email address (one vote per email) and then to verify.  Here’s where you come in…VOTE FOR ME!!!

See…I really drove the car and sat in the back seat…very roomy.

Very comfy front seat, easy to drive, no noise!


Now that you’ve voted, send the link to everyone you know and ask them to vote for me!

Thanks folks!


Even the back seat was roomy.



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Wear Red for Women Day!

Today is the annual Wear Red for Women to emphasize the need for women’s heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women over twenty. Th go red campaign celebrates women’s health and seeks to create an awareness of this largely preventable disease.

So, ladies find some red in your closet and wear it proudly today. Actually I commit to wearing red or hearts every day in February and exercising daily. I must confess that red is my favorite color and it is not a hardship to wear something red each day for an entire month!

According to the AMerican Heart Society who sponsors the Go Red day “about 48% of women have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and above, which puts them at risk for heart disease”.

Know your risk

Your total Cholesterol Level should be less than 200.

Desirable                Less than 200
Borderline High     200 to 239
High                        240 and above

About 39 million women age 20 and older have high blood pressure. 22% of people with high blood pressure don’t know they have it.

Normal Blood Pressure   Below 120/80
Pre-Hypertension           120-139/80-89
Hypertension                  140/90 or higher

Other risk factors are lack of activity, smoking and family history of diabetes.

Choose to take ACTION and Lower Your Risk

•Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
•Keep your weight under control.
•Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
•Manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
•Get regular medical checkups.
•Talk to your doctor about a prevention plan and medicines that may be right for you.
•Don’t smoke, and avoid tobacco smoke.
Ladies…let’s reduce the number!!!!  Get out their and exercise, improve your diet, get a check up and spread the word.
I’ll see you on the trails!!!
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May 2011 be a fabulous year for you filled with good health, happiness and prosperity!

I’m back at work after a holiday break.  It’s good to shut down the phone and laptop for a couple of days!  Snow on Christmas day was such a treat!  We walked in the snow, ate snow cream and built a snow bear!  After wrapping up 2010 it was time for annual resolutions and business planning.  What do you want to learn about this year?  I’m open to your suggestions for activities and blog content.

While you are making resolutions make one or more to reduce (waste not waist), recycle and reuse.


This is a double header!  Refuse a new book and conserve resources by not creating a directory. Old phone books get recycled into insulation or animal bedding. The City of Raleigh  created a short video that will be playing on Community Channel RTN 11 and is also available as a streaming video on the city website. Full information can also be found on the city’s Solid Waste website.



Updated your image with new glasses?   Rather than relegating them to a drawer, donate to the Lions Club.  Glasses are collected at 18 international locations, sorted, categorized and distributed children and adults throughout the world.  Check out the “Journey of a Donated Pair of Glasses.”  Each club maintains collection sites. If you’d like to search by the nearest club here’ s the link. I’m trying to get a comprehensive list of all the collection centers in the Triangle from my neighbor who is a Lions Club Member. I just dropped off my big format glasses that matched poofed sleeves and pumps with grosgrain ribbons!

Posted in recycling, Reuse, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Land and Energy Issues Needing Your Support

In case you missed these notices, I wanted you to see that NC is making strides in alternative energy and local foods movement.

Land and Food Connection

The Triangle community is a leader in the local foods movement. Part of living sustainably is adequate local resources available to provide residents with the food that is grown locally and does not include hidden transportation costs.

When stormy weather is predicted we all rush to the supermarket and stock up on the basics.  I jokingly call this the bread, milk, video and beer run.   All kidding aside, did you realize that our local grocery stores only have enough food on hand for 3 days?  It’s a just-in-time world for supermarkets.  Fresh produce, meats, dairy and packaged goods are trucked in a on a daily basis. Without new arrivals, the grocery shelves would be bare is less than a week.  Availability, independence, freshness and embedded transportation costs are the reason why the local food movement is so important.  Remember back to your home economics courses, fresh foods have more nutritional content.

According to Eating Well Magazine author Rachael Moeller Gorman fresh produce purchased when in season has the highest nutrient yield, assuming that the plant was harvested after the fruit or vegetable reached its fullest ripeness. Produce picked prior to full ripening with the intent of allowing it to ripen over time has less nutritional value than on-the-vine ripened produce, she adds.

Preserving farmland and making it profitable for home owners to grant easements is part of the story.

Sierra Club provided this information on conservation policies up for vote in Congress and asking you to contact US Senators Burr and Hagan.
Ask Burr, Hagan NOW to support conservation policies

Dear friend,We have an immediate, now-or-never opportunity to include two critical conservation measures in the tax bill that Congress is negotiating with the White House: full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and making permanent the enhanced conservation easement tax incentive.
Please call North Carolina’s Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan TODAY to encourage them to support including in the tax bill provisions that will:Make the expanded federal conservation tax incentive permanent, and
Authorize full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Senator Burr was the first Republican co-sponsor of the LWCF full funding bill. He also is a sponsor of the Senate bill to make the enhanced easement tax incentive permanent, which has broad bipartisan support. Please thank him for his leadership and urge him to maintain his support on these issues. You can reach his office at 202-224-3154.

Senator Hagan is an avid supporter of outdoor recreation and land and water conservation. But she has yet to sign on as a co-sponsor of either bill. Please ask her to commit NOW to supporting these critical measures. Call her office at 202-224-6342.

About the Land and Water Conservation Fund:

LWCF is the federal program that funds projects to protect irreplaceable natural areas and improve outdoor recreational opportunities nationwide. It works in partnership with state and local efforts to acquire and protect parkland, wildlife refuges, forests, trails and other areas.

In North Carolina alone, more than $180 million from LWCF has been used to acquire properties like these, supporting our state’s tourism industry and the health and well-being of its citizens. LWCF has been chronically underfunded since its founding, leading to numerous missed opportunities to invest in these important natural areas.
About the federal tax incentive for conservation:

The enhanced incentive helps landowners of modest means choose conservation by raising the maximum deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year to 50 percent; allowing qualified farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their adjusted gross income; and increasing the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years.This cost-effective incentive makes conservation a real option for farmers, ranchers and other modest-income landowners. The incentive increased the pace of easement donations by a third, to over a million acres a year, before it expired at the end of 2009.

Thank you for calling Senators Hagan and Burr! Please forward this message to your friends, and ask them to urge Senators Hagan and Burr to save the places we love by pushing for passage of these critical conservation measures before time runs out!

Obama bans offshore oil drilling

In a reversal of an earlier decision, President Obama has banned drilling for oil and gas offshore. According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, there will be no exploratory drilling through at least 2017. The administration has also announced that it would speed up the permitting process for offshore wind development. According to the story, a spokesperson for Gov. Bev Perdue indicated that the governor wants to see wind turbines off the coast.

Report: NC offshore wind potential

According to a report recently issued by the National Wildlife Federation, the ocean off the coast of North Carolina can supply up to 55GW electric power. For the report, click here. For a press release, click here.

Posted in Agriculture, local food, Slow Food, tax incentive | Leave a comment