It’s Summer Time Miami!

A summer-time PSA from the folks over at EnergyStar.gov: Is it time for a new EnergyStar pool pump?

ENERGY STAR certified pool pumps save money, save energy, and protect the climate. See how much your pool pump could be costing you in energy bills, learn when it might be time for new pool pump, and get the benefit of all the available savings when you choose ENERGY STAR.


Make a Savings Splash with a New Pool Pump

Contracts for Sustainable Construction Projects are Unique

600 Brickell in Miami, certified LEED Platinum

Interesting article from Mark Stempler in the March 9 issue of the Daily Business Review. Noting that “sustainable building is booming in Florida”, he discusses some of the unique considerations that should be addressed in the contract for these types of ventures.

Contracts for sustainable projects, however, are often not tailored to address the many issues and nuances that can appear with these types of projects. Whether the project is a new construction or renovations or retrofitting, a sustainability-focused contract is the best way to prevent problems later on.

The contract should be as specific about the project’s green goal

Simply using terms like green building, sustainable building or high-performing building are not enough because it is unclear what the precise goal is. For example, if a project is aimed at reducing a building’s electricity costs by a certain percentage range, that goal should be identified in the contract. In addition, an owner may require a third-party green rating certification like LEED. Which rating system and which level within that system is sought to be achieved should be identified so everyone knows what is expected.

Alternatives to Performance Guarantees

Mark outlines why project guarantees can be problematic in a sustainable building project, and suggests performance bonuses as a possible alternative.

Mark J. Stempler, Becker & Poliakoff, West Palm Beach (photo courtesy: Daily Business Review)

An alternative to a guaranty is a performance bonus or bonuses based on the certification or performance levels achieved. In other words, a contract will describe a base fee for services on the project and then allow for additional compensation depending on level of certification the building gets or based on the level of performance of the building after occupancy.

The “green” building industry is growing rapidly.

In 2016, the Sunshine State ranked fourth in the number of LEED certified projects in the U.S. at 204, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Florida now is home to more than 1,400 LEED-certified projects. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used sustainable or green building rating system.

With that kind of growth, Mark’s recommendations are important and timely. To read more, here is a link to the Daily Business Review article, “Potential for Twists and Turns in Contracts for Sustainable Building”


Mark J. Stempler is a shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff in West Palm Beach. He is board-certified in construction law and is certified as a LEED green associate, and focuses his practice in the areas of construction law, government law and bid protests, and civil litigation. He may be reached at mstempler@bplegal.com.


MelanieDawn
MelanieDawn
Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Miami native currently living in the historic downtown district. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at MelanieinMiami@gmail.com.

Tesla’s SolarCity to open Florida facility

SolarCity, a subsidiary of electric car maker Tesla Motors and the largest solar panel installer in the U.S., has announced it is opening an operations center in Clermont, near Orlando, and has plans to expand into other areas of Florida.

According to a company spokesperson, a typical operations center employs about 100 people and SolarCity is now hiring for sales and installation jobs at its new Florida facility.

We make it easy to switch to solar. Our dedicated team will handle everything from start to finish. We’ll even assign a solar concierge to your project who will guide you through the process and keep you informed about what’s happening every step of the way.

SolarCity currently installs custom solar systems in 22 states, and also provides maintenance and repair services. Nationwide, the company offers four financial models: zero-down-payment loans, cash purchase, lease the system or a solar PPA (solar power purchase agreement). Florida law, however, forbids the PPA’s – only utility companies are allowed to sell electrical power directly to consumers.

Even without the PPA’s, SolarCity’s loan and leasing programs provide homeowners with the ability to switch to solar power with little to no upfront costs. Miami residents may also qualify for PACE or other types of green financing.

For more information about SolarCity, visit SolarCity’s website.


Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at MelanieinMiami@gmail.com

Microwave, electric oven or slow cooker – Which uses the least energy?

I received this as an email from the Florida Power & Light blog, and had to share because the answer was surprising:

Question: What uses the least amount of energy when cooking: a microwave, electric oven or slow cooker?

Answer: That’s an easy one. A microwave oven is typically your best cooking option if you’re looking to save energy. Let’s take a look at how microwaves compare to other cooking appliances.

Of course, to that I will add: For additional energy savings, make sure all of your appliances are Energy Star qualified.

April is Water Conservation Month in Florida

According to the Miami-Dade County water conservation website,  “we use approximately 134 gallons of water per capita per day” in our county. In observance of Water Conservation Month, they ask for your pledge to reduce your water usage, and they are ready to help:

It’s so simple and beneficial to take easy steps to save water. From $50 rebates to yard evaluations and much more, the Miami-Dade Water Conservation Program offers valuable programs and tips during Water Conservation Month in April – and beyond!

Learn how to get a $50 rebate toward a new toilet
Attend the April 6 rain barrel workshop
Get a free landscape irrigation evaluation
See the winning posters in the 2013 Every Drop Counts Kids Poster Contest

For some rather unusual ways to reduce water use, check out this great infographic from Loch Ness Water Gardens:

Water Usage Infographic

 

IKEA’s South Florida Location is the State’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner

Photo: Business Wire
Photo: Business Wire


IKEA Plugs-in South Florida’s Largest Solar Energy System to Become State’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner (via Green Building Elements)

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its South Florida store in the City of Sunrise – which will be the largest solar installation in South Florida and, when combined with IKEA projects already completed atop stores…

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Making Solar Work in the Sunshine State! Broward County’s Go SOLARFest This Weekend

Broward Go SolarThis weekend Broward County, Florida, is hosting the “Go SOLARFest” at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.)

The two-day event starts Friday at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and registration, then continues through Saturday. The event will be attended by Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; with a keynote address on “Building a National Solar Market” by Tom Tansy, Chairman of SunSpec Alliance and Program Manager, Solar 3.0.

Per the agenda, “Go SOLARFest will provide an open forum discussion of solar challenges, solutions, andrecommendations to advance solar regionally and statewide in the areas of permitting, financing, solar rights, zoning, and net metering and interconnection.”

For more information, download the Broward GoSOLARFestFlyer or visit Broward.org’s Go Solar Fest page.

Europe Installed Two-Thirds of the World’s New Solar Power in 2011

In 2011, the United States ranked 31st for “Total New Solar Power per Million People”, while Florida ranked 17th in the country. However, according to SEIA’s “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2011 Year-in-Review”:

“2011 was a historic year. On the positive side, the market for solar installations continued to boom, as the U.S. installed 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, representing 109% growth over 2010.”

Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Spain topping the list of “Total Installed Solar Power per Capita.” Add France and the United Kingdom to the same list for countries with the most new installations in 2011.

Here is a great article by Nathan over at Clean Technica discussing Europe’s solar power edge:



Europe Installed Two-Thirds of the World’s New Solar Power in 2011 (via Clean Technica)

  Two-thirds of newly installed solar power capacity in 2011 was in Europe, or 18.5 GW. Europe’s total solar power capacity now totals 52 GW. That’s enough electricity to power a country with the energy demands of Austria, which is 2% of the European Union’s total electricity needs. The European…

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April is National Water Conservation Month

April is National Water Conservation month. This is particularly important in South Florida where we are experiencing the driest “dry season” in 80 years. What can we do to observe Water Conservation Month and to conserve water all year long?

First and most important, follow the emergency Water Shortage Order effective March 26th: “A two-day-a-week schedule for residential landscape irrigation throughout the District. Helping to relieve impacts on surface and groundwater sources, the order provides consistency for the District’s 7.7 million residents. It is also consistent with Florida’s neighboring water management districts and municipalities that are currently following a two-day watering schedule. Landscape irrigation accounts for half of all potable (drinking) water use in South Florida.” http://www.miamidade.gov/wasd/library/sfwmd_water_shortage.pdf

Exchange your standard showerhead for a high-efficiency water saving shower hear and reduce the water demand by at least 50%. It’s FREE! http://www.miamidade.gov/wasd/showerhead.asp

Replace your old toilet with a WaterSense-certified high-efficiency toilet (HET) and get up to a $50 rebate from Miami-Dade County. http://www.miamidade.gov/conservation/toilet_rebate.asp

Attend this month’s Rain Barrel Workshop on April 16 at Crandon Park starting at 1:00 p.m. The workshop is free and you can pre-register to purchase your own rain barrel for just $40. http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/environment/natural_resources.shtml

Get a FREE landscape irrigation evaluation and get rebates up to $400 per year (for a total of $1,200 per property) for recommended retrofits to make your irrigation system more water efficient. http://www.miamidade.gov/conservation/landscape_evaluation.asp

Participate in one of the many 2011 Baynanza events throughout Miami-Dade County. The annual Baynanza is a six-week calendar of clean-up days and environmental events that celebrate the Biscayne Bay and its surroundings. In addition to the famous Biscayne Bay Clean Up Day on April 16th, there are about 30 additional clean-up sites and many other events including a Bay Cruise on April 17 or an Eco Bike Tour on April 23, both at Deering Estates. http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/baynanza.asp

Let me know what you do for National Water Conservation Month!

Top Ren Reasons to Install a Metal Roof – Even in Florida

metal roof melanie miamiA metal roof in South Florida may seem counter-intuitive. Under our summer sun, metal gets hot enough to cook an egg, right? But a metal roof actually reflects over 65% of the solar rays compared to only about 25% for asphalt shingle. And coated metal roofing also has a high degree of “thermal emittance,” which in plain English means they cool off fast. So here are the first of my top ten reasons to consider a metal roof in South Florida:

1. SAVE MONEY ON YOUR UTILITY BILLS: An Oak Ridge National Laboratory study reports that a metal roof can save homeowners up to 40 percent in summer cooling costs. EnergyStar.gov estimates that an ENERGY STAR rated metal roof can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent.

2. REBATES AND TAX CREDITS: Through the end of 2011, installing a metal roof qualifies for a 10% credit (up to $500) on the cost of the roofing materials. FPL offers a $0.45 per square foot rebate for qualifying metal roofs.

3. DURABILITY: Metal roofs can last well over 50 if properly maintained, and most manufacturers provide transferable warranties of at least 20 years. Metal roofing is resistant to fire, mildew, insects and rot.

4. SAFETY: Most metal roofs are rated to withstand hurricane winds of 110 mph to 130 mph winds – an important consideration in South Florida. Metal roofs are also fire and hail resistant, and many manufactures include fire, hail and wind protection guaranties.

5. REDUCE YOUR INSURANCE PREMIUMS: Homeowner’s insurance companies in at least 20 states (including Florida) provide wind, fire &/or impact discounts ranging from 18% to 35% off annual premiums.

6. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Most metal roofing manufacturers use a minimum of 25% recycled content, and 98% of the finished product is recyclable. Asphalt shingles, by contrast, often contain asbestos which prohibits recycling under federal law. For new construction, a metal roof qualifies for credit towards LEED certification.

7. LIGHT WEIGHT: Metal roofing weighs as much as 75% less than slate, clay or concrete roofing, and approximately one-third less than asphalt shingle. This means homeowners will not be faced with additional structural requirements as can happen when switching to tile roofs; and your contractor may even recommend downsizing existing roof support.

8. BETTER INSTALLATION PROCESS: Metal roofs can be installed quicker than most other roofing systems, and can even be installed directly over the old asphalt roof. A metal roof is ideal for the minimally pitched roofs found on the MiMo style homes found in South Florida.

9. VARIETY OF COLORS AND STYLES: In addition to the classic standing seam style, metal roofs are now manufactured to look like regular shingles, barrel tile or even cedar shake. (See the photo above) So whatever style your home is, you can find a metal roofing style to compliment it.

10. INCREASE YOUR HOME’S RE-SALE VALUE: According to the 2005 “Residential Cost Handbook,” the appraised value of a home increases by $1.35 per square foot when a metal roof is installed. “Remodeling Magazine” reports that homes renovated with metal roofing gain between 1% to 6% in resale value over homes with asphalt roofing. It makes sense considering the long term transferable warranties, long life of the roofing system, lower maintenance costs and the substantial energy savings. A quality metal roof brings added beauty and value to your home that you and your future buyer will enjoy!

Visit my website at http://www.melaniesellsmiami.com/ for more information about green real estate in Miami.