Posts Tagged ‘home’

Free Home Energy Assessments for Arlington MA Residents

Arlington MA residents are eligible for a free home energy assessment, sponsored by Mass Save’s Home Energy Check Campaign and supported, in part, by Arlington’s Vision 2020/Sustainable Arlington organization.

A energy-efficient, air-tight home diagram

A green home is a happy home

The Home Energy Check Campaign offers homeowners the opportunity to have a complimentary energy assessment of their home completed at no cost to the homeowner, and includes the assessment, complimentary give-aways, and a follow-up list of suggested improvements the homeowner can make to improve the energy efficiency of their home. You can sign up for your free assessment at the Home Energy Check.org web site.

“Residents who get a home energy assessment and follow up on the suggestions made during the assessment will benefit by lowering their energy use, which reduces their utility bills and improves comfort. This is a home run for residents,” says Rob Garrity, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), the organization responsible for running the program.

During the energy assessment, an energy auditor will perform a walk-thru assessment using a checklist of standard areas that provide the biggest energy savings. If you sign up for an audit, you can expect the auditor to check your home’s attic, windows, and heating system. In general, your home’s insulation will be the biggest area for improvement.

“The more insulation you have, the more you’re separated from the exterior temperature effect,” says David Landskov, an Arlington resident who recently completed an energy assessment. According to Landskov, “insulation degrades over time and you should periodically review it to see if it meets current standards.” A home energy assessment will help you determine the effectiveness of your insulation.

In addition to the valuable information the homeowner receives from an assessment, there are also some nice give-aways that help to make an immediate impact on your energy savings. Number one among them, free faucet aerators. Not only are they free, but the energy auditor will install them for you. Once installed, you use less water and you don’t even notice a difference in your water pressure. This translates into an immediate payback, as your water bill is reduced and the energy cost that would have been used to heat any of that excess water is also saved.

Perhaps the least-known of the benefits of having a home energy assessment are the varied rebates and incentives for which the homeowner is then eligible, including a 75% instant rebate (up to $2,000) for completing the recommended insulation and weatherization audit items. Also available is a Federal tax credit of up to $500 per household.

The most intriguing incentive, however, is the homeowner’s eligiblity to participate in the Mass Save HEAT Loan Program, which provides up to a $15,000 zero percent (0%) interest loan to have energy-efficient improvements made to a home. With a seven-year payback period, the loan payment you make would be less than the amount of money you save from the energy-efficient improvement(s). For more information on this program, visit the Mass Save HEAT Loan program web site.

“The overall benefit [of the Home Energy Check Campaign] is you get to know your home better,” says Austin Whitman, another Arlington resident who recently had an assessment of his home completed. “But there’s also a reward in knowing you’re contributing less to overall energy usage and having less of an impact on the environment.”

The program is open to all Arlington residents through the end of this month.

For more information, visit the following web sites:

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

It’s Almost Halloween – Carve A Pumpkin!

Scary jack-o-lantern with frowny face

Spook up a new craft project!

Fall is officially here and with it comes the changing of the leaves, sunny autumn days, and most importantly Halloween! Below are some tips for fun and safe pumpkin carving.

  • Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand. Mistakes are easily erased with a damp sponge.
  • Cut the top and any large areas with a sharp, straight-edged knife. A dull blade is not a safe alternative.
  • Carve away from yourself and remember – children should carve only under adult supervision.
  • Cut the lid at an angle so the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks.
  • Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon or ice cream scooper. Remember to save the seeds! Wash them, then toast them in the oven for a delicious, healthy snack!
  • Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections.
  • Use an X-Acto knife for details and utilize the tip of a potato peeler to make small circles and curves.
  • Reattach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin it back in place.
  • Flatten a spot in the base of the pumpkin for the candle but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.
  • To prolong the life of your new Jack-O-Lantern, seal in moisture by coating all the surfaces with a petroleum jelly or vegetable oil, or cover it with a damp towel when not on display.

You can find more fun craft-type ideas and tips at Disney’s Family Fun web site, including some great design ideas for your next Jack-O-Latern project.

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

NESEA Green Open Houses – October 2, 2010

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society, announces its annual Green Open House event for Saturday, October 2, 2010. On Saturday, communities throughout the United States are organizing public tours to showcase solar-powered homes and businesses.

At least 648 such community tours — triple the number last year — have registered with the American Solar Energy Society, which is spearheading the National Solar Tour. Last year, the group says 150,000 people across 49 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico participated.

Take the opportunity to see for yourself what a green house looks like! Read more at http://ow.ly/2N4dZ

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Seven Tips for Improving (or Creating) Your Organic Garden

Whether you have a large vegetable garden, border flower beds, or a small herb garden, you can easily introduce organic gardening techniques into your current gardening maintenance routine. Here are some easy tips on improving your organic garden:

1. Develop Quality Garden Soil – Amend the soil generously with organic compost and use other organic fertilizers as necessary to increase specific nutrient levels.
2. Buy Plants for the Site – Gardeners who buy plants well-suited to their garden conditions increase their chances for success.
3. Choose Healthy Plants – A cheap plant isn’t a bargain if it’s baked in the hot sun in a pot it outgrew three months ago. Also check all plant purchases for pest hitchhikers and stress before bringing them home.
4. Care for Plants – The maintenance free garden is a myth. All gardens need some degree of maintenance, so make time to tend your garden.
5. Keep a Garden Journal – Record keeping is informative and motivational. Write down how long seeds take to germinate, when pests appear, the dates of the first and last frosts, and favorite flower and vegetable varieties.
6. Monitor for Garden Pests Regularly – It’s easier to control a few harmful beetles with handpicking than it is to stem the tide of the third generation of pests laying eggs. Control problems early and often.
7. Relax and enjoy your garden – Don’t stress over a few pests. It’s OK to allow a minimal threshold of pest damage in the garden. If all the pests are gone, the ladybugs won’t have a reason to set up house in the garden.

You can read more green living tips at my Home Green Home blog: https://cybergreenrealty.wordpress.com

Enjoy your garden!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Tim Cahill
MBA, Certified EcoBroker, Realtor
Web site: CyberGreenRealty | Blog: Home Green Home
T: 617.599.2775
E: timcahill@avenue3re.com

Five FREE Things (or almost free) To Do After an Open House

Summer is a great time to consider buying a home or condo in the greater Arlington MA area, and an Open House is the perfect way to view a home without any pressure from either your Buyer Agent or the Listing Agent. And since it is summer, why not make it even more fun by doing something FREE (or almost free) in the city after the open house?  Who knows, you might just find the house of your dreams AND learn something new about the Boston, MA area.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Tour the State House: Tours last approximately 30-45 minutes and include an overview of the history and architecture of the State Capitol.  Weekdays from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Closed on weekends and holidays. Admission:  FREE
  2. Climb Bunker Hill Monument: Climb the 294 steps to the top of the Monument for great views of Boston.  Daily:  9 am – 5 pm.  Monument closes to climbing at 4:30pm. Admission:  FREE
  3. Visit The Museum of Fine Arts: With approximately 450,000 objects in the collection, there’s always something new on view.  No general admission fee required every WEDNESDAY, 4 pm – 9:45 pm. Admission: Variable
  4. Visit The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston:  Enjoy the stimulation of contemporary culture at their new waterfront location.  No general admission fee required every THURSDAY, 5 pm – 9:00 pm.  Every THURSDAY night
  5. Ride the Ferry: Take the ferry from Long Wharf to the Charlestown Navy Yard to visit the USS Constitution $.70 each way.  Free guided tours of the USS Constitution.

Do you have suggestions of your own for free, or low-cost, things to do in the Boston area?  If so, why not share them here?

To view of a listing of open houses in the Arlington, Cambridge and Boston, MA areas, check out my Trulia.com Open House search and then visit my CyberGreenRealty.com web site for more details on each listing.  Finally, don’t forget to check the latest weather forecast for the area before heading out.

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Wanna Go Potty?

One of the easiest ways you can start going green is by tackling your toilet. (Not literally, but if you want to, go ahead. Whatever floats your boat!) Every time you flush your toilet, you could be using up to 5 gallons of water (or more if your toilet was built before 1994, when dual flush toilets came into voque). If you’re like most people, you tend to flush the toilet after every use, which can waste up to hundreds of gallons per week based on the size of your household. Depending on your budget and purpose, here are some helpful tips:

Picture of a Neorest toilet

Oh, So Sexy!

  • Fix toilet leaks – You may not even know you have a leaky toilet, but if you do you could be wasting 20 gallons of water per day.  To determine if you have a leak, add some food coloring to the tank and wait about 30 minutes.  If the food coloring appears in the bowl, you have a leak. Watch this quick 2 1/2 minute video on eHow.com to learn how to fix a leaky toilet.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket – I’m just sayin’.
  • Follow the old mantra – Come on, you know it…”If it’s brown, flush…” blah, blah, blah. I hate the saying myself, but it’s still true.  Just try it.
  • Replace your old toilet – If you’re thinking of putting your home up for sale soon, consider replacing the entire toilet, especially if it was built before 1994. At the very least, consider upgrading to a dual flush, if not one of the newer low-flow ones. You won’t believe the variety of new models and styles available today. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  now has a water-efficiency rating system for water-efficient products called the WaterSense labeling plan.  You can also search for just about any make and model toilet at the WaterSense Product Search page.
  • Replace the flapper – You may have a flapper in the tank that’s already adjustable.  Lengthen it just a bit so it closes earlier, using less water per flush.  You can also buy a new flapper for relatively little out-of-pocket expense.  Home Depot always has a variety in stock.
  • Make your own low-flow toilet – This is my favorite tip.  It’s so simple to do with things you already have around the house.  Check this out:

Now how hard is that?!?!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

6th Annual Arlington MA Spy Pond Trails Day

Engraving of ice cutting on Spy Pond in Arlington MA

Ice Made Arlington Hot!

One of Arlington, MA’s most treasured spots for both residents and visitors alike is Spy Pond, located just south of Mass Ave. and east of Pleasant St. in East Arlington. Spy Pond was originally formed during the last great ice age, about 50,000 years ago, when it was covered by the Wisconsin Glacier. As it melted, between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago, the glacier left a depression in the ground known as a “kettle hole,” which then filled with water and formed the pond we know today.

As part of its rich history, Spy Pond was notable as an ice harvesting spot, supplying ice to the greater Boston area and exporting it as far as India. This prompted the building of the local railroad and an increase of manufacturing in the area, primarily ice-cutting tools. As the area expanded and became known as “West Cambridge,” the pond became a source of potable water for local residents. Eventually West Cambridge was incorporated as Arlington, MA and Spy Pond was officially named.

Today Spy Pond is one of the most relaxing and peaceful places to visit in Arlington. But it needs help to remain so. To that end, this coming Saturday, May 8, 2010, local residents in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club will gather to clean up the shores of Spy Pond. Volunteers are asked to meet along the Route 2 path from 9:00am until 1:00pm. Volunteers will spend time picking up trash, cleaning debris from trails, pruning, planting, and weeding out some of the invasive weeds that have infiltrated the area.

If you want to take part, all you need is some time, gloves, and a few garden tools (rakes, shovels, pruning shears, etc.). If you don’t have any equipment to bring, don’t worry. Everyone is welcome and snacks will be provided (free food always attracts more people, doesn’t it?).

If you’d like more information on how you can help, contact either Elizabeth Karpati at 781.643.4172 (email: ekarpati@juno.com) or Stroker Rogovin at 781.641.2506 (email: stroker@alumni.clarku.edu). You may also visit the Spy Pond Vision 2020 Committee web site at www.arlingtonma.gov/spypond.

Read more about Arlington’s history and get more information on the local area at these web resources:

I hope to see some of you there!  Until next time, Peace!

-TMC