BLOG

Are solar panels for residential properties worth it?

»Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

The Answer – “ABSOLUTELY”!  Most people do not realize that it’s not just  the electric company that offers credits for purchase and rebates of renewable energy installations/projects — there are private companies out there that will foot the whole bill and/or you are often able to establish a small payment plan (could be around $100.00 per month) added to your electric bill (directly) each month, as opposed to a large one time expenditure.  The savings alone (approximately 20-30{48370f4c7e8d05e54649e612d3c42fc7fd435ea0d0341dced4441d5061938337} annually) could prove to be greater than the payments/expense for the panels – it will make sense.  On the other hand, if you do not have a large home or a lot of activity going on at your residence (such as a farm), it might not make sense at all, as you will notice when you run your numbers… Residential solar systems, on average, cost about $20,000 to install.  State and Federal subsidies generally cover about half the cost, bringing it down to about $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.  This is where those private small companies that you’ve been seeing popping up come in to play to better incentify these potential money saving programs by assisting you with affordable installation and payment. options. What are you getting for the price?  Beyond the actual solar panels, the solar package(s) generally include a new electric meter, installed by the electric utility, that registers credits for the homeowner.  When the solar panels produce more power than is needed, the meter then helps deduct credits when the electric usage exceeds the electricity being produced by the panels. The first and most important question is always “…what is my return”?  Well, after doing the math, the solar systems do add value to the investment! So when measuring the cost of installing solar panels, you must include the value it adds to your property in addition to the savings on your electric bill. Just another option when going green and making your property more efficient. Craig DiPetrillo – DiPetrillo Properties – Planning, Investments,...

read more

April Showers bring Spring Flowers ..and TO DO LISTs for Upkeep!

»Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Finally, NO MORE SNOW! Now it’s time to prepare a calendar for your “To Do List”, those items that you have to keep up with every year and those that you just didn’t tackle last year…here is another chance. 1.  First step – Prioritize. I find it simple and most efficient to place the things on top of the list that don’t need to be done by you and that might need some time to prepare for – like getting landscape quotes for larger projects, etc…  Reaching out to contractors and requesting quotes in January/February might seem like the best idea but I find it is often more beneficial if you can wait until March/April which then allows the landscape companies to really see what their work load looks like. This is a great way to get the best price – if they’re very busy already, you can sometimes avoid the higher price-tag (quotes) and if they’re too slow – you will see that right in the estimate! Obviously, lawn care companies and landscape contractors are the ones I always try to get referrals for and usually use the ‘ones’ I know or that someone I know knows. But, regardless…always get (3) estimates! 2. Step 2 — How’s the outside of the building looking? Are all those old seams stuck together or are they separating? Take a really close look at the exterior/siding, you would be surprised at how often houses may look great from a distance, but stand 12”-16” away and you begin to see it from a new light. Good from afar, far from good! All those paint cracks on the trim, which allow rain and moisture in need to be sealed (caulked). This is the FIRST ENEMY that attacks the un-protected areas of your home. As that happens, don’t be surprised as time passes if you see ants living within the moldings and corners… 3. Step 3 — Check the sill of the foundation. Does it look good? Sometimes that foam you originally used to seal and protect becomes too brittle as it is so close to the ground/surface, creating an opportunity for moisture to get in. 4.  Step 4 — Walk around the foundation and see how the finish grade shifted. You may need to take a rake (or shovel) to it, and once again slope it away from the house. Allowing it to puddle against the foundation is only inviting water in. This is something most people just do not think of checking until their carpet is soaked in the family room located in the basement. 5.  Step 5 – Roofline and chimney. Having a good set of binoculars on hand is always a good idea to skim the exterior roof line and chimney! 6.  Step 6 — How’s the driveway? Sealing and filling those cracks are important to promote longevity of the asphalt/concrete. If you plan on seal coating the asphalt, that is great but the rule is to not to over do it, every other year should be sufficient. Having too much will cause flaking and contribute to cracking.   Craig DiPetrillo – DiPetrillo Properties – Planning, Investments,...

read more

If I want to go green, what size home should I build?

»Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

I see everything going green today:  companies, cars, coffee, and so on.  Though, when it comes to your home, what is your real motivation to go green?  Is it a concern for the environment?  As defined on the EPA’s website,http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/about.htm  – Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. “Green is money saved”, we say – but what about the environment?  In my opinion they go hand to hand.  As we continue to see new technology being utilized in Green building practices, I often think about how we do not know yet what the usage of it will add to emissions and/or what toxins are being added to the environment?  What type of waves do Z-waves really cause?  Any health risks?  The answer is NO, at least none that we know about yet.  This is life though, isn’t it?  We so often don’t know what harm things cause until later…  It has been this way since the beginning of time I am sure.  Unfortunately of course, we even sometimes ignore the warnings – such as those labeled right on the side of the item and we take the risk anyway! So, back to the point at hand, when someone asks me what size home to buy because they want to go green, I ask, “Do you really?”  The concept of green building isn’t new as our great-grandparents built climate-appropriate homes, mostly with materials right on the property!  Does ‘what’s old is new again’ sound familiar?  Today’s green homes integrate not only climatic thinking but are resource and energy efficient, safer for occupants, and often much less expensive to maintain.  Most of all a lot smaller than we’ve gotten used to building.  Most new homes never need much of what we have been installing that requires a power source (even when we are not using it)! So what does go into a green home?  Some key components of a green home include: 1.  Energy-efficient features:  appliances, windows, water/heating systems, light bulbs; 2.  Water-efficient features: showerheads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, irrigation systems, rainwater collection system, wastewater treatment systems, hot water circulation systems; 3.  Resource-efficient features: home orientation on lot, floor plan layout, natural light design, wood species such as bamboo, recycled materials in carpets, tiles, concrete; 4.  Indoor Air Quality features: The heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC) must be properly sized for an accurate and properly ventilated home.  Using fans inside will cycle fresh air and release stale air.  Low-VOC paints and finishes and wallpapers should be used as well.  If you are unfamiliar with Low-VOC material, you may reference this site for more information http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/materials/low-voc-paint.htm ; 5.  Outside the Home features: take care in preserving trees and other vegetation, proper plant selections for climate (Rhody Natives are a great choice, here’s their site to reference http://rinhs.org/who-we-are-what-we-do/programs-projects/rhody-native-home/ ) and watered as needed, driveways and other impervious surfaces should be reduced – use gravel, pavers, other permeable systems. Bottom line – going green is not only a decision that needs to be made by the consumer, but the homebuilder must have a clear understanding of the homeowner’s desires, budget and expectations as well.  These are the many “shades of green” and spending the time together (contractor and homeowner) without being rushed along in the process will ultimately accomplish an environmentally friendly, safe, and cost efficient...

read more