Monthly Archives: September 2019

    • Can Your Home Take the ‘LEED’ in Energy Efficiency?

      Recently, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) celebrated the recipients of its annual LEED Homes Awards, an honor given to innovative projects, architects, developers, and homebuilders leading the residential green building market.

      Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC said this year's LEED Homes Award recipients showcase the most inspired and efficient practices in the residential green building movement, demonstrating what it means to create a home that balances aesthetic appeal with real human and environmental needs.

      But what does it take to make a home LEED qualified? Are there aspects of current LEED best practices that anyone can employ to help make their home more environmentally friendly?

      Back in 2014, Shelley Little at outlined why any homeowner would want a LEED certified home, and those reasons still hold true today.

      According to Little:
      - Every part of a LEED home is sealed and insulated, saving you a ton of money on home heating and cooling.
      - Low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets in LEED homes means lower water bills and less energy to heat the water.
      - The air you breathe is better thanks to LEED’s dedication to not use toxic chemicals in your home.
      - Allergens are brought to a minimum with indoor moisture controls that prohibit the growth of common molds.
      - Air quality is also improved with use of ventilation that brings outdoor air in.
      - LEED homes are built in close proximity to walking and bike paths.
      - LEED homes have a much higher resale value and sell more quickly.
      - Overall, LEED homes are less expensive to live in.

      Last year, the US Green Building Council ( looked at top sustainability trends in LEED homes, affirming that one of the easiest ways a homeowner could launch themselves into LEED-caliber best practices is by retrofitting lighting.

      This way, building owners not only help address climate change, but they also reap the benefits of reducing energy bills and delivering a better indoor environment.

      The folks at suggest working with a LEED-certified building professional, asking which improvements are most practical and could deliver the highest ROI in the shortest time.

      To learn more about LEED for Homes, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Home Got the Blahs? Add a Spot of Color

      If there’s one design element we don’t change very often, it’s our home’s exterior paint color. After all, a quality paint job should last 10 years in the right climate. But the problem is, all that sameness can get boring. The solution? A small dose of color in the right places.  

      According to design expert Debbie ZImmer with the Paint Quality Institute, a “pinch of a new paint color here and there” is all you need to make your home’s exterior more interesting.

      Zimmer recommends starting at the front door. "It's usually visible from the street so everyone sees it, and it's also where visitors first come face to face with your home." The best way to add visual interest is by painting your front door a color that contrasts sharply with the rest of the exterior. Think bright red or deep green, or even black. Bonus points: dark colors are better at hiding dirt and fingerprints.

      Another great way to shake things up with color is by painting the shutters. While shutters are often painted the same color as the front door, it’s more important that they work well with the color of your siding. Choose a color that complements or contrasts. For inspiration, take a spin around your neighborhood or towns where you really love the design of the homes. Take notes on shutter colors you like and how they play against the home’s exterior.

      If you have a home that has interesting architectural elements, such as gingerbread on Victorian homes or unique trim around doors and windows, this is a great chance to add interest with color. Paint these decorative touches a bright or unusual color to liven up the entire look of your home.

      Zimmer recommends a few other great places to add pops of color to your home, like the porch, deck furniture, wooden fence or even a birdhouse or doghouse.  A bright or unusual hue in an unexpected spot can change the entire look and feel of your home.

      If you get overwhelmed by the amount of colors to choose from, Zimmer advises borrowing ideas from the brochures at your local paint store. "These often show color schemes with four or five hues that work beautifully together," she says.  "Find a palette that contains a color similar to your siding, then choose accent colors from the same palette for your doors, shutters, and trim."    

      For more advice on exterior color and tips on painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute online at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Where’s Housing Headed? A Google City, Maybe

      From AI and virtual reality to self-driving cars and solar mapping, Google’s reach extends well beyond the search engine—now, even in housing.

      Alphabet hasn’t ruled out the possibility of developing a city “from the Internet up,” confirmed one of the Google parent company’s executives recently. “Technology,” the exec said, “ultimately cannot be stopped.”
      Google is not the first to attempt to deliver the homes of the future. Epcot—the famed theme park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.—originated from an idea for a master-planned community, with Disney himself envisioning a wind tunnel metropolis that would inform the planning of future cities.
      Alaska dabbled in future-focused development with Seward’s Success, a climate-controlled, glass-encased—and now-defunct—community, and Minnesota’s scrapped “MXC” project imagined a domed, eco-friendly ‘burg with waterless toilets.
      While Google’s intentions remain to be seen, a city built by the company—the database of all databases—could resolve issues plaguing the housing market today, including affordability and low supply.
      We have to wonder: Where else might we be living in the future?
      Mars shows promise—NASA recently sent an inflatable “room” to the International Space Station, a “habitat prototype” that could be adaptable to life on Mars, and one company has proposed 3D-printing homes, buildings and roads with the Red Planet’s soil. At the breakneck rate technology progresses, these “futures” of housing may arrive sooner than we expect.

      We can only hope!
      Source: RISMedia's Housecall

      Published with permission from RISMedia.