Tag Archives: sustainable homes

Green living tips - Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Green Living Tips From Desert Star Construction

Save Money by Saving the Planet: Tips for incorporating sustainable and green living elements into our homes


Living green has been a priority for Americans for more than a decade as we strive to improve the environment and preserve our natural resources.

During these tough economic times, living green is also important when it comes to saving money. So what better way to go green than to incorporate it into the homes in which we live?

Experts from Desert Star Construction, which commits itself to green building as a standard, explains some of today’s most popular ways to make your house green:

Green LivingSolar

Living in Arizona, we have one of the best natural resources available — sunlight. The Arizona sun fuels solar electric and solar water heating systems at little or no cost. It also makes our new — and retrofit — green homes 40 percent to 70 percent more efficient, resulting in similar reductions in monthly bills.

Breathing easy

Blowing dust is common in Arizona, especially during the monsoon season. Homeowners are installing air purification systems that work wonders on indoor air quality. Most choose an advanced electronic system or a premium particle filter. Others opt to install geothermal heating and cooling systems that offer significant energy savings.

Lighting the way

When it comes to lighting, green living embraces everything from LEDs to advanced home automation systems. Some of these systems even feature room motion detectors and provide the ability to program lighting to double the life of your bulbs.

Reuse

Back in the day, we called this “recycling.” By salvaging and reusing, we’ve brought building waste on our green construction sites down significantly. Homeowners are following that lead as they decorate with old stones, salvaged bricks and antiques. It’s a great, sustainable way to create that coveted and comfortable look. And it keeps a substantial amount of material out of landfills.

Sustainable standards

Products that embrace green standards are very popular these days. They include low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sustainable fabrics, Energy Star appliances and hard-surface floors that avoid chemical emission that some carpets produce. They also reduce  allergens in the air.

Going with the (low) flow

What’s the one thing we really need to conserve? That’s right, water. Low-flow faucets and toilets continue to top the most-popular lists, and are an increasingly affordable way to add to a cumulative positive impact.

Intelligent irrigation

Here in the desert we love our gardens — whether they include native plants or not. Efficient watering systems keep yards green and drastically reduce outdoor water use, which the EPA says accounts for 30 percent of domestic U.S. water consumption.

Interested in sustainable and green living when it comes to your home? Visit Desert Star Construction at desertstarconstruction.com or call (480) 951-4425 to schedule a SMART audit that will evaluate your home’s energy and water use.

Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Entirely Pure

Entirely Pure Offers Energy Efficient Mortgage

Entirely Pure is a local, Tempe based company that is dedicated to helping homeowners make their homes sustainable and energy efficient through an array of products and services, while minimizing the work and the worry that comes with securing financing for home improvements and with selecting the right upgrade products for the home.

Entirely Pure will conduct a home energy audit and then offer its clients the specific energy efficient upgrades that are catered to their home. Some of these products are a solar hot water heater, radiant barrier, window tinting, attic insulation, bottle-less water coolers, etc. The majority of Entirely Pure products come with rebates up to 30%, which are available to homeowners until the end of the year.

“We have a ton of different products and services and most of the products we offer have a rebate on them, the federal state and utility rebate,” Mileka Bakhshai, director of marketing at Entirely Pure, says. “The rebates run out this year and we want homeowners to take advantage of them before they are not available anymore.”

These services aren’t just for older home owners. New houses are built quickly here in Arizona and with the haste of the build can come issues of secure sealing and energy efficiency.

“We try to educate our customers and we really want them to know that there are so many different items and not just one item will fix your house and make it energy efficient,” Celeste Padilla, director of operations at Entirely Pure, says. “We’ll go in and do a really thorough analysis and give them suggestions on simple things they can do themselves in addition to what we can provide for them.”

The rebates available for sustainable home upgrades are expiring at the end of the year, so Entirely Pure wants current and future customers to be able to take advantage of these deals before time runs out.

Aside from the sustainable products and services offered to home owners, a new program of Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) is being offered through Entirely Pure to assist homeowners in acquiring these sustainable upgrades. The Energy Efficient Mortgages will help homeowners realize their dreams of having a sustainable home and save money on their utility bills.

The Entirely Pure Energy Efficient Mortgage

“This is an amazing opportunity for homeowners and home buyers who are looking to either qualify for a higher loan amount, lower their interest rate, reduce their monthly utility bills, increase the value of their home, all the while reducing their carbon footprint,” Bakhshai says.

Padilla says the EEM program allows for flexibility for homeowners that cannot refinance or that don’t qualify for modification because they don’t want to damage their credit; while giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the historically low interest rate. The application processed is streamlined and with a credit requirement of 620 and no docs for the applicant.

“The Energy Efficient Mortgage is a newer program, this is something we started a few months back, we’ve been really implementing and creating a solid relationship with a few different lenders and making sure it’s a good fit for not only us, but the customers,” Padilla says. “We connect them with a mortgage lender and we are not exclusive, we work with several lenders … We will walk through the process with them, we provide the energy audit, and we provide energy efficient upgrades; we hold their hand through the entire process.”

Taking advantage of the rebates available and the EEM program will not only allow home owners to upgrade their homes to a sustainable status and benefit the environment, but will also allow them to save money on monthly utility bills. This program isn’t just for existing homeowners, but also new home buyers who are looking to stretch their debt to income qualifying ratio on the loan as well.

“This isn’t the only program that we offer, for any reason, if a homeowner wasn’t qualified for an energy efficient mortgage, financing, payments cash, there are many different options we can offer to someone who wants to do these upgrades and also want to take advantage of the lower interest rates,” Padilla says.

With these loans a homeowner can:
1. Make an older, less efficient home more comfortable and affordable.
2. Qualify for a higher loan amount.
3. Stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans.
4. Save money every month on utility bills.
5. Increase the potential resale value of their home.
6. Sell their home more quickly by making it more affordable to people and attracting attention in a competitive market.

Entirely Pure Specials for AZnow.biz Readers

Entirely Pure is offering an end of the year special on Solar Hot Water Heaters, $999 after rebates and a 10% discount to azbigmedia.com readers up to $500 on products and services if you mention this article.

Products & Services Offered:

  • Energy Audits
  • A/C Upgrades, Repairs, & Tuneups
  • Solar Hot Water Heaters
  • Radiant Barrier
  • Energy Efficient Window Tinting
  • Blown & Fiberglass Insulation
  • Attic/Duct Sealing & other forms of weatherization
  • Reverse Osmosis & Water Softeners
  • LED & CFL Lighting Upgrades
  • Same as Cash Program Available
Arizona Solar Center, Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

Arizona Solar Center Hosts Solar Lecture Series

Making your home energy efficient and sustainable will help the environment and your pocketbook in the long run. But, knowing how and where to begin can be a daunting task with the different types of green technology. You may ask, what is the difference between passive solar and active solar? Should I build or remodel with earthen plaster or straw bales? How much can I save by using these sustainable adaptations in my home? To help you out, the Arizona Solar Center is hosting a solar lecture series on home improvement that is free and open to the public.

These questions will be answered during the Arizona Solar Center’s Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability on October 20 and the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours October 22 & 23.

Arizona Solar Center Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

President of the Arizona Solar Center, Dan Aiello, is excited to have Mick Dalrymple, from the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, host the Solar and Sustainability lecture on October 20. Dalrymple will discuss sustainable modifications and renovations that he implemented on his own home, such as the incorporating green building materials, equipment and lighting. Dalrymple’s goal is to attain zero energy dependency, Aiello says.

“[Dalrymple] has a bunch of examples that people can relate to because we all live in something,” Aiello says. “His presentation will be, ‘this is what I did, this is why I did this, and this worked and this didn’t work.’ [The lecture] is something people can come to and take information away on what’s appropriate for the desert, energy efficient and environmentally appropriate.”

The lecture will lead into the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours that weekend. The tour’s downloadable guide will be available on the Arizona Solar Center website. The sites on the tour will include:

  • An artist’s studio/residence in Mesa created from recycled materials,
  • The upper part of the loft is constructed from an old Volkswagen bus,
  • Scottsdale homes that include passive/active solar technologies,
  • Water catchment,
  • Straw bale constructions, and
  • Green architecture, as well as homes in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

“If we plan our buildings right we get enough sun [in Arizona], even in the winter, to warm our houses,” Aiello says. “We can use the sun to heat water; generate electricity or any number of things.”

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Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability – My Way – with Mick Dalrymple

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

2011 Valley of the Sun – Tour of Solar and Sustainable Buildings

Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 2011
8 a.m.

Location:
City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Facility
Granite Reef Rd., just north of the intersection of Granite Reef and McDowell roads

Free and open to the public.

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Check out the Arizona Solar Center events calendar for more information on the upcoming solar lecture series and solar tour as well as other events.