Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
New Advances In Technology Make Going Green A Breeze
Did you know that an automatic dishwasher uses less hot water than doing dishes by hand, which equals an average of six gallons less per cycle, or more than 2,000 gallons per year? Considering that an individual American uses about 2,000 gallons of water per month, thats a pretty significant number.
The idea of "going green" has come a long way in recent decades. In the 1950s, some kinds of energy efficiency werent really a choice. From drying your clothes on a clothesline, to cutting your grass with a mechanical push mower, people often lived green without ever consciously considering their carbon footprint. These days, the story is a little different; you cant turn a corner or pick something up without seeing some kind of "save the earth" signage or packaging.
Reasons to Go Green
There are a plethora of reasons to go green, most falling into either the money-saving or the earth-saving categories. On one hand, you could seriously put some green back into your wallet with things like energy-efficient appliances, and green building tax credits and rebates. Also, simple things like carpooling, limiting eating out, and starting your own vegetable garden are great ways to save money and help the environment.
On the other hand, eco-friendliness means making your community and the planet a better place to live not only for us, but also for future generations. Examples of things you can do in your home are unplugging unused electronics to prevent "phantom" energy consumption, switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by taking shorter showers, and using reusable items like Tupperware and canvas shopping bags rather than plastic.
Home Automation Technology
New advances in technology are taking much of the guesswork out of going green. With home automation systems like the Wink Hub and free app, you can control the settings on many of your home devices with the push of a smartphone button or even just with your voice. The Wink ecosystem interconnects all of your smart home devices either first through the Hub, or directly to the app. Winks simplicity is one of its most attractive features: according to Home Depot technology professional and Wink test user, Ramesh Chaparala, "Its very, very simple and self-explanatory," continuing, "Installing the Hub is a no-brainer; in five steps youre connected."
What Can You Control?
With the Wink home automation ecosystem, you no longer have to "set it and forget it" when it comes to your home devices. You can control many of your smart devices from your couch, bed, work, or anywhere you are in the world. Here are just a handful of devices you can install in your home that will not only bring you into the 21st century, but also make your home a smoothly running, highly efficient machine.
Thermostats are a great way to control your homes energy consumption, and when you apply smart technology, you can control it from anywhere. One Wink App Ready device is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, which not only adjusts to your schedule, uses automatic energy-saving settings, and Smart Response technology for precise temps, but also has a full-color, customizable screen to match your decorating scheme. You can be sure your home is aesthetically pleasing and at your exact desired temperature at all times.
Custom Window Shades
Motorized window shades allow for a clean, uncluttered look, are safer for pets and children with cordless technology, and help insulate your home with the setting of a timer or the push of a button. One quality option, Bali Custom Blinds and Shades with Somfy automation controls, utilizes a single control, wall switch, remote or programmable timer to operate single or multiple window coverings. Keep the shades drawn during summer to keep your home naturally cool, or leave them open in cooler months to let the sunshine warm your space.
Remote-Access LED Lights
Huge energy and money savings start by simply swapping out incandescent and even compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home for LED bulbs. LED solutions outlast incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 35 to 1, consume 85 less energy than incandescent bulbs, and emit less heat, which altogether drastically reduces replacing costs and landfill waste. Once youve decided to install LEDs, take it to the next level by installing smart light bulbs, like the TCP Connected Smart LED Light Bulb Kit with 2 A19 LED light bulbs. With this kit, you can remotely control lighting, dimming and smart lighting features from anywhere in the world with any computer, tablet, smart phone, or connected remote control. They have an estimated yearly cost of 1.32 and a life expectancy of 22.8 years both figures based on three hours of use a day.
Home Automation Technology is an Environmental No-Brainer
When it comes to eco-friendly new gadgets, its clear that home automation takes the cake. Having nearly complete control of your energy-consuming home devices right at your fingertips is certainly a big step forward for earth-conscious homeowners. In addition to these devices, several other smart green products are energy sensors, HVAC systems, irrigation systems, and outlet controls.
Which environmentally friendly automated devices will you install in your home?
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|Sarah Kellner is a DIY home-improvement writer for Home Depot in Atlanta. Sarah writes for homeowners on topics ranging from appliances to kitchens to home automation. You can view many of Home Depots home automation products on the companys website.|How Do You Know If Your Moving To A Diverse Neighborhood
A family I know moved from California to Texas recently to take advantage of a new job opportunity. As they set out to buy a new home in their adopted North Texas city, the questions they had for their real estate agent were pretty typical:
- Where can we afford to buy what were looking for?
- Should we consider new or is it a better value to buy in an older neighborhood?
- Where are the best schools?
- What will the commute be like?
- Where will we be accepted as an interracial family?
That last one raise an eyebrow? As a white person or family, you may be able to presume that youll be accepted into a new neighborhood without question, at least on face value literally. But for a mixed family moving to Texas from liberal California, things are not necessarily so black and white.
My neighbor is on the news
Mixed families arent the only ones who are challenged to find a neighborhood that welcomes them. Between race and sexual orientation, trying to fit in, or at least feel somewhat at home, can be difficult.
Most of us watched what transpired in Charlottesville, VA last weekend and have seen the aftermath this week as numerous torch-carrying Nazis and Nazi sympathizers have been systematically outed. Those identified have been fired from their jobs and even ex-communicated from their families. But, what if one of those marchers turned out to be your neighbor? They have to live somewhere, right?
While the obvious choice after this discovery may be: "We need to move," the more pressing question is this: How can you avoid living next door to a torch-bearer in the first place?
Recognize one of your potential neighbors as someone who was marching down the street with a dollar store Tiki torch would be great, right? Lets just cross that home right off the list. The truth is, you may not be able to cherry-pick every one of your neighbors or even know what theyre really about. But there are steps you can take to make sure the neighborhood suits your needs and your neighbors mostly share your values.nbsp;Especially in this increasingly contentious time when political and social differences are more pronounced, more polarizing, and more obvious than theyve been in decades, its more important than ever to know who youre living next door to.
Drive around and walk around
The more time you spend in your potential neighborhood, the better the feel youll get for how it lives. Noticing a lot of pro-Trump bumper stickers when youre looking for a more progressive neighborhood - or vice versa? This might not be the place for you. Ditto if youre a Muslim family whos getting a lot of side eye and people crossing to the other side of the street as you approach. While that might not necessarily indicate a lack of acceptance, the way it makes you feel may just be enough to ditch that area and lean toward one where you were greeted with waves and a warm "Hello" instead.
Ask your REALTORreg;
Your real estate agent or >
Do an online search
While it wont tell you what everyone on the street youre considering is like, a general diversity search will yield some good info, like this list of the most diverse cities in the country on WalletHub.
Have anyone you can talk to about certain neighborhoods? If youre brand new to the area, you might not have trusted friends or colleagues yet. Any new affiliation with a school or church or new job can yield confidantes, or, at least, recommendations. If youre a member of the LGBTQ community, the National Association of Gay amp; Lesbian Real Estate Professionals NAGLREP can help.
Nextdoor is great for finding a lost dog, locating a babysitter, or selling your old furniture. But its also a great place to get a feel for a neighborhood or learn new things about the one you already live in. And that, says the San Jose Mercury-News, can be a double-edged sword. "The mission of Nextdoor, a 4-year-old, San Francisco-based startup - which now operates in 70,000 neighborhoods around the country and has recently been valued at 1.1 billion - is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer communities," they said. "This all sounds very well and good - until you bring real, flawed human beings into the mix. And, then Nextdoor becomes like any social network, with all the good and bad that comes from giving people a venue to let their free expression fly from the remote isolation of their laptops and smartphones."
This particular article from Marth Ross recounts examples of racial profiling and public shaming that "is another Nextdoor trend that Ive heard friends complain about," she said. Keep in mind that you can only become part of the Nextdoor community in your particular area if have a physical address you can register, so a friend who lives there or a well-connected Realtor can be a great help here.
Check police records
The sweet old man down the street may not seem so sweet when you uncover his criminal, racially motivated past. My Local Crime allows you to enter any address and see a list of crimes reported in the area. Family Watchdog can pinpoint sex offenders in the area surrounding the homes you are considering.
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Escaping Condo JailQuestion:
The president of our condominium association acts alone and has previous members of the board on the bank account of the Association. He has been on the board for over 3 years. He harassed all the secretaries and treasurers that had been elected by the unit owners.
The President doesnt have meetings with the board or include them in any decisions for different projects, nor does he let the treasurer handle the money. He decides what projects he wants to do and he works on the projects than he pays himself. He also is a custodian/ janitor and he pays himself a 800 per month.
Please we need help. Where should we report, without hiring an Attorney. I am the current secretary for the association but the President doesnt even talk to us. He buys apartments from owners that are behind with the Association dues, he owns 5 apartments in a 20 unit building and he comes at the meetings with his votes plus with proxy votes from the unit owners that are renting their units. Ana.
Answer:Dear Ana. My first reaction was "you gotta be kidding; this was a false news email. But then I remembered reading "Escaping Condo Jail", by Sara Benson and Don DeBat, so my next reaction was "welcome to the wonderful world of condo living".
Are you the only one concerned about this? Have you talked with other owners to see if you could mobilize a group that would start to challenge the President? Have you advised the absentee owners of these problems so they would no longer give the President their proxy?
The best approach, in my opinion, is to try to "throw the rascal" out of office. Your Bylaws contains the procedure for recalling an elected board member. Keep in mind that the board can terminate an officer but only the unit owners -- in the percentage of vote required by your legal documents -- can remove a director.
If you can prove even only half of the facts in your question, there is a strong case that the President is breaching his fiduciary duty to the association.
So why dont you want to get an attorney? A lawyer can help, and I suspect that most lawyers would >Contact the Community Association Institute caionline.org. Thats a national association that represents community associations all over the country. There are local chapters, and you will get some names of local attorneys who practice community association law. I strongly recommend you talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
You are the secretary of the board. You also have a fiduciary duty to the association, and in my opinion, that duty requires you to take immediate appropriate action to remove the President -- either by vote of the membership or by court order.
Question: A contiguous owner in a three level apartment->How can a condo board deter or prevent such behavior that presents grave safety risks to all condo residents? Is it possible to declare the condo a "non-smoking" condo. Al.
Answer: Al, smoking -- which now includes marijuana -- is the hot-button issue today in almost every community association throughout the country.
You cant stop stupid people from doing stupid things. I hope the smoker if she survived -- has learned an important lesson, But the association cannot be the hand-holder of each and every unit owner.
However, you can restrict smoking -- of any kind -- in the common elements as well as in the units. While some of my lawyer friends believe the association can enact a rule prohibiting smoking in the common areas, I believe that the safe harbor is to get a ByLaw amendment on this issue. I recognize that it often is very difficult to enact Bylaw amendments.
To restrict smoking in units, you have to amend not only the Bylaws but also the Declaration. Such a restriction will be controversial, which is why the Declaration should be amended. Now would be a good time to present such a proposal, because owners may be concerned there may be yet another fire due to smoking.
Case law around the country is very clear: community association owners are legally bound not only by the legal documents in effect when the owner took title but also as to any properly enacted amendments to the legal documents in the future.
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