Dan Suich's Blogs

Going Green With Home Automation and Smart Technology

Smart technology is gaining in popularity! Modern homes use smart technology to help increase security, improve energy efficiency, boost property values and make life more convenient. If you'd like to go green in your home, knowing where to start and which smart products to buy is important. 

Get A Home Assistant

A home assistant is an app or a product that can control the other smart devices in your home. The home assistant can be used to control your home's lights, ceiling fans, HVAC system and other smart devices. A home assistant makes controlling a smart home easy and fun. 

If you're thinking about installing more than one smart device in your home, getting a home assistant is a good way to maintain total control of your environment. Get the home assistant first, before buying any other smart devices. This way you'll be able to choose smart devices that are compatible with your home assistant. 

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Are you going green at home? Or want information on green careers? How about advice on going green at school and in life? Here are the resources you need to get started:

 

Guide to Green Mortgages: Requirements, Loan Types & More:

www.moneygeek.com/mortgage/resources/green-mortgages/

 

The Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing:

http://www.letsgosolar.com/solar-panels/financing/

 

Solar Tax Credits & Incentives- Expert Tips to Maximize Your Return on Investment:

http://www.letsgosolar.com/solar-panels/financing/tax-credits/

 

Sustainable Savings- 4 Ways Solar Keeps Money in Your Wallet:

http://www.letsgosolar.com/consumer-education/how-much-...

Forward-thinking cities across the U.S. are setting impressive sustainability goals and implementing innovative, eco-friendly ideas to educate residents on green practices. LetsGoSolar.com has compiled a new list of 25 cities doing an awesome job on sustainability – detailing specific energy, transportation, water, and ecological projects.

http://www.letsgosolar.com/consumer-education/sustainable-cities/

About us: LetsGoSolar.com strives to advance sustainability through solar energy and environmental education resources. LetsGoSolar.com, P.O. Box 77021, San Francisco, CA 94107

We've all heard about green homes and green building practices, but what are the practical steps each of us can take to save energy, reduce indoor air pollution, increase the comfort of our homes, and reduce our impact on the Earth? Here is a distillation of the best changes, upgrades, and improvements that will make the biggest difference to you and the planet:

solar panel grass house

1. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) types to reduce your power consumption by at least 4-fold. Each CFL lasts up to 10 times longer than incandescent, LED even longer. Have a dark area in your home because there is no place for a window? Install skylights and solar tubes for natural light. Bring the light in from above, and save energy on lighting.

2. Replace old appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers & dryers, and hot water heaters with new, energy-efficient appliances...

Beginning January 16, 2012, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will be phasing in a Regional Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance in The cities of Emeryville, Piedmont, Oakland, and those in the Stege Sanitary District (SSD) - El Cerrito, Kensington, and Richmond Annex.

The goal is to replace old, cracked sewer pipes to keep water from infiltrating them during storms and flooding the wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the bay. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board are requiring EBMUD to reduce discharge of untreated waste into the bay.

sewer lateral connection

The sewer lateral is the pipe that connects an individual residence or business to the sewer main in the street. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the sewer lateral. Residential and commercial property owners will be required to obtain a certificate that shows their sewer lateral is in good condition, and is connected properly to the property’s waste pipes and to the sewer main in the street (which is...

Have you ever wanted to know when dining out or shopping for dinner, “what kinds of fish are okay to eat?”

We all know that certain fish can bio-accumulate toxins like mercury and PCB’s, some are endangered due to overfishing, while others are being farmed with methods which use antibiotics or release harmful toxins or microorganisms into the marine environment.

So which fish are currently seen as “safe” to eat from both a health and an environmental point of view? Here is a list compiled by the folks at GreenAmerica.org:

salmon rosemary

·Anchovies
·Calamari
·Clams
·Crawfish
·Dungeness crab
·Flounder (summer)
·Haddock
·Hake
·Herring
·King crab
·Lobster (spiny/rock)
·Mid-Atlantic blue crab
·Northern shrimp (US-farmed)
·Oysters
·Alaskan salmon (wild)
·Perch
·White shrimp (US-farmed)
·Sardines
·Bay scallops (farmed)
·Sole
·Spot prawn
·Stone crab
·Tilapia
·Whitefish

A second, or “...

1406 San Pablo Avenue Unit C, Berkeley
Offered at $329,000

Remarkably upscale and eco-friendly 2-bed/1.5-bath condo with extraordinary finishes, lofty ceilings and SF Bay views. Modern and open living spaces are flooded with natural light, showcasing the stunning walnut hardwood floors and gallery-like atmosphere. Designer finishes include Electrolux stainless steel appliances, Maybeck walnut cabinetry, Carrera marble and limestone tiling in the bathrooms, Blomberg aluminum windows, and much more.

This exclusive and exceptionally-crafted 8-unit development built in 2006 and designed by Berkeley architects, Rempel & Lau, is conveniently located near Gilman Street amenities, renowned Acme Bread and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, popular 4th Street and Solano Avenue shopping and eateries, North Berkeley, Cal campus,...

2525 Ashby Avenue #3, Berkeley
Offered at $399,000

Elegant one bedroom, one bath condo in well-maintained fourplex in the heart of Elmwood, this unit features hardwood floors, formal entry, generously apportioned rooms with period details, original built-ins and spacious closets. Banks of windows showcase views of the Berkeley Hills and allow for natural lighting throughout.

In-unit laundry, gated and deeded parking space plus convenient location steps from College Avenue’s gourmet restaurants, outdoor cafes, trendy shops, historic theater, and much more make this condo an A+. Walk Score of 95! The four-plex has been recently condo converted and has seismic upgrades, a newer roof and is RECO and sewer lateral compliant. Close to BART, UC Berkeley and wooded parks.

Open Sundays 2-5 pm.

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Just a quick note to remind you that as of July 1st, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are required in all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source such as a fireplace, gas-fired furnace, oven, or range.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

The California State Fire Marshal requires a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home, including the basement, within ten feet of each bedroom door, and near or over any attached garage. It is recommended that CO detectors be replaced every five to six years.
Owners of rental properties have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.

CO detectors are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores. These are an important safety device that provides a warning when the level of carbon monoxide gas reaches dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that, in low doses, causes flu-like symptoms, and in high doses or prolonged exposure, can cause death. On average, carbon monoxide kills 170 people a year in the U.S.

Information courtesy of Star Inspection Group:...

1059 Via Alta, Lafayette
Offered at $1,195,000

This lovely and spacious home is located in one of the most convenient and beautiful locations in Lafayette! This unique house sits on a secluded corner lot with panoramic views of Mt. Diablo and the nearby reservoir, yet is only 1⁄2 mile from Diablo Blvd. and BART. The large lot is nearly 3⁄4 of an acre and includes an intimate yard with a swimming pool — an inviting setting for fantastic outdoor entertaining.

Inside, across a marble floor, is the entrance to this 3,200 sq. ft. home. A dramatic candelabra-accented staircase leads to a large master bedroom and sitting area. An upstairs living room with expansive windows and magnificent views of the hills and reservoir is crowned by a dramatic box beam ceiling and two-way wood burning fireplace which provides an open and...