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ideal-LIVING
Retirement Blog
Green Living

Eco-nomical Green LivingGreen is everywhere. Green economy, green jobs, green revolution, even a green TV channel. In fact, more and more people are going green every day. Even though green building may sound expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy ways to build an eco-friendly home that can help save the planet and save you money, too.

Going green is not an all or nothing proposition. Anything you do to lessen your impact is a good thing. One of the best ways to be eco-friendly is to use fewer resources.

Passive Solar Design

Optimal positioning of your new home on the homesite to take advantage of the suns rays during summer and winter is the easiest way to reduce future energy bills. Homes constructed as passive solar design use the natural movement of heat and air to maintain comfortable temperatures.

Home design can maximize the benefits it receives from the sun with standard construction features. Passive solar design takes advantage of local breezes and landscape features such as shade trees and windbreaks. Making the building the right shape, properly placing its windows and pointing it in the right direction can cut the building’s total energy use by 30 to 40 percent at no extra cost.

Insulation

Homes consume as much as 50 to 70 percent of their total energy for heating and cooling, so let’s start here. The easiest and probably least expensive thing to do is insulate.

There are many effective green products made from recycled materials such as cotton, cellulose, wool and even the age-old standby-fiberglass. Owens Corning is now one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world, and now makes a fiberglass insulation with 40 percent or more recycled glass. Using recycled glass to make insulation cuts the energy needed to produce it by 13 percent and reuses a resource that typically went into the landfill. No matter which insulation you choose, installed correctly, it will help keep your house more comfortable while saving energy and money.

Windows and Doors

If you look at windows and doors from an efficiency standpoint, they are basically holes in the insulation you’ve installed in your house. Holes provide an avenue for heated or cooled air to sneak out. Houses typically tend to lose 25 percent of their heat through windows. To save your green, you need to buy energy-efficient windows. Low E windows save energy by reflecting heat out on hot days and reflecting heat in on cold ones. Low E windows consist of a thin coat of metal applied to the inside of the glass with argon between the glass panes on the inside to prevent the metal from oxidizing.

Don’t forget the doors. Make sure they seal well so that air can’t escape around them.

Now that your home is well insulated, the next task is to heat and cool it in the most eco-friendly manner. While there are many options, the greenest way may be geothermal.

Heating and Cooling

Geothermal heat pumps are over 40 to 70 percent more energy efficient than other standard options. The geothermal heat pump operates by taking advantage of the stable temperature of the earth itself. Pipes buried underground circulate water to collect heat from the earth to distribute it to the house in the winter and to pull the heat from the house and discharge it into the ground to cool in the summer. The heat collected or discharged costs nothing to generate since it comes from the earth itself, and the best part-it’s completely renewable and non-polluting. Geothermal is about as green as it gets.

Unfortunately geothermal will cost more to install. How much depends on where you live and the size of the system required. Fortunately, with the installation of qualified geothermal systems, you can receive a Federal Tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of the system with no upper limit until December 31, 2016. This tax credit is good for new and existing homes, as well as primary and secondary homes. With geothermal, you can get the good green feeling in both your heart and your wallet.

Eco-nomical Green LivingProgrammable Thermostats

Now that your house is well insulated and you have installed highly efficient heating and cooling, what sense does it make to heat and cool when you aren’t around? The solution is a programmable thermostat. But programmable is just the beginning.

Today you can purchase a WIFI enabled thermostat for not much more than a standard programmable one. A company named Ecobee (www.ecobee.com) not only offers the ability to control its user-friendly smart thermostat through a Web portal, but also offers an iPhone app that allows for remote mobile control of your household energy use. Not only can you program your heat to be off when you are away during the day, but you can simply use your phone from basically anywhere to turn down the heat when you leave for a trip and back up and toasty when you expect to return. This is not only green, but also way cool. And since you aren’t heating or cooling your home when you don’t need to, you save resources, earth’s and your own.

Water Heating

By this point your house is starting to look pretty green, but there is so much more that can be done to conserve resources. Water heating can account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Because traditional water heaters basically heat water all the time and not just when you need it, they are at best 80 to 85 percent efficient. Tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it and can be up to 98 percent or more efficient.

Water Usage

And, what about all that water being used? The simplest thing to do is to use less. Installing a single 1.28-gallon High-Efficiency Toilet (HET) saves up to 16,500 gallons of water each year over less efficient toilets found in more than half the homes in the U.S.

Another thing to consider, especially if you already have your water closet, is that companies such as MJSI (www.gomjsi.com) and (www.flushchoice.com) offer inexpensive and easy, drop-in conversions for most toilets to help save 50 to 70 percent water by using only the amount of water
required. Who knew doing something green could be so easy?

Eco-nomical Green LivingLandscaping

Your landscaping can also help you conserve energy. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the proper placement of as few as three trees can save the average household between $100 and $250 annually in energy costs.

Because trees and shrubs shade the ground and evapotranspire (release water vapor), air temperatures below trees can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than air above a street. Planting deciduous trees (which lose their leaves in the fall) provides summer shading, which helps reduce summer cooling needs, while opening up your home to warmth from winter’s solar rays. Conversely, planting evergreen trees and shrubs north and northwest of a property as a windbreak can dramatically lower energy costs by channeling winds away from or over a house.

When deciding your overall landscaping plan, you might want to consider xeriscaping-utilizing plants and shrubs that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental watering.

While making these choices may seem obvious and may not be as green as using recycled materials, low VOC paints and solar panels (all which are also excellent ideas), these simple solutions are easy, relatively painless and highly effective ways to help reduce cost and reduce impact on the finite resources. You can have a positive green impact on our planet.

Request information from these Green Communities


Minto at TwinEagles

Minto at TwinEagles

Naples, Florida

Minto is proud to bring over a half-century of achievement to Naples by introducing magnificent single-family and estate home to the premier country club community of TwinEagles. Priced from the low $500s to over $1 million, these masterfully crafted residences are a sensational value. And that value is even more amazing once you discover that a golf membership is included in the price of every new Minto home!
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Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch, Florida

New solar-powered town near Fort Myers in sunny Florida promotes active, healthy living with 50 miles of trails to get out and explore. Take in 9,000 acres of preserved green space, farm-to-table restaurants, community gardens, and the Healthy Life Center that align with the Babcock Ranch vision with a focus on wellness and sustainable living. Residents can choose from a mix of affordable, moderate and luxury residences that blend with the natural environment.
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Haig Point Club

Haig Point Club

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Haig Point is on a sea island and the lifestyle here is very special. It has the serenity and seclusion of a most idyllic, sea island life. But extraordinary privacy isn't the only thing you'll enjoy at Haig Point on Daufuskie Island
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River Dunes

River Dunes

Oriental, North Carolina

River Dunes is an award-winning coastal retreat on the coast of North Carolina. You'll find big water, big views, and big adventure here. River Dunes offers the best in coastal living and year-round boating, set in an unparalleled location with fourteen miles of shoreline on the big waters of the Pamlico Sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Neuse River.
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Hot Springs Village - Arkansas Communities

Hot Springs Village - Arkansas Communities

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Experience the natural beauty of Arkansas in Hot Springs Village, spread across 26,000 acres of the Ouachita Mountains with breathtaking vistas, sparkling lakes and lush forest.
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AR


Live Sarasota

Live Sarasota

Lakewood Ranch, Florida

We are your full service real estate connection to the Gulf Coast - Tampa, St.Pete, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Sarasota, Siesta Key, and Venice Florida. As Buyers' agents, with 30+ combined years of local knowledge and experience- we are your advocate as well as your advisor, with NO COST TO YOU.
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Montejo Plaza

Montejo Plaza

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Montejo Plaza is located in Merida, the safest city in Mexico, Its surrounded by lush vegetation, cenotes, and first-world facilities and attractions nearby.
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MEX


Black Creek Chattanooga

Black Creek Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee

At Black Creek, we are building a community that embraces all that has been forgotten about what defines a life well-lived. Imagine access to 1000s of acres of protected land just footsteps from your door while living just 10 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, where shopping, dining, entertainment as well as top hospitals are quickly within reach.
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The Isles of Collier Preserve - Florida Gated Communities

The Isles of Collier Preserve - Florida Gated Communities

Naples, Florida

Nestled within a pristine natural setting just minutes from downtown Naples and the vibrant 5th Avenue shopping and dining district, Florida's preeminent homebuilder is creating a colorful update of classic coastal living. Inspired by the timeless architecture and traditions of Old Naples, elegant new Minto homes will overlook miles of scenic kayak and biking trails.
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The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach

The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach is a special community just 1 mile away from the beautiful sand and waves of Ocean Isle Beach. Residents at The Retreat are positioned uniquely within walking distance to the local grocery store, incredible restaurants and quaint shops that make Ocean Isle Beach so desirable. The colorful homes and lush landscape pay homage to the bold and bright colors you'll find lining the oceanfront streets just across the causeway.
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NC


River Bluffs

River Bluffs

Castle Hayne, North Carolina

Located just 10 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington, NC (by boat or car) sits River Bluffs, overlooking the North East Cape Fear River. Residents enjoy a serene community where they live and play. Together, residents and the neighborhood's developers have established over 30 clubs. The clubs include boating, kayaking, dancing & more!
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Horizon Homes of Wilmington LLC

Horizon Homes of Wilmington LLC

Wilmington, North Carolina

As a family-owned and operated business, Horizon Homes of Wilmington has one main mission in mind: to design homes that suit homeowners' individual needs and lifestyles with quality materials at an affordable price.
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Playa Bonita Beach Residences

Playa Bonita Beach Residences

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Playa Bonita is a luxury beachfront residential community. It is located along the north coast of the Dominican Republic, on the beautiful Samana peninsula. The community is being developed on waterfront property along its namesake, the Playa Bonita beach. This idyllic beach can be found to the west of Las Terrenas, a thriving cosmopolitan town. Playa Bonita is the best beach of Dominican Republic. It strives the perfect combination of smooth and silky sand and unbelievable turquoise crystalline water.
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DOM


On Top of the World Communities - Florida 55+ Communities

On Top of the World Communities - Florida 55+ Communities

Ocala, Florida

Renowned for beautiful homes and an unrivaled method that combines top-notch programming, talented staffing and incredible amenities, On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, FL, is truly a leader in creating quality lifestyles
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Del Webb eTown

Del Webb eTown

Jacksonville, Florida

Active Adult Community in Jacksonville FL is Del Webb eTown. Explore this Builder and 55+ community in sunny beautiful Florida! Brand new master-planned community now selling!
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Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch, Florida

At Lakewood Ranch, it's all about the good life. Health, family, and fun are the focus. And, there's an activity to fit every lifestyle. The community hosts 54 holes of golf, a country club with two clubhouses, and tennis and athletic centers. Additionally, it's home to the Sarasota Polo Club and seven world-class polo fields. Lake Ranch polo tournaments attract players from around the world. Still, the list continues with a 75-acre premier sports campus, A-rated schools, and a hospital and preventative medical clinic.
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The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

Millsboro, Delaware

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay offers an exquisite collection of homes in vintage coastal architecture. With a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, unmatched amenities and instant access to Delaware's famous Atlantic beaches, there is simply no place like The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay.
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Hartness Greenville

Hartness Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina

The community will feature a number of defining amenities including a central park, sidewalks and pedestrian greenways, unique streetscapes, a commercial center with restaurants and shops, a clubhouse with fitness center, a swim complex, tennis and pickleball, a boutique hotel with spa and a 180 acre nature preserve with 15 miles of trails. Come see 450 acres of beauty in Greenville, SC.
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The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

Leland, North Carolina

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear is a vibrant, master-planned community perched on a pristine stretch of the Cape Fear River. Just 15 minutes from the classic waterfront hometown of historic Wilmington, NC, The Bluffs is a private, coastal haven for the families who call it home.
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Amelia National Golf & Country Club - Florida Gated Golf Communities

Amelia National Golf & Country Club - Florida Gated Golf Communities

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Tom Fazio golf and country club affords golfing, tennis, resort-style swimming pool, snack-bar, lounge and fine dining, gym, walking trails and 24-hour manned and gated guardhouse. Three miles from Amelia Island, close to beaches, historic-district and marina.
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Eastman Community Association

Eastman Community Association

Grantham, New Hampshire

This 3,600 acre lakeside community is tucked in the Upper Connecticut River Valley in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. Two hours north of Boston and minutes from Lake Sunapee, New London, Lebanon and Hanover, residents have easy access to medical facilities, employment, educational opportunities and a multitude of cultural venues.
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Heritage Shores - Delaware Retirement Communities

Heritage Shores - Delaware Retirement Communities

Bridgeville, Delaware

The homes at Heritage Shores have been designed to maximize your lifestyle by incorporating the latest technologies and floorplans, providing ease of maintenance and energy efficiency.
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Retire NC

Retire NC

Cary, North Carolina

From four distinct seasons to its geographic diversity and welcoming communities, North Carolina draws those seeking retirement options that feed the senses and the soul. Retiring to North Carolina is like coming home...
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Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow, Washington

Port Ludlow is a resort-style community located on the shores of the Puget Sound, just a 30-minute ferry ride away from Seattle, Washington. Port Ludlow is close enough to the city, but far enough to enjoy an active and tranquil lifestyle. With views of the Olympic Mountains, a bustling social life, waterfront inn, and myriad of recreational amenities, the community has regularly been ranked as one of the top ten neighborhoods in the U.S.
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Graystone Realty at Fox Acres Country Club

Graystone Realty at Fox Acres Country Club

Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Just an hour away from Fort Collins, enjoy all the breathtaking amenities Colorado has to offer. Enjoy this beautiful resort mountain community.
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Red Ledges Utah

Red Ledges Utah

Heber City, Utah

Red Ledges is a 2,000 acre, four-season community only minutes from Park City, UT, offering the ideal balance of convenience, privacy and luxury along with a lifestyle to engage the whole family.
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David Weekley Homes - Victory at Verrado

David Weekley Homes - Victory at Verrado

Buckeye, Arizona

David Weekley Homes has delivered the best in Design, Choice and Service for the past 40 years. As one of the largest privately-held builder, David Weekley Homes continues to build high-quality homes and offer open floor plans that suit the needs of any lifestyle.
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Balsam Mountain Preserve

Balsam Mountain Preserve

Sylva, North Carolina

Balsam Mountain Preserve is a conservation-orientated private residential community set on 4,400 acres in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville. Refined amenities of the community include an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, Palmer Practice Park, Equestrian Center, Ruby Valley Fitness & Wellness Pavilion, junior Olympic heated pool, Nature Center, tennis courts, guided hiking, fishing and camping opportunities, the Boarding House and Outpost for gathering and food & beverage offerings.
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Sunset Ridge

Sunset Ridge

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Sunset Ridge is located in Sunset Beach, North Carolina and has been one of Bill Clark Homes' longstanding flagship communities. At its completion, it will showcase just over 400 single family homes and is planned for 100 townhomes. Just 3 miles from the Sunset Beach barrier island, Sunset Ridge offers its residents the easy access to both the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway all at a very affordable price point.
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Plantation Bay Golf and Country Club — Florida Golf Communities

Plantation Bay Golf and Country Club — Florida Golf Communities

Ormond Beach, Florida

An abundance of sparkling new facilities take this prestigious private community to luxurious new heights, with two clubhouses, a magnificent 7,000-square-foot Spa and Fitness Center, 10 tennis courts and 45 holes of golf to challenge and delight players of all levels. Plantation Bay is the perfect place to get pampered, stay in shape and play, all right in your back yard.
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FL


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