Los Angeles Times – Although most new homes come with energy certifications and ratings, the vast majority of resold homes do not. Some steps are being taken to change that.
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CNN Money – By remotely controlling heat, locks, even the sprinklers, one company is making the house of the future a reality.
Orange County Register – A recent University of California study found that green-certified homes sell for about 9 percent more than similar homes that aren’t green.
(Note: We are in the middle of a flex alert and they are talking about cars that we plug in!)
Eco-friendly car enthusiasts (and just plain friends of the environment), listen up! The Ford Focus Electric, just now hitting select dealer showrooms around the country, will be the subject of a special Teach Me Tuesday presentation on Tuesday, August 14 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The location will be a little different—the SFAR garage—because there will be a brand new, straight off the assembly line car here. Engineers from Ford Motor Company will be on hand to describe the vehicle’s unique features and how it has achieved an EPA mileage rating of 110/99 mpg-e.
The Ford Focus Electric has an EPA-certified range of 76 miles, although Ford says up to 100 miles can be eked out. Top speed is 84 mph.
Don’t miss this chance to see this new engineering marvel from Ford and hear about its extraordinary technology from Ford engineers, away from the pressures of a dealership.
Light snacks will be served, compliments of Ford Motor Company.
Los Angeles Times – A new study of homes sold in California between 2007 and early 2012 has documented that, holding all other variables constant, a green certification label on a house adds an average 9 percent to its selling value.
Orange County Register – Only 10 percent of consumers responding to a survey last summer said they would pay more money to make their homes green, according to a study by Lifestory Research.
Mercury News – Owning a home can provide some significant advantages when it’s time to file a federal tax return. From green energy credits to deductions for damage from natural disaster, there are a number of items homeowners may be able to claim that could reduce a tax bill.
Curbed SF – Behold, a tour of an apartment in San Francisco that’s 160 square feet, the smallest legal-sized apartment for California. Inspired by the easiness of spending trips with his family in a 78 square foot Airstream, housing developer Patrick Kennedy decided to build the smallest legal apartment you can build in California. Kennedy envisions his SmartSpaces as “a larger and hipper version of LEGO blocks.” read more…
(Note: Let’s hope this is not what the green movement has in store for us all. Can you say “1984″ – the novel?)
A new case from the Court of Appeals provides some guidance on architectural review of solar energy systems.
Facts. A homeowner in the Tesoro del Valle Master Homeowners Association installed solar panels on a slope adjacent to his property without HOA approval. For aesthetic reasons and because of slope structure restrictions, the HOA wanted the panels on the owner’s roof. The owner refused and the association sued.
Aesthetic Considerations. The homeowner argued that “aesthetic considerations” were an improper part of the review process and violated Civil Code §714. The court disagreed. It ruled that “an evaluation of a proposed solar energy system–just as any other proposed improvement–would involve consideration of aesthetics.”
Cost Considerations. Expert testimony by the association showed that the cost of installing the solar panels on the owner’s roof was actually cheaper than installing them on the slope. Based on the testimony, the court ruled that the HOA’s guidelines were not unduly burdensome and, therefore, reasonable.
Duty to Redesign. The owner then argued that once the architectural committee disapproved his original application, it had a duty to redesign his solar energy system to meet their guidelines. Again the court disagreed. The court found that the law imposed no such burden on associations. Per statute, the only obligation by the committee was to inform the owner of the basis for its denial of his application. The court ruled that “the burden is on the homeowner to submit an application that is complete and sufficient to generate [architectural committee] approval.” (Tesoro del Valle v. Griffen).
RECOMMENDATION: The court’s ruling does not give associations license to deny any and all applications for solar energy systems. It does, however, demonstrate that if an association’s architectural guidelines are reasonable, they are enforceable. If boards are unsure about their guidelines, they should have an architect and legal counsel review them. For more information, see Solar Panels.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Los Angeles Times - Under the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act, estimated energy-consumption expenses for a home would be included as a mandatory new underwriting factor.