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CT Farm Fresh Express on NBC 30 and NPR!!

by Michael Marsden

I would be remiss, if not stupid, for not giving a few lines to my wife's startup (now a year old) CT Farm Fresh Express, LLC. A year and half ago my bride, Deb Marsden, wanted to change careers from graphic design and production to something she felt more passionate about. She also wanted to do something to make a difference in the world...and more specifically here locally and in CT. Deb was thinking green long before if was fashionable. She promoted recycling, conservations of land, water, and other resources, and eating right. She detests industrialized farming and all that it stands for and what it delivers. There's a reason America is a collective big fat pig now. Processed food full of corn by-products like high fructose corn syrup, and CAFO raised beef, pork, and poultry are part of the problem. Industrialized farming also has one big fat carbon footprint which is part of our global warming issue. 

Deb started CT Farm Fresh Express, LLC helps all of what is near and dear to her. CTFFE is the link between CT farms and consumers and restaurants who share the same idea of eating local healthy foods. Deb and her team visit 30 farms across the state and picks up delicious produce, meat, poultry, honey, baked goods, maple syrup, and much more. Only CT grown and produced foods and products are allowed in the mix and must be certified organic or be naturally raised. She opens her on-line store each weekend and closes it on Wednesday morning when she starts her day. She started with 8 customers and 7 farms and now has many customers and has a growing list of farms. Each Friday she delivers to homes and in the beginning of the week she delivers to her restaurants. Food is sold a farmer's market prices plus a delivery charge based on the distance from source to you. (visit: CTFFE.com and CTFFEstore.com

Deb has had many editorial articles written about her in local newspapers all along the shoreline and Middletown and was on Faith Middleton Show on NPR and on NBC 30's Green is Universal segment this month. 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FAITH MIDDLETON SHOW ON SAVING CT FARMS AND EATING LOCAL. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NBC 3O GREEN IS UNIVERSAL SEGMENT 

 

For me the bonus is eating fabulous, local food that tastes like the food I grew up with. I am pleased that the farms are planting more this year to supply the demand that CTFFE and my wife has brought them. I am also happy that this is a very green thing to do and helpful to the environment. 

Thanks to all for reading this. 

 

Solar Nation reports on the Renewable Energy Bill

by Michael Marsden

Entered by Mick Marsden:

One of my passions is for the use of renewable energy in everyday life from home to transportation to manufacturing and the like. I am passionate about Green Building as well. Please visit My Easy Green Home. I can't help but plug this site.

I was delighted to find the solar-nation.org site and organization. I encourage you to visit, sign-up and be a voice for finding ways to move away from fossil fuels, the corruption that goes hand-in-hand with it, making the middle-east, Russia, and Venezuela richer, all the while watching our planet grow hotter. Greed is a necessary component of capitalism, however, I am for capitalism with a conscience. Its complicated I guess.

Here's the news from the Solar Nation as they reported on it. For more please visit Solar Nation. Its also one of my links under the Green and Energy category here on the my team website.



Thousands of solar citizens have sent messages to their U.S. representatives to urge support for the House bill that would create tax credits for renewable energy.

Here’s what happened:

Late on February 27th., the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax of 2008 (H.R. 5351). The final vote was 236 - 182 with 11 members of the House not voting, and was largely split along party lines.

In a joint statement, Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Leader Hoyer and sponsor of the bill Rangel said: “The bill extends and expands tax incentives for renewable electricity, energy and fuel, as well as for hybrid cars, and energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances. It does not add to our deficit, but rather repeals $18 billion in tax subsidies for Big Oil companies. By strengthening our renewable energy sector, the bill will help create the next generation of good-paying, green collar jobs and bring down energy prices in the long term.”

The Bush Administration has already issued a letter indicating that the president will veto a bill that rolls back tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, so all eyes are now on the Senate, to see whether the Finance Committee can find less objectionable sources of revenue.

…but funding will be an issue for the Senate

The Greening of the House Hunt

by Michael Marsden

If you haven't yet read 10 February 2008 article in the Hartford Courant, The Greening of the House Hunt, you can click the title to read it right at the Hartford Courant website.

 

It points out that its just as difficult to find a green realtor who knows what s/he is doing as it is to find a green home in CT. Inventory of green, eco-friendly, and zero-energy homes in New England are scarce. Builders with new inventory do what they know how to do, build traditionally, and green and zero-energy building in general remains as just rhetoric and cliché to them. They fail to realize to build green and with higher energy efficiency would differentiate their inventory from the ho-hum masses. It would motivate a buyer looking at resale homes to look at new homes. Especially if the buyer knew it would cost 50-80% less in energy costs year after year. This is the main reason I founded My Easy Green Home last year.

Currently I am working with 4 clients who are looking for existing green and energy efficient homes. Each customers motivation differs slightly and finding what they want is a challenge. There just isn't a lot out there to begin with and those who own such homes are sellng. There's no easy was to find them in the existing inventory in the professional MLS, however a recent communication I had with the CEO of the CT Statewide MLS was upbeat. The additional of fields helping agents identify such properties will be discussed in the near future and hopefully be added to the statewide MLS within the year. Perhaps I am a bit optimistic, but how else should I think about it? Although I have my methods using smart comment searching to find homes in the MLS, it'd be nice to have them as standard and defined fields.

The clients I am working with right now have mostly prioritized my search on their behalf to:
1. Finding an existing green home;
2. Find one that has the bones and siting to be renovated into one;
3. Find the right site in their desired target area and build from the ground up.

Climate change and the media's recent attention to green thinking is helping everyone become more aware that the status quo cannot continue. A client looking for land this week in our office asked her agent for the name of a "green" builder to build her new home. The general public is beginning to get it. You don't have to be an environmentalist to like not having to pay high energy bills or live in a healthy home.

Some think the house they'd have to build will look like a hippy dome home or something unappealing. That's simply not true! To the world your home will look the same as a conventional home you'd have designed, but to you it will make a world of difference. For instance there are new solar panels available that look just like regular roofing shingle. Now those who want the benefit of solar but don't want to see the traditional panels on their roof can have it both ways. Green is here to stay and its a matter of time for the masses to step up to do whatever they can do passively and actively to lower their energy bills and make a contribution to lower their carbon footprint.

If you haven't yet visited My Easy Green Home please do so.

Although the site is in its infancy and being added to as time goes on, the team and know how is in place to build for you right now! If the customer elects to do enough passive and active means to getting the house to a 75% improved efficiency, the builder will pay for the 1st two years of energy bills. (The terms and limits are being worked on to be fair to all). I have assembled a team of professionals with the experience and know how to simply building your next house green.

I am constantly educating myself on how to build or refit existing homes to be green and energy efficient. I have many links dedicated to the subject here on my site. You can learn about LEEDs requirements, to local and national tax credits and rebates, to sites on various building materials used to accomplish the goal and task. If you have a useful article, link, or any information that I could post on this site, please contact me. I will look forward to your contributions.

A new year is here

by Michael Marsden

This is my first post of the year. I took some time off at the end of the year to recharge my batteries. Now that I am energized for 2008 I am excited as ever to get back to work. I don't like resolutions, however I do have a plan for year. First and foremost is my orientation towards green and zero energy real estate. The enigma for New England is why isn't there any to buy? New England's climate is far harsher than the west coast and yet we're so far behind. So far around these parts its remained rhetoric and cliché. You'd think that crude at $100 would motivate some of us...but not really. One thing for sure is that some don't get what "green" building is or "zero energy" homes are and how to get there. I asked some people to tell me what they thing green building is and some actually thought it was building with pressure treated (green) lumber. I created myeasygreenhome.com (the site is under construction but the team is up and can produce a green zero energy home today) to give people in CT an easy way to get the job done. I formed a team of professionals that can handle everything from locating and buying the building site, to the design and execution of their new home. My goal for 2008 is to blog upon the subject ad nauseum with an eye on educating the people in my market about the importance to think green, build efficient homes using the latest techniques available. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of the LEEDs certification and share what's going on in that vain as well.

 

So let's say you want to build a "zero energy" green home. Here's how we'd simplify the process and justify your investment in advance of putting a shovel in the ground:

 

1. Do you have land and/or building site? If not, we'll assist you in finding the right site.

 

2. Do you have a house design or plans? If yes, go to step 3. If not, we'll design your home from the ground up or revise an existing plan you like.

 

3. Baseline analysis. Here we determines the energy performance for a given home. During this process we will either use a given set of plans and specifications, or a given set of plans and energy code level (i.e. IECC 2004) to determine the baseline energy performance of the home. This baseline is later used to help calculate costs and benefits for energy performance improvements, and the availability of certain tax credits and rebates.

 

4. Recommendations. Using a combination of architectural, energy modeling, and fluid modeling software, we will generate design and system recommendations which will increase the energy performance.

 

5. Facilitate Final Choices. Based on your budget and desires, we finalize your selections into the final building plan.

 

6. Forecast of Utility Costs of Final Plans. We now take the final construction documents and use them to forecast the new plans utility bills. This forecast will be used to identify available tax credits and rebates.

 

7. Analyze Financial Incentives. We analyze and identify all available tax credits and rebates. Some credits and rebates are applied for by you, the homeowner, some are available only through us, the builder. Once all tax credits and rebates are identified, we will provide the information necessary for you the to obtain your tax credits and rebates. Those tax credits obtained by My Easy Green Home and our subcontractors are reflected in the final cost of your new home.

 

8. If we build it, you'll be happy. At this point we will have all the specifications, plans, and designs to build your home which will pay you back year after year.

 

We build ANYWHERE in CT, RI, and MA including Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket.

My Easy Green Home!

by Michael Marsden

Announcing a company that makes building a zero energy or high performance, green, ecologically sensitive home simple and affordable. To the world your home will look the same. To you, it will make a world of difference. You don't have to be an environmentalist to love not paying energy bills! We will build a home for you that will be 75% to 80% more efficient than a home you might build conventionally. Most think that it will take 15 years to break even before it pays you back, however, our team of financial analysts, green mortgagees, energy designers and engineers, and our builder with 35 building experience will deliver a home where the extra you invest to create eco-friendly, high performance home can be paid up in about 5 years. With the ever rising cost of energy the pay back will just get better and better. I believe that years from now the resale value of our home will be worth more given its energy efficiency. I hope to have our website up and running in the next couple of weeks, but don't let that stop you for calling 860.334.1379 now. If you're in the market to build a new home you owe it to yourself to at least talk to us. WE'RE SO SURE THAT THE HOME WE BUILD FOR YOU WILL BE SO EFFICIENT THAT WE'LL PAY YOUR FIRST TWO YEARS OF ENERGY BILLS!

What is Green Building. Is it here to stay?

by Michael Marsden

When the move towards "Natural" and "Organic" first came on the food scene, every Tom, Dick, and Harry jumped on the bandwagon and found loopholes in laws and definition that allowed them to label a product that wasn't really either natural or organic as such. It took a while before laws and certification procedures were put in place to protect consumers from being duped. Green building is in a resurgence from the '70s when only hippies like me thought it was cool. For most builders its new territory. Is it here to stay or just a fad of what's in the news. I'd like to think its really here for good. Being environmentally conscious is not just for Al Gore anymore either. It's becoming mainstream as we watch the polar ice melt at alarming speeds, more catastrophic weather events occur and the like.

This first annoying thing I see are the corporations like Exxon and GE and BP all creating ads stating how they are now moving towards "green" ways. If that were really true about the oil companies they'd be turning their attention to developing cost effective hydrogen production and working with US automakers to own that business. Oil companies already have the best fuel distribution system in place. But no...they want to drill in the artic and put billions into finding more reserves while our government tries to reshape middle east policies to protect oil supplies for the US. As my wife pages through Professional Builders magazine, she tells about the most curious ads regarding companies jumping on the "green" movement. Imagine http://vinylsiding.org/ claiming their green? To me its obvious that this petroleum based product that looks like shit on most homes is trying to shield themselves from an exodus of buyers who are looking to move towards being truly green. That being said what is green building anyway?

What this means to me is building with products and techniques that result in a healthier, more energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible home. Its more of a systems approach to home building that recognizes the home itself is only one aspect of the larger picture. Our world and immediate community must be taken into account as well. This broad-minded approach wants to provide healthy homes that don't poison the occupants or creates myriad allergies and health concerns and more efficient homes that costs 75% less than conventionally built homes to operate along with an eye on preserving and protecting our natural environment.

While green homes are built differently than traditional homes this doesn't necessarily mean that there's a difference in appearance. One does not need to forego style, convenience or comfort. Making life healthier is a primary reason for many to move into a green home. Saving their hard earned cash on utilities and saving the environment is icing on the cake. Energy costs will rise exponentially as China's demands for resources continue and the capacity for fossil fuels remains stationary. The cost benefit alone is reason enough for most to at least think about it.

The problem I see is that some builders I have found on line don't get the whole picture. Building 5,000 square foot McMansions that are more efficient and using some building techniques that qualify isn't quite on the mark. Higher density communities of smaller square foot homes is key. Subdivisions that incorporated single biological septic systems and water systems that are powered by renewal energy such as wind, hydro, or solar is what I am talking about here. The National Association of Home Builders has yet to develop a national standard and thus many local certification standards are popping up all over the country as a result. In this magazine my wife read that a builder who has been building green for 15 years has been asking for a standard for years and was met with reticence. Although they are in the process of developing one, in fact they have a public draft on line available for comment (this link is on the recommended links area on RiverToShore.com), its not here yet. Why after all these years have they just begun the process? I guess I should be happy it will be finalized over the next year or so. In the meantime, standards will vary greatly from area to area and only confuse most consumers looking to educate themselves. Its sort of like our states taking the immigration crisis into their own hands as our government hasn't the guts and/or smarts to deal with this all important issue.

So each region is branding and creating there own standards like http://www.southface.org/web/earthcraft_house/ech_main/ech_index.htm in GA is doing. The most important message I have for this blog entry is that all home builders should start looking to become green builders and that those customers out in the market for new homes to start demanding homes be built differently. What's on your mind about green building. I'd love for you to post your thoughts here.

Its time for upscale green homes in CT

by Michael Marsden

I am passionate about environmental issues, especially when it comes to cars and new homes. On my list besides a hybrid car to shuttle clients about, is the fabulous Tesla sports car that is totally electric, cool to look at, fast as one could ever want, and the kindest of its kind when it comes to being a carbon neutral car. I searched for new homes in CT that were advertised as green and CT just seems to lag behind some other states. I find a few people carrying the banner, like Barry Katz down in Westport, CT but more people with our mindset needs to step and change their ways.
One of my good builder clients wanted me to participate in a new construction project of 28 homes in a popular shoreline town. I declined as I had enough new construction where the low absorption rate was lower than makes everyone happy. I visited the site (location to remain secret for now) and was bowled over by its beauty. Many acres of wooded and open space amongst 4 delicious ponds beset with native cat of 9 tails, red-winged blackbirds, turkey, deer, hawks, and the like. I simply feel in love with the site. I immediately put doing the first "green" upscale subdivision with an eye on using renewable building materials and solar panels with an eye on making each home 75% more efficient than traditional stick built homes. Wall construction allowing twice or more insulation, recycling of gray water and rain water capture for lawn and garden irrigation, and the like will be incorporated.
A central biological septic system to treat the waste from all homes and a central water system are also planned using solar power to energize these systems where the hope is to sell the excess power back to the grid. This will keep association cost lower as well as the carbon footprint. Many question me as to whether or not people would buy into a neighborhood like this and whether the additional costs to build green can compete amongst the traditional products on the market. I say yes! What are your thoughts. I believe anyone can see that if you're saving upwards of 75% of utility costs to heat, cool, and run a household where the trend for fossil fuels and gas are projected to continually rise...the upcharge for the building cost can be easily justified. You don't have to be a "tree hugger" or environmental activist to see the benefits. You just have to like to breath and care about your children and grandchildren to start and do things to help the global warming that is most definitely showing us the reality with bigger storms, higher floods, and starting to even opponents that its for real.
Please feel free to make your comments and opine on if you think there are buyers for $600K to $900K for energy efficient green homes amongst fabulous surroundings. Custom designs or from our plans or we will design build what you'd like. Imagine a whole community of homes with owners of like minds amongst acres of natural beauty that is close to beaches, shopping and the interstate for easy commuting...but with a rural feeling amongst natural beauty. Its ideal to raise children away from the harmful chemicals found in everything from building materials to lawn chemicals. A place where your family can make for wonderful memories. Look at my links area on my website for a collection of green oriented sites that may be of further interest.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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