Did you know buildings produce as much smog as all of the light-duty vehicles in California? That’s about 40% of all of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, Berkeley was the first city in the country to adopt an electrification mandate for new construction and major rehabilitation. More than 30 California cities have followed similar ordinances, and this year we may also see efforts to increase electrification for existing buildings. A complete transition is taking place in our energ y system – so investing in the electrification of your home is investing in the future.

To get a great over-view, and learn the experiences of numerous other home owners, check out the East Bay Green Home TourClick Here to register. It’s free, and covers two Sundays, June 6 and 13 from 10 am until 1 pm. On the first Sunday I am helping moderate the session with Chef Rachelle on induction cooktops!

Why make your house green?

“Greening” your home isn’t just best for the planet. Renewable energy has proven to be increasingly more economic than fossil fuels and better for your health. For example, gas appliances leak methane from gas extraction and transmission, and if not vented outside the house, they can seep into your lungs. Studies show that gas stoves alone increase the risk of a child developing asthma by over 40%.

Homeowners spend an average of $2,000 a year on utilities. By making your home more efficient, you can cut your utility bills by about half. If you are looking to sell sometime in the future, making your house green increases its value. If you want to sell your home fast, studies show that homes with solar panels and other green features are on the market for significantly less time than those homes without. Agent surveys also show that 26% of their buyers find renewable energy systems “important” when purchasing a home.

As California transitions to more sustainable energy, homeowners can cash in using rebates. Come tax season you can even claim a credit on your taxes for some qualified energy efficiency improvements on your home.

Where to start? With some human behavior changes, and the less expensive modifications:

  • Audit your energy use, and cut out obvious waste of power, or water
  • Swap your incandescent light bulbs for LED lights
  • Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks
  • Make sure walls, attics, basements, chimneys and air ducts are properly insulated and sealed

Then when it’s a time for a change, choose energy-certified appliances:

  • Change your water heater and space heaters to electric heat pump models (this can also result in free air conditioning) or other electric solutions
  • Replace your gas appliances such as your stove to induction cooktop and induction oven, and fireplace insert and gas dryer with electric models

As your budget allows, consider the larger-ticket items:

  • Upgrade to renewable energy by installing solar panels or investing in wind power. But don’t wait too long on this one: through 2022 you get a 26% ITC (investment tax credit) for installing solar. Need a new roof too: do it at the same time. If the roof under those panels had to be replaced, that cost should be deductible too. Consult your tax advisor!
  • Switch out your vehicle for a plug-in electric vehicle
  • Install high-efficiency windows

By electrifying your home and vehicle, your carbon footprint can decrease by 60% or more.

Moving your property to all-electric not only allows you to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, but you’re also helping to build a sustainable future while helping out your checkbook, too. And you will provide your family with much cleaner indoor air quality!

Reach out if you need any advice getting started on making this transition. I’ve just completed the solar process, after doing (too much?) research! And I’m proud that the Climate Action Committee I chair is one of the sponsors of the Green Home Tour. Hoping it will be both educational and enjoyable!


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 I answered the question for the SoundOff! section of SF Gate for Sunday, January 17th. Here is a somewhat expanded response:

In a word, most buyers simply want MORE than pre-pandemic, and the following trends are expected to continue:

  1. More space within the home: With families spending most of their time at home, they want more space, and more separation of space within the family for home classrooms or offices. Everyone wants their own Zoom room! Those open floor plans that were so popular a while ago? Not so much now. Big kitchens are increasingly valued as folks improve their cooking skills!
  2. More separation from strangers to stay safe. Common areas in condos are now less desirable, as are dependence on elevators. Shared pools and exercise rooms, normally an asset, are largely closed or restricted right now. This could change as vaccines become widespread.
  3. More outdoor space. Areas for outdoor dining, safe exercise, and socially-distanced gatherings will continue to be in demand. Victory gardens have returned: space for growing edibles, even raising chickens. Swimming pools, previously considered expensive white elephants in our temperate climate, are now valued.
  4. More affordable options. With so many employers extending work-from-home indefinitely, many buyers, especially tech workers as well as retirees, are looking to move to less expensive areas of California, if not to other states. Families who are pulling together multiple generations and moving to either rural areas, or moving out of state to form family compounds. I’ve helped two families relocate to Texas in the past few months. But for many of us, this beautiful Bay Area is still too special to leave!

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Surprises Aplenty in the 2020 Real Estate Market!

December 30, 2020

Surprises were commonplace in this most uncommon year. One of the first major surprises was just how quickly the real estate market transitioned from on-hold in March, to a very active market as soon as we were declared an “essential service” the beginning of April. I’m grateful for the few buyers of mine who were […]

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FOCUS ON GIVING THANKS for Thanksgiving 2020!

November 19, 2020

Next week instead of large gatherings with many family members and an enormous roasted bird, lots of us will have just immediate family members at our table. So instead of big production meals, we can focus on what really matters: being part of a community, and giving thanks for the friends, family members and for […]

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Follow the Good Witch, and have a Green Halloween!

October 14, 2020

I have always loved Hallowwen, and Halloween 2020 will definitely be one for the books! With the concurrence of  daylight saving time, a full moon, a blue moon, the American Day of the Dead and on a Saturday no less, there is much to be entertained by, observe and celebrate! Even in our new reality […]

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How the recent fires have impacted our Real Estate market

October 9, 2020

With anxiety already high from the pandemic and the election, the fires became the final straw for some clients who now plan to leave the state, or at least leave the highest fire-risk areas of California. Others were only temporarily dissuaded from looking at properties during periods of extremely bad air quality. And many, while expressing […]

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How Open Houses and Property Showings have Changed since Shelter-in-place

July 12, 2020

For the June 30th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Sound Off column, this was my contribution, plus some additional comments: With in-person open homes still prohibited in the East Bay, agents are instead scheduling Virtual Open Houses, advertised at set times. Instagram Live, FaceBook Live and Zoom are all platforms in use for these […]

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Advantages to First-Time Buyers while we Shelter in Place

May 30, 2020

I was asked to respond to the following question by our publicists, Lion and Orb, and thought I’d share my (lengthy…) response with everyone. Most of the answers really apply to all buyers right now.  What are some ways the pandemic could make it an easier time to buy for first-time buyers? What factors will […]

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Celebrating Earth Day, the 2020 at-home version

April 21, 2020

Honoring the Earth as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! The Earth has responded to the Great Lull with clearer air, cleaner waters, and the return of many kinds of wildlife. While we can’t gather physically together, there are many wonderful ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday by taking care of ourselves, each […]

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Museums, Aquaria and Zoos to Virtually Visit while Sheltering in Place

April 16, 2020

Museums, aquaria and zoos from around the world have opened their collections to enjoy online, in tours and interviews, both in video and streaming live. The Louvre: You don’t have to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world’s largest art museum. The Louvre has free online tours of three […]

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