8 Mar 2018

Hempcrete: A Promising Building Material

The Cement Industry is One of the Primary Producers of Carbon Dioxide The cement industry is one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. The primary production of conventional concrete has a footprint of 456 to 689 pounds of carbon dioxide per 1.3 cubic yards One interesting alternative is hempcrete. JustBioFiber, a hemp-based modular block supplier, reports that its product sequesters 243 to 287 pounds of carbon dioxide per 1.3 cubic yards,

6 Feb 2018

Mapping Air Pollution on Your Block

If we could see air pollution, would we be more proactive about combatting it? As more comprehensive data on air and possibly other types of pollution are captured and viewed by millions of people, what will be the implications for real estate decision making? In the future could property-pricing take air pollution measurements into account? Would this motivate entire neighborhoods to proactively combat air pollution? Read about advancements in air-pollution measuring and visualizing technology in this article.

20 Sep 2017

Buying Property In the Coastal Zone

  Santa Cruz County  Zone Map:   The California coast is a unique treasure loved by locals and visitors alike. To protect California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations, citizens came together in 1972 to enact the The California Coastal Conservation Initiative. Through this initiative, the Coastal Commission came into being. Four years later, the State Legislature enacted the California Coastal Act, which is the primary law that governs the decisions of the Coastal

9 Mar 2017

Changing Energy Codes to Increase Energy Savings

Did you know that new 2016 Residential Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Standards) are now being enforced and California is expecting to see 28% more energy savings in regulated loads* than those built under the 2013 Energy Standards? *an electrical load is an electrical component or portion of a circuit that consumes electric power Having energy efficient buildings: Reduces energy costs. Increases reliability and availability of electricity. Improves building occupant comfort and reduces impact to the environment. Energy efficiency requires

28 Feb 2017

Changing ADU Laws in Santa Cruz

In response to our state's housing shortage, Governor Brown has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1069, which will make it easier, and for some, less expensive to develop Additional Dwelling Unit's (ADU's). SB 1069 will require local governing bodies to loosen ADU regulation. Both Santa Cruz County and City have amended their ADU related ordinances. We report on major ordinance changes that the city has publicized. We also summarize County ordinance changes, which are still contingent on Coastal Commission

9 Sep 2016

Rising Sea Levels – Local Consequences

With man-made climate change being widely accepted by the scientific community, the question is no longer "if" but "when" our communities will be affected by these large-scale changes in the environment. The Pacific Institute has recently released an interactive map that projects to 2100 and identifies at-risk areas in the event of a major flood or from erosion, with both scenarios dependent on a ~4.6 ft sea-level rise. Read more about the study conducted here and see the actual

16 Aug 2016

Zero Energy (Net-Zero) Homes

In simplest terms, a zero net energy home is a building that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. With Federal and Statewide initiatives in place, it is very likely that more energy efficient and net-zero homes will become a new norm in the near future.   Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) has coined the term “Zero Energy Ready Home” which is identified as a home