Caruso Never Sleeps ~ Change in Seasons means Change in…


Fall is now officially in full swing and that means its time to adjust the way we use water. Most plants go dormant in fall and winter and require far less water than in spring and summer when they are active. So even as warm weather continues, now is the time to save water and money by reducing your irrigation.

 

The months of October, November and December are when Southern California typically waste most water. That is because plants require roughly 70 percent less water during this period, but many mistake the seemingly summertime weather as a call to continue their summertime watering schedules. Over watering is common in fall not just because of the warm weather, but also because many plants will look wilted or brown as they enter their dormancy. But beware; dormant plants should not be over watered.

 

Adjusting your water use with the seasons is a great way to ensure you stay within the personalized water budget for your property. Before watering your lawn or plants this fall, dig a hold two to three inches deep and check for moisture. If the soil is damp, turn off your sprinklers or put away your hose. Continue to check every few days until you find dry soil. Frequently checking soil will help you reset your sprinkler schedule. As the rains start the frequency should be changed again as Mother Nature will be doing the bulk of the watering for you. You can also replace your standard sprinkler timer with a smart timer that automatically adjusts your watering schedule with changing weather conditions.

 

 

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.     

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

 

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Speechless Sunday – Rock-n-Roll


Rock’n…

Roll… 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection. www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards, Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors

(949) 753-7900

Going Green at Home with Caruso!


With summer just around the corner, and temperatures heating up this is the time for conservation and thinking GREEN.  There are lots of ways you can contribute to making our Earth a better place to live. However, have you thought about how to make your home GREEN? To help you get started I provided you with some tips to having a GREEN home.

The first and probably most important one during the summer is to reduce air conditioning use! Air conditioning, whether a central system or an in-window unit uses tons of energy, so by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut, and closing shades during the day you are already helping the earth. Also you can add Energy Efficient Windows which will not only reduce the heat inside your home during the warmer months but will also help to keep the heat during the cooler months. Another thing I recommend, especially if you are up-grading your home is to look for and buy Energy Star Appliances. Significantly more energy efficient, Energy Star Appliances save you money by using less electricity and water than other appliances. Solar panels can also be a great investment when trying to make your home more green. Not only does it save you money but also increases the value of your property!

If you feel like you can’t utilize those tips mentioned above here are some very easy ways to go green around your home. Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator! Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) and save 75% of lighting costs. Manage the power on all computers and ensure that they are turned off every night. Note: Laptops use 90% more energy than most desktop computers. When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.

Taking simple steps like switching to CFL light bulbs, energy star appliances, turning off electronics when not in use and making sure your windows, doors, and insulation are keeping your energy inside can make a huge difference in your energy usage at home.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.     

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Caruso’s Earth Day Facts!


 

Did You Know that its Earth Day?

Here are some Earth Day Facts & Figures about Celebrating and Saving Mother Earth!!

Did you know that the first Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970? At the time, 20 million people got in on the celebration. In 2000, 500 million celebrated Earth Day. In 2009, over 1 billion people in 175 countries around the world will participate in Earth Day celebrations.

Did you know that the Earth’s population has grown faster since 1950 than over the previous four million years combined? Today, there are 6.5 billion people living on the planet, with another 74 million people are added every year. Yet just two hundred years ago, there were barely 1 billion people on Planet Earth. The term “population explosion” seems like a ridiculous understatement.

Did you know that greenhouse gas emissions in the United States increased 75 percent between 1970 and 2005? A large part of the problem is the more the doubling of cars and trucks on the road during that same period. Vehicles account for more than half of our air pollution today, even though cars are 20 times more fuel-efficient than they were in the 1970s.

Did you know that the overall rate of recycling in the United States today stands at approximately 28%? That’s double what it was a decade ago. By contrast, Austrians recycle fully 60% of their post-consumption waste products. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has a recycling rate just above 17% and Greece pulls up the European Union rear with an abysmal 10%.

Did you know that recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb lit for four hours? Recycling glass uses 40% less energy than making new glass from virgin materials. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and never loses any of its quality.

Did you know that if everyone on Planet Earth lived the way Americans do, we would need 5.3 planets to sustain ourselves? Americans comprise just 5% of the Earth’s population, but we produce over 40% of the world’s waste. Do you know what your carbon footprint is?

Did you know that Americans recycle 53.4% of the paper products we consume? Even still, Americans throw away an average of 600 pounds of paper per person every year. Recycling just one four foot stack of newspapers is enough to save one 40-foot fir tree.

Did you know that Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every single hour? Eight out of 10 of them will end up in a landfill, despite the fact that 63% of American communities now have plastic bottle recycling. It takes 700 years for a plastic bottle to begin to decompose in a landfill.

Did you know that Americans consume enough plastic film every year to shrink-wrap the state of Texas? Less than 10% of communities accept Saran wrap-type plastic for recycling.

Did you know that up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used in America every single year? That’s one million bags per minute or 326 plastic bags per person per year. Less than 20% of those bags make it to a recycling center.

Did you know that Americans use well over 2 billion gallons of oil each year to produce its plastic bags? In 2001, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags and saw a 90% reduction in their consumption. San Francisco recently passed a ban on plastic bags.

Did you know that the process of bottling water is ironically water-intensive? It takes three liters of water to produce just one liter of bottled water. Americans drank 31.2 billion liters of bottled water last year.

Did you know that Americans recycle more than 65% of their aluminum containers? And yet, we still throw away enough beer and soda cans every three months to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial air fleet? Recycling aluminum is incredibly energy efficient — it uses 5% of the energy that making a new can from virgin materials does.

Did you know that 100 acres of Amazon Rain Forest are being cut down every minute? Continued deforestation, combined with global warming, will lead to the irreversible destruction of up to 80% of the rain forest over the next 21 years. The loss of the Amazon will rapidly accelerate global warming in countries as far away as India.

Did you know that one in every four mammals faces the threat of extinction? The world has so far lost 68 animal species, including the “Dodo” bird, the Tasmanian wolf and the Caspian tiger. In fact, all great cats currently face mortal risk. Less than half a century ago, there were 100,000 tigers roaming our planet; today, fewer than 5,000 are still alive in the wild.

Did you know:
The average residential solar system will save the equivalent of:

  • 244,000 lbs of CO2 a leading cause of global climate change
  •  168 lbs of NOx, a leading cause of smog
  • 42 lbs of SO2, a leading cause of acid rain
  • 49 lbs of particulates, a leading cause of asthma
  • Driving a Car 267,000 Miles
  • CO2 Absorbed by 116 Trees
  • 82,000 Gallons of Water Used to Make Electricity

 And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

The GREEN MLS


In light of Earth Day after much collaboration with several MLS partners, Association Executives, REALTORS, and other organizations; the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS and the Green REsource Council is proud to announce the launch of the new Green MLS Tool Kit Web site. 

Check it out at www.GreentheMLS.org.

The Web site is a free guide for everyone interested in adopting green initiatives for their MLS system. Learn why it is important to add and track green features in your local MLS even if your area has yet to see an increase in green development.

The tool kit offers:

  • case studies
  • examples of green data entry forms
  • recommendations for successful implementation, and much more

In developing the tool kit, they interviewed many green MLS system operators. They all had a unique approach to their data entry forms, communication, and implementation process; however there was one common element to them all…REALTORS spearheading the effort. This is your opportunity to create a green initiative at your MLS or become part of the implementation team.

A good place to start off is by reading the Welcome message on the home page of GreentheMLS.org. Next, let your MLS committee or MLS operator know about the website. Remember, this process should be a collaborative effort with many industry professionals, including working with fellow NAR Green Designees and Ecobrokers.

Have fun and GO GREEN!

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

TIME FOR A LITTLE SPRING GREENING!


Clean GREEN This Spring! (edit/delete)

 According to:  Green Genius Guru @ MMPI

TIME FOR A LITTLE SPRING GREENING!

Spring has sprung, and Green Genius knows that means it’s time for a little spring cleaning.  Follow these easy tips and recipes to keep your cleaning green!

Start by PRE-cleaning!
–          REDUCE the amount you have to clean by going through the closets, drawers, and shelves where clutter lives.  Chances are there are a few shirts with the tags still on or books you read years ago and haven’t picked up since… Donate them!

–          REUSE what you find in the spring cleaning process!  Your stock pile of old shopping bags can help you reorganize your closet, and you can cut down on waste by cleaning with those old towels rather than paper towels.  

–          RECYCLE stacks of magazines and old electronics.
Make a green cleaning kit

           Homemade, non-toxic cleaners will save cash, the environment, and your health!  Follow these easy recipes to start cleaning greener today.

–          ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER
o        ½ tsp washing soda (available at most hardware stores) OR 2½ tsp borax
o        1 – 2 drops of liquid soap
o        2 cups hot water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake until washing soda/borax dissolves.  Add a few drops of essential oils for a bit of aromatic grime fighting!  Bonus: Lavender and tea-tree oils are also natural antiseptics.
 
–          GLASS CLEANER
o       ¼ – ½ tsp liquid soap
o       3 tbsp vinegar
o       2 cups water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake.  Bonus: The soap in this recipe will cut the wax residue left behind by commercial cleaners you may have used before, letting even more sunshine through your windows!
 
–          SOFT SCRUB
o        ½ cup baking soda
o        Enough liquid soap to create a mixture the consistency of cake frosting
This recipe is perfect for cleaning your bathtub – it rinses easily and will not leave grit.  Tip: Add 1 tsp vegetable glycerin and store in a glass jar to make the scrub last.  Otherwise, only make as much as you need each time.
 Go Green!!!

 And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.      www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI     

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Going Green with Caruso


 

The Green REsource Council teamed up with a number of green industry groups and real estate associations earlier this year and developed guidelines and a tool kit to help MLSs green their systems.

Al Medina, during the March Webinar, talked about how the “Green MLS Tool Kit” emerged, discussed the importance of a green MLS, and outlined the key components of the toolkit, along with strategies for launching a green MLS program.

“This came about because of a need in marketplace. Not only our members, but builders and appraisers as well have been asking for it,” commented Medina, the director of the National Association of REALTORS’® Green Designation “It’s not a mandate for MLSs, but a free tool for MLSs that are ready to go through the process,” he emphasized. In addition, he pointed out that the toolkit was a collaborative effort with numerous organizations and an industry-wide initiative, not a solo act by the GRC. After all a green MLS benefits everyone.

Consumers looking for green homes, for example, can locate properties with green features quickly in an MLS that highlights sustainable features.

MLS participants have an easier time locating green properties for home buyers and best promoting green homes for home sellers.
 
Appraisers can use a green MLS to better value properties with green features.

In addition, builders have an incentive to build green when they see that green homes are in demand and are selling. And being able to quantify the return on green investments and having a stronger method to market green properties also can motivate more people to go green. Thus, a green MLS can contribute to a better environment in the long term.

The MLS Toolkit offers recommendations for navigating everything from the approval process and developing green data entry forms to localizing the MLS to a particular region.

It also includes links to information, examples of MLS greening successes, and ways to plan, roll out and promote a green MLS. 

Here are some key aspects of the toolkit, including:

  • Case studies–Entails write-ups of various ways that MLSs have gone green and the challenges that participants encountered. “The common element among them all was that realtors® were the ones who spearheaded the effort,” said Medina. He pointed out that those with the GREEN designation can be the ones in a community to organize an effort to green the MLS.
  • Snapshot of the Green Home Industry–Includes statistics, along with questions and answers about green homes.
  • Why an MLS with Green Fields— Outlines the social and economic demand for greater efficiency and the ways that a green MLS benefits everyone involved in a home transaction.
  • Recommendations for a Successful Green Program–Offers strategies for establishing goals and objectives for greening the MLS, assembling a team and cooperating with other green organizations and professionals.
  • Green Home Certifications–Addresses incorporating green home certification programs, such as LEED® for Homes, Energy Star® and NAHB Green, the legal concerns that can ensue after any change to the MLS data. It also illustrates how to best deploy and promote a green MLS and educate users.
  • Recommendations for Data Entry Forms–Outlines various strategies for representing green in an MLS in ways that make it simple for users to search for specific efficiencies. It also makes suggestions about avoiding the legal pitfalls and risks of overstating a home’s greenness and avoiding green washing.
  • Green MLS Data Entry Form Examples–Offers specific ways to express green features in the MLS. Examples include intermingling green attributes with other attributes and using color to highlight green features.
  • Glossary of Terms

For those committed to green real estate, a green MLS can help in marketing and selling sustainable properties and making a case for the value of green. For example, practitioners in Atlanta discovered that green-certified homes sold more quickly and closer to list price than non-certified homes. Without a green MLS, tracking such data either would have been more difficult or wouldn’t have been possible.
 
He also made the point that residential real estate is changing and though short sales and foreclosure are dominating many markets, green soon will gain prominence. Those with NAR’s GREEN designation will have a leg-up when that change happens, and he encouraged practitioners to get involved in any MLS greening efforts that emerge in their cities.

The toolkit will be rolled out and promoted in the coming weeks and you’ll see an array of marketing blitzes through the media, e-mail and social media. All NAR Green Designees will be notified when your MLS receives this Tool Kit. You can see a preview of the toolkit at the GRC website.

 And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

 Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

For more information please visit http://greenresourcecouncil.org