Save energy at home to leave more green in your pocket!

Realtor View by Chaille Ralph Many consumers are mindful of the environment when making purchases these days. Look at the popularity of hybrid vehicles, alternative fuels, locally grown produce and a host of other products designed to use fewer resources and reduce pollution and waste. Housing definitely is on that list. You don’t think of houses being responsible for carbon emissions, but they are – to a significant degree. The energy used for heating, cooling, appliances and lighting most likely comes from a source that produces carbon emissions. Other factors, such as water use and building materials used to construct or remodel a home, can affect the environment significantly. You might think the best way to “go green” in housing is to start from scratch. And it’s true. If you’re building a new, custom home, you can make decisions that will increase energy and water efficiency greatly. You can select the most environmentally friendly building materials and construction methods. But if you’re not building a new home, there’s no need to throw up your hands. There’s still plenty you can do to make a difference. When looking to purchase an existing house, it’s possible to assess some aspects of its energy use. How old is the air conditioning unit? Does the landscaping consist of native plants? You might be able to secure energy bills from the current owner to review electricity and water usage (keep in mind your usage may vary considerably). You can hire a professional to determine how energy efficient or inefficient a home may be. Whether purchasing a home or wanting to make the best of the house you own, there are many steps you can take to improve energy efficiency. Here are some examples: Install rain barrels to collect roof runoff and use that water for irrigation. Replace water-thirsty plants with landscaping that requires little additional irrigation. Replace old windows with energy-efficient windows. Seal air leaks around windows, doors and other areas that may have gaps. Seal air ducts. Install additional installation. Replace appliances with newer models that have earned EPA‘s Energy Star designation. Replace heating and cooling units. Replace the water heater with a more efficient model. Change out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. You probably know efforts such as these offer benefits beyond helping the environment. They also save money. Yes, you pay more on the front end to make improvements such as those listed, but each one of them reduces your expenses – often paying for itself in short order. As energy costs continue to rise, the more you can do to cut consumption, the more it pays off. Be informed You can find information online about how to lower your energy consumption...

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O Christmas Tree! Get Out To The Farm and Find A Tree!

O Christmas Tree!  Get Out To The Farm and Find A Tree!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is open season for Christmas Trees!  If you are looking to purchase a live tree this year, here are some spots around town to consider: Elgin Christmas Tree Farm 120 Nature’s Way Elgin, TX Opening Friday, November 29, 2013 10:00 am-5:30 pm (Mon-Wed) 10:00 am – 8:30 pm (Thurs & Fri) 10:00 am – 5:30 pm Saturday More information at http://www.elginchristmastreefarm.com. Evergreen Tree Farm 242 Monkey Road Elgin, TX Opening Friday, November 29, 2013 at 10 am 12:00 pm – dark (Mon-Fri) 10:00 am – dark Saturday 12:00 pm – dark Sunday More information at http://www.evergreen-farms.com Austin Optimist Club San Gabriel & North Lamar (2813 San Gabriel) Opening Friday, November 29, 2013 1pm-5pm (Mon-Fri)  9am – 9pm (Sat & Sun) More information at http://www.austinoptimistclub.org Montana Fresh Two Austin Locations: St. Louis Catholic Church (7601 N Burnet Rd) Zinger Hardware (400 N. Lamar) 11am – 9 pm (Mon-Fri)  9am – 9pm (Sat & Sun) More information at http://montanafresh.net McIntire’s Garden Center – Georgetown 303 Leander Rd, Georgetown, TX 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (Mon-Sat) 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (Sun) More information at http://mcintiresgarden.com Round Rock Gardens 901 Sam Bass Rd Round Rock, TX 9:00 am -7:00 pm (Mon-Thurs) 8:00 am – 8:00 pm (Fri & Sat) 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (Sun) Papa Noel Six Austin Locations: – Lakeline Blvd & Lake Creek Pkwy (512-799-9929) – 7806 North Loop 360 (512-784-9933) – 1905 South Loop 360 (512-784-9818) – 6420 US Hwy 290 West (512-784-9894) – 3595 RR 620 South (512-784-9990) – Mopac & 2222 (512-799-9905) More information...

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Steiner Ranch Holiday Event – November 2013

Beautiful Serving Stones sponsored by NEST Properties Austin and graciously crafted by Tom Henry! 100% of proceeds go to the Steiner Serves charity of the month – CASA (http://www.casatravis.org).  With the generous donations made, we’re assisting CASA in ensuring that the 1,000+ children in Foster Care receive at least one holiday gift this season.  And thanks to those who purchased the Steiner Serving Stones, an additional 17 children will receive holiday gifts on behalf of the Steiner Ranch community. Amazing! These stones will continue to be available at Cups and Cones and Hue Salon in Steiner Ranch through the holidays.  They make a GREAT gift and it’s a wonderful way to give back to the community!  Thank you for ALL of your support and generosity!...

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