Eco-Tourism No Longer For Just The Rich And Fashionable

Like other parts of the travel industry, eco-tourism was hammered by the global recession —but it’s on the comeback trail, as operators expand beyond the traditional high-end core market.

Cuzco, Peru
Source: Gap Adventures
Cuzco, Peru

While luxury has been a hallmark of this niche market, as in other industries, the growing interest in sustainability means a wider clientele.

«Eco-tourism is such a broad and often misleading term, which can encompass everything from a conservation-based adventure travel program to vacations in high-end luxury hotels that use recycled toilet paper and avoid washing towels every day,» says Jason Halal, manager of Sierra Club Outings. «One thing is for sure — travel companies and services are all beefing up their eco credentials in order to attract the rising number of customers seeking a ‘green’ experience.”

Though industry-wide sales data are unavailable, the U.S. Commerce Department tracks some travelers.

“The share of travelers who participated in an environmental/ecological excursion has picked up,” says Ron Erdmann, Director of Research at the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries.

Annual surveys of Americans headed abroad show eco-travelers accounted for 5.8 percent of the traffic in 2009, up from 5.6 percent in the previous year, but down from 6.3 percent in 2007.

This industry is about much more than luxury bungalows or tents in pristine locations with carbon neutral operations.

“Sustainability is at the forefront of our business model because of customer demand,» says GAP Adventures CEO, Bruce Poon Tip.

Tip says revenue grew 42 percent between 2008-2010, despite the global downturn, surpassing $150 million.

He attributes the growth to the company’s ability to add a younger demographic to its core market of 30- to 50-year-olds. For instance, Gap Adventures offers “Yolo” for “You Only Live Once” Tours. For 12 days, 18- to 30-somethings go to remote locations at a cost of $1,000-$1,500.

GAP Adventure tours use small-scale lodging, local transportation, and locally owned businesses, because the goal is to stimulate local economies.

«A true sustainability model is about engaging local communities and the traveler, and delivers on the needs of both,» says Tip, who cites a 2010 United Nations Environment Programme report that only $5 of every $100 spent on vacation remains in the country. «This obviously is a massive problem. We try to keep tourism dollars in the home country.”

Costa Rica remains the market giant.

According to the Costa Rica Tourism Board, ICT, approximately 49 percent of 2 million visitors who flew into Costa Rica in 2010 participated in eco-tourism activities during their stay. Ecotourism revenue was close to $1 billion.

“We protect 1,000 acres,” says Nazme Abouomar, manager at Lapa Rios, a so-called ecolodge and wildlife preserve in the country.“Tourism is one of the main economic drivers for Costa Rica,» says Maria Amalia Revelo, Deputy Manager and Marketing Director for the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

One of the most successful Eco Lodges in Costa Rica, Lapa Rios was named by National Geographic as one of the most earth-friendly retreats and holds a “5-Leaf” rating — the highest sustainability certificate from the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program. Depending on the season, a room at Lapa Rios ranges from $210 to $600 per night.

“We are the hotel with the highest occupancy in the area, the Osa Peninsula,» says Abouomar. «We were hurt by the recession. Three and four years ago, we had 99 percent occupancy; now we’re picking up at between 55 and 66 percent.”

Another mainstream option is the Sierra Club, whose eco-trip business was hit hard by the recession.

The organization offers trips ranging from wilderness backpacking to lodge-based adventures. Prices start from $325 for a service trip to $8,345 for a cruise to Iceland, Norway, and Greenland fjords. Over half of the trips are below $1,000. Destinations include the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Nepal, Bhutan and Patagonia, Chile.

«The last year and a half saw an improvement in domestic trip sign-ups and there’s even been a slight uptick in international, which I would attribute to a growing sense of improvement in the economy,» says Tony Rango, director of the club’s national outings program.

The Sierra Club has 331 trips booked for this year, more than the partial-crisis year of 2008.

“We rebounded quite a bit in 2010, and we’re looking pretty good in 2011,» says manager Jason Halal.

Those in the market for high-end sustainability can try the safari service Roar Africa, known for environmentally responsible luxury travel.

CEO Deborah Calmeyer says her clients often spend up to $30,000 per person to have a customized, environmentally friendly African adventure.

“We have doubled our business year on year since opening in 2005,» says Calmeyer. «While many people held back on travel and the eco-tourism industry struggled, our revenues doubled between 2009 and 2010.”

Calmeyer declined to reveal revenue and trip data.

Roar Africa Luxury
Source: Roar Africa
Roar Africa Luxury

Roar Africa partners with Singita Game Reserves in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Singita is a tourism operation whose purpose is to conserve the land and its resident wildlife. Among other operations, it runs an antipoaching program.

Like other sectors of the travel industry, eco-tourism has attracted a big name or two.

AOL founder Steve Case began work on Cacique, a $800 million, 650-acre resort in Costa Rica, but the project was sidelined by the global recession.

The resort has a new option for the sustainability crowd. In addition to the 270 guest rooms, there are plans for 300 private homes.

Case worked with the Costa Rican government to establish a recycling and solid waste management program to neutralize the impact of the resort on the environment. Cacique’s design features on-site treatment facilities to re-use wastewater and plans to purchase its electrical power from renewable sources.

That may be more than enough for some, especially those simply looking for a feel-good trip.

«More and more travelers want to have a positive impact associated with their tourist dollars,» says Brian Mullis, CEO of Sustainable Travel International.


Autor: Staff

Fecha: 17/05/11

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General Motors abrirá en 2013 una planta de motores eléctricos

El grupo automovilístico General Motors iniciará en 2013 la actividad productiva de su nueva planta de Baltimore, en el Estado de Maryland (Estados Unidos), que se dedicará a la fabricación de motores eléctricos, informó la compañía, que realizará una inversión de 268,5 millones de dólares (191,1 millones de euros al cambio actual) en este proyecto.

General Motors subrayó que este centro productivo será el primero de un gran fabricante de automóviles en Estados Unidos dedicado a la producción de componentes críticos para la electrificación de los vehículos. La empresa indicó que el diseño y fabricación del motor eléctrico representa una parte «clave» de su negocio en el desarrollo y fabricación de coches eléctricos enchufables e híbridos.

«Creemos que el futuro del transporte sostenible debe pasar por los vehículos y esta fábrica nos ayudará a mantener la posición de liderazgo dentro de esta categoría», explicó el vicepresidente de Energía, Medio Ambiente y Política de Seguridad del grupo, Mike Robinson.

La compañía señaló que este centro de producción tendrá un suministro energético que procederá, en parte, de una planta fotovoltáica que tendrá una potencia de 1,23 megavatios, lo que supondrá el 9% de la demanda total de energía de la planta y permitirá ahorrar 330.000 dólares (234.042 euros) a lo largo de la duración del proyecto.

En este sentido, Robinson afirmó que al aprovechar la energía generada por esta planta fotovoltáica, su compañía dejará de emitir 1,1 toneladas de CO2 al año, el equivalente a las emisiones de 216 automóviles.

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Autor: Ecoticias

Fecha: 17/05/11

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Vientos de cambio en la producción mundial de electricidad

Cerca de la mitad de todas las nuevas centrales energéticas en el mundo producen electricidad a partir de energías renovables, y la más barata de ellas es la energía eólica.

En todo el mundo se instalaron el año pasado centrales eólicas, que utilizan el viento como energía básica para producir energía eléctrica, con un rendimiento total de cerca de 38.000 megavatios, según informa la Asociación Mundial de Energía Eólica (WWEA por sus siglas en inglés). De acuerdo con esos datos, la producción mundial de energía eólica llegó a fines de 2010 a casi 200.000 megavatios, lo cual corresponde al rendimiento de cerca de 200 centrales atómicas y a un porcentaje de la producción de electricidad en todo el mundo de un 2,5 por ciento.

El mayor boom de la energía eólica se está produciendo sobre todo en China. Más de la mitad de los aerogeneradores nuevos en el mundo se instalaron en ese país, con lo cual China resulta ser el mayor productor de electricidad eólica del mundo. Con un rendimiento de 45.000 megavatios, China desplazó del primer lugar a EE. UU. Europa, por su parte, va a la delantera como continente con un rendimiento de 86.000 megavatios proveniente de aerogeneradores, y más de la mitad de la energía eólica se produce en Alemania y España. Por el momento, África y América Latina aún no sacan suficiente provecho del auge del viento como productor de electricidad.

El viento se convierte en el recurso energético líder

En Europa, ela energía eólica aporta ya un importante porcentaje de la electricidad. Según la WWEA, en Dinamarca ya se cubre la demanda de electricidad en un 21 por ciento a través de la energía eólica. En Portugal y en España, en un 18 y en un 16 por ciento. En Alemania, el porcentaje es de un nueve por ciento y, según pronósticos, será de un 20 a un 25 por ciento dentro de 10 años, es decir, en 2021.

La energía eólica no sólo es rentable, sino también de bajo impacto ambiental. Pero, sobre todo, es la forma más barata de producir electricidad en tierra, ya que cuesta actualmente entre 5 y 9 centavos de euro por kilovatio-hora (kWh). En comparación, la electricidad producida en centrales nucleares cuesta, sin tener en cuenta los riesgos y costos por daños y depósito final, más de 20 centavos de euro por kWh.

Y los costos para producir energía eólica siguen bajando, ya que la tecnología es cada vez más eficiente y los aerogeneradores son cada vez más baratos debido a la producción en masa y a la competencia. Se calcula que dentro de 20 años la electricidad producida por el viento costará casi sólo la mitad de lo que cuesta hoy. Esto es una buena perspectiva para los más de 1.600 millones de personas que viven sin conexión eléctrica en el mundo.

Los parques eólicos off shore no son, como se cree, tan eficientes, y su participación en el mercado mundial de energía eólica es sólo del 3 por ciento. El precio de la energía eólica generada en aerogeneradores en el mar dobla al obtenido en tierra.

China, líder mundial en energía eólica

China es un gran consumidor de energía, y muchas regiones de ese país incluso no cuentan todavía con abastecimiento eléctrico. La energía eólica es un recurso limpio y su precio es bajo, y, además, crea nuevos puestos de trabajo, razones por las cuales se produce un auge eólico en Asia. Y dentro de Asia, China lidera los volúmenes de generación con sus 45.000 megavatios de producción eléctrica basada en el viento a fines de 2010.

India también apuesta, por su parte, a la fuerza eólica, pero su crecimiento fue, en comparación con China, ‘sólo’ del 11 por ciento en 2010. En Japón, las centrales atómicas sucumbieron ante la mayor catástrofe que afectó a ese país desde la II Guerra Mundial, mientras sólo un parque eólico sufrió daños. Argumento suficiente para que un país como Japón se interese por cambiar centrales atómicas por centrales eólicas, piensa Chuichi Arakawa, profesor de la Universidad de Tokio.

Lobbys y pobreza frenan desarrollo eólico en Latinoamérica

En años anteriores, la energía eólica también se desarrolló sólidamente en EE. UU. A fines de 2006 se producían sólo 13.000 megavatios, y, cuatro años más tarde, las centrales eólicas ya tenían un rendimiento 40.000 megavatios.

En Sudamérica, en cambio, se le da poca importancia a la energía eólica, a pesar de que el subcontinente cuenta con grandes posibilidades en cuanto a vientos. Hasta ahora, allí sólo se producen 2.000 megavatios eólicos en total. Las razones para el desperdicio de recursos son múltiples, estima Stefan Gsänger, director ejecutivo de la WWEA. Entre ellos está la falta de un marco político que favorezca el aprovechamiento de ese recurso, y, en muchos países, la financiación sigue siendo un gran problema. Además, los lobbyístas de las grandes empresas productoras de electricidad tratan de evitar el desarrollo de la industria eólica. Y en los países petroleros tampoco se ve con buenos ojos a la energía eólica.

África: ¿microcréditos para centrales eólicas?

Paradójicamente, sobre todo en los países más pobres de África parece no dársele ninguna importancia a la energía eólica. El gran problema es aquí la financiación. A menudo faltan redes eléctricas. En algunos países, un 90 por ciento de la población carece de abastecimiento eléctrico, razón demás para pensar en la construcción de pequeñas centrales locales que podrían financiarse a través de microcréditos.

En el marco de la Conferencia sobre el Cambio Climático de Naciones Unidas, la WWEA se ocupa de crear instrumentos de financiación, como los microcréditos, para que familias y pueblos enteros puedan construir centrales eólicas a pequeña escala y abastecerse de electricidad, además de pagar los créditos. Un ejemplo de este modelo de desarrollo es el del Banco Grameen de Bangladesh.

Autor: Gero Rueter/ Cristina Papaleo

Editor: Pablo Kummetz

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Autor: Ecoticias

Fecha: 17/05/11

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Green Homes in Las Vegas Generate As Much Energy As Homeowners Use

Coming on the heels of the launch last month of “Extreme Green” homes that spare homeowners of up to 50 percent on their utility bills, U.S. based homebuilder Meritage Homes has unveiled its “net-zero” homes in Las Vegas that can generate as much energy as the homeowners consume.

According to Meritage Homes, thegreen homes are said to embrace the energy-efficiency features that come standard in its “Extreme Green” with full solar solution providing renewable electricity, hot water, and solar air conditioning.

Subsequently, Meritage Homes called the green homes “net-zero” since they can produce as much renewable energy as homeowners use.

This new approach to home construction promotes not only energy-efficiency in the sector but also affordability, according to C.R. Herro, the company’s vice president of Environmental Affairs.

“An affordable net-zero home is not the home of the future anymore – the future is now,” Herro said.

The net-zero homes do not only reduce the monthly electric bills of homebuyers, they also open the opportunity for them to avail of the $9,000 federal tax credit, which makes the green homes more affordable.

Bob Beckett, one of the buyer of the net-zero home built by Meritage Homes in Las Vegas, commented: “My goal was to minimize my utility costs and achieve the highest level of energy efficiency possible.”

At present, there are approximately 100 net-zero homes in USA, Meritage Homes noted. But these are either custom-built to match the price or built with the specifications of the homeowners themselves.

The “net-zero” homes are built at the five communities of Meritage Homes in Northern Terrace and Mountain’s Edge.

According to Herro, the green homes have embraced all of the energy-efficient elements necessary to build the first “net-zero” homes.

The net-zero homes were introduced by Meritage Homes during the national “Net-Zero Revolution Home Sweepstakes” on Earth Day, April 22, with one unit in Arizona being offered as a grand prize.

Green features of the homes include 100 percent ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, ECHO 5640 Solar System, energy-efficient HVAC system, air-tight spray-foam insulation, “smart” controllers for landscape irrigation, thermostats, double low-E vinyl windows, dual-flush actuator toilets and low-flow showers and faucets for water conservation, advanced CFL lighting system, and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpets, paints and other eco-friendly finishes.

Meritage Homes partners with NV Energy through its Advanced Building Techniques (ABT) program to promote sustainable and energy-efficient homes in Nevada.


Autor: William Thomson

Fecha: 17/05/11

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What effect is “going green” having on manufacturing?

Anyone who has shopped at their local grocery store, drug store, or hardware store has seen the variety of “green” products on the market.  Are these “green” products creating new manufacturing jobs?  For the most part, the answer is “no” because they are just more eco-friendly versions of existing products.

Global companies like General Electric, Dupont, Alcoa, and Procter & Gamble are beginning to respond to the simultaneous increases in shipping and environmental costs with “green” policies meant to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon emissions. That pressure is likely to increase as both manufacturers and retailers seek ways to tighten the global supply chain as fuel prices and transportation costs continue to rise.

“Being green is in their best interests not so much in making money as saving money,” said Gary Yohe, an environmental economist at Wesleyan University.  “Green companies are likely to be a permanent trend, as these vulnerabilities continue, but it’s going to take a long time for all this to settle down.”

Pamela Gordon dispels the myth that environmental practices are bad for business in her book “Lean and Green: Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment.”  She presents evidence gathered from organizations around the world that environment protection and a profitable business can go together. Her book outlines four basic steps to creating a lean and green organization and presents stories of how 20 companies have enjoyed greater efficiencies and cost savings by utilizing these steps to pursue environmental leadership.  Many of these companies are leaders in their field – IBM Corporation, Agilent Technologies, ITT Cannon, Intel Corporation, and Apple Computer.  The stories show how companies saved money and increased profitability by utilizing “green” technology and practices.

Since her book was written in 2001, everything related to “green” has become more important because of concerns about “global warning” and acid rain.  “Green” has moved from the fringe to the mainstream of American life.  More and more consumers are choosing to buy “green” products, even when it means paying more for them.  Major corporations are featuring their “green” technology and practices in their advertising campaigns.  Some of the largest and most successful companies are now “greening” how they do business:  Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Electric, Ford, and General Motors.

For example, in August 2008, General Motors announced that it would add a 1.2-megawatt solar power installation to the roof of its transmission assembly plant in White Marsh, Maryland.  The installation generates about 1.4 million kWh of clean renewable solar energy, which is enough to serve the electricity needs of about 145 households.  In addition, the White Marsh plant reached landfill-free status in 2007, because it no longer sends any production waste to local landfills.  All the waste generated at the facility is entirely recycled or reused.10

On November 19, 2008, Hewlett Packard announced three new imaging and printing solutions and the Green IT Action plan, a step-by-sep guide to help companies develop a plan to reduce the environmental impact of printing and imaging.  The new imaging and printing solutions transform paper-based workflows into a seamless electronic process.12

San Diego business consultant and author, Glenn Croston, advises companies small and large on green business strategy and best practices for becoming eco-friendly.  He said, “When people hear the word ‘green,’ they often think this means that something is expensive, hard to do, a luxury, impractical, and only for tree-huggers…In fact, going green often saves money, whether by cutting down on costly gasoline use or by wasting less paper.”  His book, “Greening Your Business on a Budget” presents many low cost ways to go “green.”

At a time when consumer confidence in “made in China” goods is at an all-time low, the opportunity is ripe for American manufacturers to feature how their products are made utilizing “green” manufacturing technologies.  After the debacle of tainted and defective Chinese products, people are willing to pay more for products that are safe and made in an environmentally responsible manner.

Even when businesses are fighting for their survival in the tougher economic times, they are choosing to move forward by going green.  “Indeed, companies would be foolish to abandon their green credentials at the first sign of difficulty,” said Solitaire Townsend, chief executive of Futera Sustainability Communications, which advises companies on their green strategies.  “What is more, companies have much to gain from taking steps to improve their environmental performance. The guiding principles behind behaving in an environmentally sound manner are the same as the principles of thrift and economy.  Using fewer resources is at the core of environmental sustainability, and leads to cost savings. Thrift and being green go hand in hand,” she said.14

More than 260,000 workers in California currently work in the green economy, according to the Employment Development Department.  The Redwood empire north of San Francisco leads by percentage with 5.1% of it workforce employed in green jobs, but Southern California leads in actual number of jobs at 106,350 for 1.6% of its workforce.  The border regions of San Diego and Imperial counties have slightly more than 21,000 jobs for 1.8% of their workforce.

Traditional blue-collar occupations, such as carpenters, electricians, and heating and air-conditioning technicians comprise the largest number of workers in the green economy. provides an online database of environment-related job postings, showing a growing demand for workers with “green” skills.

While it good that that “going green” is saving money for manufacturers, benefiting some traditional blue-collar occupations, and providing “green” products for consumers, the question is whether it is creating any new manufacturing jobs.  While campaigning for president, Barack Obama, proclaimed the goal of creating five million so-called “green collar” jobs   by restoring America’s manufacturing base through clean energy technologies, innovation and less reliance on foreign oil.  He said, «My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.”

Three years later, it appears that America is missing the boat in creating green manufacturing jobs. China’s cheap labor, combined with free trade policies that afford companies with international portability, have propelled China to the top of the mountain in terms of clean energy investment.

One example is the manufacture of light bulbs.  In July 2010, General Electric permanently shuttered its last major factory producing incandescent light bulbs.  The closure cost 200 employees their jobs.  These jobs were transferred to China, where the much more energy efficient bulbs known as compact fluorescents, or CFLs, are produced at a much lower cost.  The incandescent light bulb was born in America and now has died in America, taking plenty of well-paying manufacturing jobs with it.

Despite the fact that CFL’s were invented in America in the 1970’s, virtually none are made in America. Because they require much more hand labor than your typical incandescent bulb and labor costs are much higher in the U. S., many companies set up manufacturing in China to take advantage of its massive low-cost pool of available labor.

The same thing has happened with solar panels.  China tops the world in solar panel manufacturing.  “Five of the top 10 solar panel makers in the world are from China, a trend that took hold last year {2009} according to a report by Massachusetts-based greentech analysts GTM Research.”

“Jenny Chase, a lead solar analyst for the Long-based research firm New Energy Finance, says it’s unrealistic for the United States to count on long-term manufacturing jobs in the solar industry, at least where a global oversupply is pressing solar-panel prices through the floor.”

Plenty of others disagree.  Several thin-film solar startups, such as PrimeStar Solar, Applied Quantum Technology and SoloPower are planning new factories now in the hope of catching a market upturn in the next couple of years.  In April 2011, G.E. announced plans to build the nation’s largest solar panel plant.  “The plant, whose location has not been determined, will employ 400 workers and create 600 related jobs, according to G.E.”  The factory would annually produce solar panels that would generate 400 megawatts of energy, the company said, and would begin manufacturing thin-film, photovoltaic panels made of a material called cadmium telluride in 2013.”

In 2009, China became the world’s leader in private investment in renewable energy, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Even in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, China invested $34.6 billion in green technologies.

America, meanwhile, has leaked clean energy investment and jobs like a sieve. According to the report, the U.S. has invested just over half the amount of China in clean energy technologies. For all of 2009, private investment in the U.S. totaled just $18.6 billion, down 48 percent from 2008.

A report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop and ABC News, found that $8 of every $10 spent on wind energy projects through the stimulus package went to a foreign company. Total recovery funds spent on wind energy projects total nearly $2 billion.  The report estimates stimulus funding for wind projects created roughly 6,000 manufacturing jobs overseas and just hundreds in America.  Thus far, the Recovery Act has paid to create 1,807 wind turbines to fuel American homes, businesses, schools and other buildings.  Just 588 of those were manufactured domestically, according to the report.

«The United States’ competitive position is at risk in the emerging clean energy economy,» Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign, said in a statement attached to the group‘s report.

In an opinion article for Industry Week, consultant, John Madigan of Madigan Associates, presents “real solutions” to create the $20-per-hour jobs needed to sustain a strong middle class.  With more than 25 years experience in operations management at Continental Can and Storagetek, among other companies, Madigan said in 2008, “’Green’ manufacturing technology offers more than a way to slow environmental destruction; it could be a powerful antidote for America’s economic crises, mass job losses, and diminished international status.”7

In the last couple of years, the term “green technology” has evolved into the more encompassing term of “cleantech.”  The new “cleantech” industry could be a powerful antidote for America’s economic crisis and massive job losses in manufacturing.  “Cleantech” manufacturing and the technologies that support it could create the higher paying jobs needed to sustain a strong middle class while helping to solve air, energy, water and food crises.  Next week’s article will take a look at how some San Diego “cleantech”  companies are creating new manufacturing jobs.

Michele Nash-Hoff is the president of ElectroFab Sales and the author of «Can American Manufacturing be Saved?  Why we should and how we can.»


Autor: Michelle Nash-Hoff  

Fecha: 17/05/11

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Middletown Developer Goes Green with Future Projects

In this preview of two future «green» homes on the market currently under construction, J. Michael Hill shares how building energy-efficient homes makes the most sense now and into the future.

J. Michael Hill, president of F.M. Propertiesbelieves green is good, and after decades of developing residential and commercial properties both locally and in New York state, he has decided to make it a key factor in his current and future projects. He has become a Certified Green Professional as designated by theNational Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB), a member of U.S. Green Building Council, and a partner with Energy Star.

Hill has been building modular homes for more than a decade and in September of 2010, he had what is expected to be Newport’s first NAHB Gold Star rated home delivered to 9 Champlin Place. Hill, who is also a realtor with Nunes Realty, currently has that home listed on the market for $858,000.

«There has been a shift in the way people approach buying a home these days,» Hill explained at the time. «Energy efficiency has become one of their top priorities. You wouldn’t have necessarily seen that 10 or 15 years ago. The cost for taking these initiatives towards optimal energy efficiency doesn’t cost much more, however the return can be dramatic and remarkably rewarding.»

Once again Hill is trying to prove this point with two back-to-back custom built eco-friendly homes on Tuckerman Avenue and Wolcott Avenue in Middletown. On Tuesday, Hill and his partner in the project, Michael Behan of Behan Brothers, Inc., watched as the existing home built in 1918 at 268 Tuckerman Avenue was taken down to make way for these two new homes. The existing home had five bedrooms and two and half baths with more than 3,000 square feet, sitting on about three quarters of an acre. Hill and Behan purchased the property in September of last year and have been looking for the right buyer for the two new energy-efficient homes they have planned for the land.

Hill says there are three key elements to building an energy-efficient home:

  1. Insultation
    “You need to get a really good shell no matter what you use. Once you get a really good shell then you don’t get the convection of all the air coming in; the cold air in the winter and the hot air in the summer,” says Hill. “A lot of people deal with solar, geothermal and all that, but they don’t do good insulation and they still have the air coming and going in the house. We believe in building a really good shell with the insulation–in the ceilings, in the walls, and in the floors.”
  2. Energy-efficient, well-insulated windows
    This is self-explanatory. What good is a well-insulated shell if it has drafty holes that keep the internal climate control systems from doing their jobs?
  3. Good heating, cooling, and hot water systems
    Hill said that preliminary estimates for heating the home at 9 Champlin Place are about $1,200 per year, and he has all of these features and costs verified by a third party such as Energy Star.

Additional «green building» practices include eco-friendly features such as composite siding that require low to no maintenance. Plus, Hill’s eco-friendly mindset also kicks in well before the building begins. The previous home built in 1918 at 268 Tuckerman Avenue was stripped down before demolition began so that the metal inside such as the radiators could be recycled.

Hill says the company has not yet been decided whether the two new homes on Easton’s Point will be built on speculation or if he and Behan will wait for buyers to customize the homes even more to their liking. As they are currently planned, both homes will feature 10 foot ceilings on the first floor, a gas fireplace with stone surround, and custom kitchen cabinetry making them in tune with the latest style trends and designs of the region while also being up to date on the latest green building trends.

Each home will sit on a little more than a third of an acre, and both be built within existing set back and zoning restrictions. The Tuckerman Avenue house will also have sweeping views of the Cliff Walk.

The home to be built on the Tuckerman Avenue lot is listed at $2,595,000 and the home to be built on the Wolcott Avenue lot is currently listed at $1,595,000.

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Autor: Sarah Fernandez

Fecha: 16/05/11

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