Category Archives: The Environment

Raleigh to Host 40th Annual National Solar Conference May 17-21

Raleigh will host a gathering of renewable energy industry leaders at the 40th Annual National Solar Conference May 17- 21. The conference, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society, will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center. Keynote speakers include Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) Renewables; Ramamoorthy Ramesh, leader of research and development of the Solar Program at the U.S. Department of Energy; and Jason McLennan, CEO of Cascadia Green Building Council. The public is invited to the conference’s events on Saturday, when industry leaders including celebrity environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. will speak, and nearly 100 exhibitors will display the latest in solar technology. Saturday admission for the general public is $5. Read more: National Solar Conference comes to Raleigh | Triangle Business Journal

First Weekend of the Tri County Parade was a Success!

This past Friday through today I was working at a new neighborhood off Tarbaro Road off Hwy 401N called Braeburn. It’s a neighborhood of EnergyStar homes, ranging from the $230s to over $300K. If the turnout this weekend is any indication of what’s to come the next two weekends then builders are going to be pleased and so will potential homeowners. The visitors were steady until the rains came late in the day today. But no one is complaining about the rain. Let it rain all week!

If you want more information about where to find Parade homes vist to find out where we have homes that are in the Parade. You can pick up a Parade book at any of those homes while they last. B

By the way, the Jim Allen Group is representing the largest share of homes in either Parade compared to any other group/team or office in the Triangle. And most of those in the Tri County Parade that we represent were also award winners. In Braeburn we had Bronze and a Silver award winning homes.

And don’t forget that the Wake County Parade of Homes starts this coming Friday. I’ll be at the same house I was at this weekend on Friday ( the first house on the right once you enter Braeburn). Then on Saturday I’ll be at Majestic Oaks off Rogers Road in Wake Forest, where we have 7 Parade homes. The address of my home is 4104 Field Oak Drive, a great EnergyStar and Green home by Sawyer Homes. I hope you’ll come tour these homes and say hello.

Green Home Building Grows In the Triangle Area

Enrollments in the residential green building certification program operated by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle (GHBT) recently reached the 500 mark.  The program’s first certification enrollment was submitted on October 31, 2006, by Cimarron Homes.   Fittingly enough, the 500th enrollment, received on July 23, 2009, was also from Cimarron Homes — which has committed to certifying all of its homes in the GHBT program and has received half of the GHBT certificates issued to date.


A total of 62 Triangle-area builders have enrolled homes in the GHBT certification program, and 329 certificates have been issued so far.  Builders in the program include custom builders who typically enroll only a few homes per year, as well as local volume builders who may enroll dozens of spec homes annually.  The custom builders often strive to reach the greener Silver and Gold levels of certification, while the volume builders make their mark by building a solid Bronze-level product and helping the program to achieve its goal of “Bringing Green to the Mainstream.”  A wide variety of homes have been enrolled in the GHBT program to date, with prices ranging from $70,000 to $3.25 million.  Nearly half of the homes in the program are priced at less than $200,000, showing that green certification is not necessarily as expensive as many people believe.


In fact, an uptick in the GHBT certification enrollments during recent months is apparently due to the $8,000 federal tax credit currently available to first-time home buyers — many of whom are in the market for entry-level homes.  Buyers in that price range are particularly concerned about the operating costs of their new home, and many of them are eager to select a home that is ENERGY STAR® and green certified.


“We’ve definitely seen a number of customers who are taking advantage of the tax credit and want to ‘go green’ when they buy,” commented Danny Winters of Cimarron Homes.  “Of the 76 homes we’ve currently got under construction, 55 are tax credit jobs, and we are working hard to ensure that those homes will be finished and certified by the deadline later this year,” he added. 


GHBT operates a certification program that contains three levels:  Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  To obtain a certificate, a builder must select a sufficient number of green techniques and features in all seven of the program areas before construction begins.  A third-party verifier checks the builder’s work during and after construction by performing inspections and reviewing the documentation submitted by the builder.  A GHBT certificate is issued when the verifier indicates that the project goals have been met.


GHBT is a joint project of the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties and the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County.  With 240 members representing various aspects of the residential construction industry in the Triangle, GHBT promotes building techniques and materials that produce homes which consume less energy and other resources, facilitate better indoor air quality, and provide a more durable product requiring less maintenance.  Each spring, GHBT offers a Triangle-wide Green Home Tour, which is a free event that allows area residents to view a variety of these green-certified homes and talk directly to green builders.  More information on the GHBT program and annual Green Home Tour can be found at

New Recycling Law Takes Effect October 1st to Reduce Landfil Waste

Under a new law that takes effect Oct. 1, 2009, North Carolina will be banning all rigid plastic containers from landfills. This includes any bottles with a neck smaller than the container itself.

The ban includes type 1 polyethylene terephthalate plastic, or PET, and type 2 high-density polyethylene plastic, or HDPE. PET materials include water and soda bottles, and HDPE materials include shampoo bottles and milk jugs.

North Carolina is also building the nation’s largest facility to recycle PET bottles, which will able to process 280 million pounds of material per year. One of the primary partners in this venture is carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group, LLC, which can turn recycled PET into polyester for use in carpeting.

North Carolina is the first state in the Southeast to move forward with a statewide plastic bottle ban. Massachusetts imposed a similar disposal ban, and Wisconsin law requires that residents recycle plastic bottles. A handful of municipalities across the U.S. have also imposed similar plastic-bottle bans.

Renewable’s Credits Were Up in 2008 – A Sign That Green Building is Increasing

NC state tax credits for purchases related to renewable technology almost quadrupled in 2008 over 2007 according to info from the NC Dept of Revenue. Tax credits worth over $2.12 million were processed. There were 397 claims in 2008 versus only 268 were claimed in 2007. These claims included both residential and business credits.

The tax credit for renewable technology is currently slated to sunset in 2010 but state lawmakers are considering a new law that would extend the credits to 2016.

Progress Energy has begun a pilot program with 1,000 NC homes to offer up to $1,000 in incentives for those homes to participate in a solar water heating program. If successul the program will be expanded to include more homes.

Info courtesy of  TBJ