This is the place to view the past and present contests put on by ActiveRain and its members. Everyone can join the
group and help encourage each other. Current contest will be highlighted posts so it's easy for you all to see. Let it
Curious as to what others in your profession think about a certain product or tool?
AR's community takes the time to leave honest and transparent reviews of their experiences
so you can be a bit wiser about your purchase.
Broken down by categories and subcategories for easy finds
Get an unfiltered look at what real users are saying
Leave a review yourself for others to benefit from
Add new products as you use them and gain points for doing so
ActiveRain University (ARU) provides free on-line training. We coach, consult and support real estate professionals about real estate trends, technology and social media.
ARU Calendar provides class types and registration links
Watch short tutorials on updating your photo, inserting a hyperlink and much more
Sign up for the Daily Drop so you don't miss out on AR's daily happenings
Find answers to most FAQ's
Whatever it is you're into and wherever you are, AR surely has a group for you to join.
Brand, off the wall, specific subject matters…whatever it is you're looking for.
Each time you write a post you can syndicate your post to 5 groups.
And if by chance you don't find what you're looking for, start a new group today!
Get your content in front of more eyes
Search by location or type
Feel free to start your own group
Find some that are close to home and close to heart
Each month AR runs numerous contests as a way for our members to engage in activities
that will boost their business and increase their visibility in the community and beyond.
Earn points by partaking in these contest and climb the leaderboard
Do what's good for you and your business by participating
If you have an idea for a contest, just let us know
Stay motivated and on track with new contests popping up each month
Ask a Real Estate Question
Here's another avenue for you to build relationships with others. Share your expertise with someone searching for answers.
Play the teacher role and help someone out today
Your Homepage will alert you of new questions in your state
A wonderful way to open a door to a possible new client
Ask a question yourself to get help
Find informative stats, trends and insider tips on your state, county, city or neighborhood of choice. The insightful experts of ActiveRain share with you in a way only a local resident can.
"Green" architecture and home construction are politically correct buzzwords but there are no universally accepted standards, so what it means exactly isn't always clear. In contrast, standards for "eco-friendly" homes do exist, but how does a consumer know when a home which the builder says is "green" is actually assembled with ecological priorities, especially if the price is higher than a non-green home?
Eco-friendly homes are required to have levels of insulation which usually exceed local building code requirements, including the floor insulation, walls, floors and ceilings. Even windows should be insulated, at a minimum double paned and/or vinyl windows.
Green homes must be built with green materials, but must also be energy efficient. That includes low water use toilets with variable options for more efficient solid waste flushing. Water conservation can also be enhanced with specially designed shower heads, washing machines, faucets and dishwashers. Electricity conservation can be improved with low draw air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, freezers and other appliances. Lighting efficiency can be
achieved with newer fluorescent lights or even LED lights in some applications.
Another important dimension of green homes is the implementation of non-toxic or minally toxic materials. Look for low VOC paints, where VOC is an acronym for volatile organic compounds. VOCs evaporate over time into your home's atmosphere and many are toxic to humans. In general, lighter colored paint means fewer VOC's, so paler, neutral colors are not just good for resale value, their better for your health! Carpeting can also be a source of VOCs, so eco-friendly homes are more likely to use wool and cotton for carpets and window treatments. These natural materials are generally safer because they do not require as much chemical processing in their manufacturing.
Bamboo and cork flooring are also popular in green homes. Not only is bamboo a natural material, but it grows quickly, so its use is less demanding on our planet's resources. It's also a versatile design material, allowing a range of choices in styles and colors. Cork is also a sustainably grown building material. Cork can be harvested from trees without harming the trees, and the cork bark grows back within a year. Cork also has design advantages, providing an appealing, warm floor surface that almost seems like it's still alive.
Energy and water conservation should also be part of the exterior design of the home. Use of drought resistant native plants, sometimes referred to as xeriscaping is an attractive landscaping approach that can be beautiful as well as green. The use of unsealed paving stones in driveways and walkways allow water seep back into the ground instead of just evaporating into the atmosphere. This can help with local water usage if that water is allowed to replenish ground-water resources and also minimize run-off of oil and exhaust residual toxins into storm drains.
If you're paying more for a green home, be sure to ask the builder which components have green designs. Compare those features with their conventional counterparts and you should be able to quantify the advantages, both to the environment and to your pocketbook. If you can't do that, you heart may be in the right place, but you might also be taken advantage of.
Image credit: "Solar Decathlon 2011 Design Development Model" by Dept of Energy/Flickr Creative Commons License