Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, one of the Hudson Valley’s largest real estate brokerages with 22 locations, is “going green” in its offices and has introduced energy-audit discounts and educational programs to help sellers and homeowners reduce their energy consumption and bills.
“It’s more important than ever for businesses and homeowners to do everything they can to reduce their energy consumption to reduce costs and benefit our environment,” said Matt Rand, managing partner with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “We want to establish Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty as a leading resource for information and assistance regarding energy conservation while setting a good example in our own operations. Reflecting this, we’re holding a contest to see which of our offices can reduce its energy consumption the most during the month of August when compared to the same time last year. Our team has responded very favorably to the challenge and we hope to set an example and show other companies here and across the nation how they can implement similar programs.”
A key part of Rand Realty’s green initiative is a partnership with Green Tree Energy (www.greentreeenergy.com), a company based in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., that specializes in energy conservation and the use of environmentally sensitive products and building materials. The two companies have teamed up to offer a $200 discount on a home-energy audit that normally costs $399, reducing the cost to $199 for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty clients.
During the audits inspectors evaluate a home’s insulation, windows, weatherstripping, appliances, heating system and air conditioning – among other things – to identify ways the owner can improve the building’s energy efficiency. A key part of the audit is a “blower door test,” where special equipment is attached to one of the home’s doors to see how “tight” the home is – in other words, how drafty it is. Inspectors will also utilize thermal imaging using an infrared camera to take pictures around windows and doorways to spot leaks and other potential problems. The camera will take a regular photo of the area, and then an infrared image which will turn up blue spots on problem areas with leaks. This can help identify the need for new windows and better seals around windows, doors and points in the building where wiring and plumbing enter the house.
“The inspectors are able to identify ways for owners to potentially save hundreds of dollars a year in heating, cooling, electricity and water costs, and make the home more comfortable,” said Rand. “The audits have helped people reduce their energy bills by up to 40 percent. Some of the improvements are very inexpensive, so even people with a tight budget are able to benefit from the audits. In addition, federal and state rebates are available that help cover the costs of recommended improvements.”
Other steps Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is taking in its offices as part of its green initiative include:
• Holding seminars on energy conservation methods for all of its staff members and sales associates, who can share what they learn through client and friend “Home Efficiency Seminars”
• Conducting audits of its offices to identify ways to reduce heating and cooling consumption
• Installing energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs in its offices whenever possible
• Adopting across-the-board recycling in its offices and using recycled materials when possible
• Providing literature and handouts at its offices that the public can use to learn more about energy conservation and “green” household maintenance
Additional information about Green Tree Energy, energy audits for residential and commercial buildings and energy conservation is available at www.GreenTreeEnergy.com. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, call Jerry Chiudina of Green Tree Energy at (914) 361-1000 or e-mail JChiudina@GreenTreeEnergy.com.
About Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Rand Realty, founded in 1984, is the No. 1 real estate brokerage in the Greater Hudson Valley with 22 offices serving Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan Counties. Based on market share, Rand is the No. 1 brokerage in Rockland, the No. 1 in Orange and the No. 3 company in Westchester. The company has more than 800 sales associates. For more information, please visit www.RandRealty.com.
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