Well Al Gore may have been green with envy when he lost the presidential race, but leave it to a politician to turn green into a good thing. When Al Gore came out with his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" I wondered what his angle was. I knew about his previous book "Earth in Balance" but that was published a long time ago, and as we know most politicians turn their good intentions into political agendas, so I didn't pay Gore much attention when the documentary came out. Then he goes and wins an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize who can ignore him now and really if I am honest I do not want to ignore him. I appreciate the books, the documentary, and even his sense of humor which was far from evident as Vice President.
So Gore you started the train and now it is rumbling quite quickly and loudly down the track. I really can't give him credit for the whole kit and caboodle, one way to get people to listen is to hit their pocket book. Throw in high gas prices, a little recession, some inflation and you have the perfect ecological awareness cocktail. So where do we go from here? Well I for one am looking around to not only do my part by recycling and buying energy efficient appliances, but also at ways to stimulate green technology and industry diversification.
The lagging US economy needs a transfusion and what better way to get that fresh blood pumping then to go green. Green companies, cars, homes, technology, energy, and ultimately communities. This green movement is everywhere and I couldn't be happier, I happen to look pretty good in green. In my search to be a Green Girl I have found quite a few ways to bring the green in, here are a few of the areas I have found to get a little green.
Green Real Estate: http://www.ecobroker.com/
The EcoBroker green real estate web site is a resource for real estate professionals and consumers looking to buy, sell, or educate themselves on green real estate. The web site has some good resources for converting a home into a green home, buying a green home, or even getting a green mortgage. On the mortgage side the website gives a "snap shot" of the benefits of a green mortgage and then directs you to a few lenders that can help you. The mortgage they are highlighting is the Fannie Mae EEM (energy efficient mortgage) which they say can go up to 115% of the value of your home. What they do not say is that you still need to bring in the minimum down payment required by Fannie Mae and then you can include the cost to convert or upgrade your home into an energy efficient home into the mortgage. FHA and VA also have EEM's, and FHA actually takes into account the monthly utility bill savings the home owner will have into the qualifying debt ratios.
Green Tax Deductions: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits
The link above has a comprehensive list of what energy efficient tax credits can be claimed by home owners for 2006 & 2007. Though many of these credits expire in 2007 some have been extended to 2008, and if we are smart in this election year we will work to get these type of tax credits/deductions increased and extended further into the future. One important point to take into account is that even if there is no tax credit for energy efficient homes and appliances and initially these products may cost more to purchase than standard models, they will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time.
Green Driving: http://www.greencar.com/
Whether you are looking for a hybrid, an electric car, an alternate fuel vehicle, or just a smart car, greencar.com will keep in you in Know! This website highlights what is here, what's coming, and what's just hype. Qualifying alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) purchased or placed into service between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $4,000. Vehicles placed into service before January 1, 2005 may be eligible for a $2,000 clean-fuel vehicle tax deduction. Check with your CPA to see if there are additional tax advantages to owning green automobiles.
Now for the tech lover, her are the cool green-theme gadgets to keep your must-have tech toys working. Greendaily.com released their 8 favorite gadgets for 2007 that will lower your electric bill and save a tiny bit of planet earth. This is a great website to help you keep up on just about anything green.
I hope you look good in green as well, because it looks like green is taking over, it's about time!