It was not so long ago that we had an enormous amount of momentum to make real progress fighting climate change.  But the Republican party & conservative movement have mobilized all their resources against us, and for the moment, we are loosing.  It is David vs Goliath, and we are David…

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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Apartment owners and property managers average at least two kitchen remodels in their buildings each year.  With one of our own kitchen remodels, we brought what recently rented for $1,200 up to $2,000 a month, while including many “green” features.  While these renovations focus on increasing the value and appeal of the property in the shortest time possible, it is an important added bonus to incorporate the sustainability of such projects into the renovation.  Sustainable development balances the economic, equitable, and environmental considerations of all involved, which ensures long-lasting usefulness into the future.

This report focuses on property managers in the San Francisco Bay Area, and highlights retailers, products, and rebates that are specific for this area.  This report is by no means a final word on this topic.  The objective here is to create a guide and begin a forum for discussing how the environment can be included in the apartment context.

Sustainability Scale of Products
Remodel Case Study



Philip J Reed, on behalf of Daybreak, has put together an interesting article for us:

Sustainability is, and should indeed be, a popular topic right now.  We hear the word everywhere, and sometimes it seems to get tossed around so frequently that it starts to lose meaning.  Any company (or organization, or even individual) can claim to do their part when it comes to operating sustainably, but it may be wise to question them before taking them at their word.

The Daybreak community in Utah is taking sustainability seriously, and they’re making their efforts very clear to anybody interested in what that entails.

For starters, they are working closely in conjunction with Garbett Homes, who makes a point of using solar panels to generate energy for the houses that they build.  That in itself might not sound too revolutionary, but the real significance lies in the fact that this solar energy is built standard into each home that they construct, resulting in around 300 new homes per year taking advantage of sustainable energy.

We spoke to one solar-friendly resident while preparing this article, and she reported that her energy bill for one entire summer month was a measly $7.  (Just in case you think this resident is a significant exception, nearly all solar-friendly residents of Daybreak average between $10 and $15 per month for their energy bills.)

Daybreak is also the first community in Utah to require that every home be built to EPA Energy Star standards, and they are also the first community in the United States to require that all new homes be tested and rated by HERS (Home Energy Rating System).  In addition, the community is designed to maximize a car-free lifestyle, taking into account walking and biking distance for employees, shoppers and even elementary school children.  Their “5 Minute Rule” means that no resident will live further away than five minutes’ walking distance from a park or trail.

Sustainability is also being embraced by Daybreak in their standard, day to day practices.  After all, sustainable living doesn’t end when the home is built; it needs to continue forever!  To this end, they plant 35 trees each week, employ a storm-water retention and reinfiltration system, and recycle more than 75% of their construction waste.

The Daybreak community is doing its best not only to negate its own environmental impact, but to assist the healing process of the environment overall.  It’s a great start to what could really become a new standard in community development.


The Bird Man of The Boulevard

by schmidt on August 15, 2011 · 0 comments

in Featured Articles

Its the personalities you run into that make life so interesting.  The Bird Man of the Boulevard lives on the upper floors of one of our bigger buildings.  He has a thing for birds.  No, not pigeons, not one of those old grandpa types from the 50s scattering breadcrumbs from a park bench to a flapping cloud of feathers & filth, or some old knit cap wearing guy tending to a chicken wire spare wood framed crate on a sooty roof top – No, that would be too cliche.  The Bird Man of the Boulevard has more refined tastes, more Pinot Noir to the common Merlot.  He likes wild birds, things like hawks (which there are a surprisingly large number of in San Francisco) and these little sparrow like things that look like, well, sparrows I guess.  Or Finches.  I don’t really know to tell you the truth, they are small, have feathers and fly, that is what I know.

I am not a bird guy

So he is a bird watcher you say, perhaps an amateur ornithologist, so what, who cares, lots of people have hobbies, and why does one tenant’s hobby on the upper floors of a downtown apartment building make for an interesting character?!?

Well let me tell you why, because this bat shit crazy mofo has somehow I do not know how convinced these wild swallow like things to live in his apartment.  Honestly, how does someone do that?  It can’t be food alone, maybe it has to do with some sort of weird bird man mojo that this guy has going on, or maybe some sort of subsonic sound that emanates from him, going out into the air, a sound that only birds can hear, drawing them to his place, where they fly in and out the very expensive window I installed a few years back whenever they please, leaving behind droppings and feathers and who knows what else all over the place.

You open the door and you see them, on bookshelves or the couch.  They are definitely not used to me because i D E F I I N A T E L Y do not go there often.  When I do need to come by and replace a smoke alarm battery or help with a light bulb (yes I do that, I do not have to  but I do, especially for the old timers) they like to buzz around.  They probably settle down after I leave.  I wonder if they sleep in there, or if they make nests and lay eggs – not questions I mull over too much nor questions I think I am going to ask any time soon, but sometimes I wonder.

I have a rule when I go into a tenant’s apartment, and that rule is sort of like that old prison guard from TV, “I See Nothing”.  How people live, so long as it does not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of their neighbors, is frankly none of my business.  And the swallow things, as fracken bizarre as it is to see them come in and out, they don’t seem to be hurting anyone.  The Bird Man is a bit of a troubled old soul anyways, he has been there coming up on 20 years, not my longest tenured tenant by any stretch of the imagination, and while he gripes about this and that, he pretty much keeps to himself and his birds, some sort of modern day Robert Franklin Stroud, not trapped in Alcatraz per se, but bound up in a personal jail of his own, one he has a key to but keeps going back to each day.

I try not to see anything, but it makes me think sometimes.