Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hemp Houses - the Next Step in Green Building

Dozens of hemp homes have been built in Europe in the past two decades, but they're new to the United States, says David Madera, co-founder of Hemp Technologies, a company that supplied the mixture of ground-up hemp stalks, lime and water.

The industrial hemp is imported because it cannot be grown legally in this country — it comes from the same plant as marijuana. Its new use reflects an increasing effort to make U.S. homes not only energy-efficient but also healthier. Madera and other proponents say hemp-filled walls are non-toxic, mildew-resistant, pest-free and flame-resistant.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

E+Co Named Finalist for the Zayed Future Energy Prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize announced yesterday that Bloomfield based E+Co has been selected as one of six finalists for this prestigious prize, which honors and rewards individuals, companies, or organizations that are tackling pressing energy issues. The winner, as well as two runners-up, will be announced in Abu Dhabi on January 18th during the World Future Energy Summit.

The Prize recognizes and rewards outstanding work in renewable energy and sustainability. The goal of the annual prize is to educate and inspire future leaders and innovators to combat climate change and global warming, and ensure clean, livable environments for future generations.

Working from a total of 391 submissions from 69 countries, each submission was evaluated based on three key components – long-term vision, innovation and leadership. A shortlist of the top 100 candidates was narrowed to the following finalists, including E+Co. The winner will receive US $1.5 million, with two runners-up receiving up to US $350,000 each.

E+Co is a US based investor in small and growing clean energy enterprises in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With eight regional offices staffed locally, E+Co provides support and capital to enterprises for the purpose of reducing the impact of climate change and energy poverty. Since 1994, E+Co has made 268 investments in 20+ countries totaling US $40 million, bringing clean energy to 6.2 million people and reducing carbon emissions by 4.6 million tons.

For more information please visit

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Banks Encourage Local Groups to Buy Foreclosures

The National Community Stabilization Trust facilitates the transfer of foreclosed and abandoned properties from financial institutions nationwide to local housing organizations to promote productive property reuse and neighborhood stability. In collaboration with state and local governments, the Stabilization Trust builds local capacity to effectively acquire, manage, rehab and sell foreclosed property to ensure homeownership and rental housing are available to low- and moderate-income families.
The National Community Stabilization Trust has developed the tools necessary to foster neighborhood recovery in the wake of rising foreclosures and property abandonment across America.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Landslide Vote for Conservation

Despite a bad economy, Americans passed 29 of 35 state and local conservation funding measures this election day for a passage rate of 83 percent, making it the most successful year for conservation ballot measures since 1989. The measures passed in these states will result in dedicated funding to protect and restore land and water.

“Americans recognize that even in a tough economy, protecting the waters and lands we need to survive is a top priority,” said Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “People value clean water and healthy land and are willing to invest to protect them. Congress should follow the voters’ lead and pass conservation legislation before the end of the year.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bank of America Shifts from Origination to Modification

In an effort to deal with the massive influx of loan modification applications and the new, more stringent regulation and supervision of these modifications and approvals, Bank of America is cutting down the size of its loan origination department in favor of altering the state of existing loans instead. Loan originators, who help lenders determine qualifications for mortgages and assist borrowers in obtaining new loans, have had far less to do lately thanks to strict credit requirements and hefty, mandatory down payments. However, since loan modification essentially involves creating new terms for a loan, loan originators are entirely equipped to do this job as well, argues BofA. “The integration of these experienced mortgage professionals will provide Bank of America with a significant surge in servicing capacity,” explained on BofA representative via email.
The lender plans to move around 2,500 employees out of origination and into modification and allow them to remain there for “the majority of 2011.” With the addition of new hires, this will triple BofA’s default service staffing level. BofA also officially assured customers seeking mortgages that their needs will be met quickly and effectively in 2011. Unfortunately, for now, there are just far more modifications needing to be addressed than new loans to be made.
This move reminds us of recent geoplitical events that resulted in our troops being redeployed from Afganistan to Iraq. One can hope the results are more favorable for homeowners.
Posted by Berel News   

Friday, December 03, 2010

You Can Pick Habitat's Most Deserving Community

American Home Shield® has launched the national AHS CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE, an online voting contest that will award $10,000, $15,000 & $25,000 to the three Habitat for Humanity affiliates that receive the most online votes for their neighborhood revitalization initiatives. All participating projects support building and strengthening sustainable communities and will truly change lives. Just by casting your vote, you can help transform a community.
You can vote everyday this month, but today happens to be Double Points Friday. Right now the leaders are in Columbus, O, and Tacoma, Wa., but Morris County,NJ, still has a chance.