The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 15 - January 25, 2012


Turning over a green leaf

It's a new year and time to take stock of our lifestyle, bad habits and sagging bodies. It's also a time to take a good look at our finances and ways to save money, and one way to save in a tight economy is by going green.

If you're worried about your carbon footprint, the amount of greenhouse gas you produce, there are a lot of simple ways to reduce that footprint as well as more aggressive ones. Start by analyzing your energy bill by comparing your usage to some on-line calculators, the Berkeley Lab at the University of California has one of these, which gives you a really broad feel for what your home's average should be.

If you think you have a problem, you can hire a pro energy auditor recommended by state, local or electric utility agencies. Energy audits are frequently conducted free of charge by utility companies. You can also find nationally certified raters of home energy at the Residential Energy Service Network ( However, before taking these steps, the obvious place to start are looking for energy leaks is walls, doors, duct seams, windows and fireplaces. Adding weather stripping and insulation, especially in older homes, will keep your home sealed. Also in the winter, setting the thermostat 10 degrees lower at night can cut the hearting bill by as much as 20 percent, and during the summer raising the temperature five degrees higher at night and 10 degrees higher during the day when no one is home will also save 20 percent.

Kitchens are the most popular room in a home to remodel, and they are also the place where you can achieve a large amount of green bang for your buck. Appliances with Energy Star Labels are the most efficient, since they have minimum levels of efficiency established by the federal government. Kitchen cabinets are available using recycled materials and the use of energy saving compact florescent light bulbs can shave substantial money off your annual electric bill.

The ultimate green energy and the one most talked about, especially in Florida, is converting all or part of your home's energy to solar. Many homeowners who install solar energy systems do so to generate hot water for domestic use and for heating pools, but will it work in your home? According to the U. S. Department of Energy, most residential systems require a minimum of 50 square feet depending on how much energy you plan on generating. It is also possible to install solar panels on the ground or on structures that double as window awnings.

The question always is will converting to solar energy be a true savings? While the cost of solar systems continues to fall and tax incentives continue to rise, all systems still require a relatively large upfront investment. According to the U.S. Department of Energy the cost can range from about $16,000 to $40,000 and can be calculated at the American Solar Energy Society's website. On average if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop up to 50 percent. This could be higher in Florida where sunshine is in abundance for most of the year.

Finally, in Florida water is not inexpensive and saving a little here and a little there can add up. Run the dishwasher and washing machines when they're full and not pre-rinsing dishes are two ways. Turn off faucets when brushing your teeth, take short showers and fix leaky faucets inside and outside. Use a law sprinkler timer, don't overwater and obey the local water restrictions.

Turning over a new green leaf could go a long way in not only helping to improve the environment, but improving your checkbook balance. Give it a try. Going green isn't as hard as you think, and the rewards could last for centuries.

Real Estate Transactions
Real Estate Transfers from Dec. 16 to 31, 2011
Sponsored by Alan Galletto Island Real Estate

Sold Date | List Price | Sold Price | Address | Provision | Property Style

Anna Maria

12/16/2011 1,420,000 1,280,000 759 N. Shore Dr. 1310 2 Br/2 Ba SFR
12/16/2011 649,000 648,160 109 Cedar Ave. 1412 50x110 2 Br/2 Ba SFR
12/26/2011 499,000 450,000 886 N. Shore Dr. 1732 100x70 4 Br/2 Ba SFR
12/27/2011 549,900 450,000 508 Spring Ave. 2532 52x145 5 Br/3 Ba SFR

Bradenton Beach

12/30/2011 350,000 341,000 2518 Avenue B # A 3240 50x100 4 Br/4 Ba Half-Condo
12/27/2011 152,900 142,500 2312 Avenue C # 1 651 2 Br/1 Ba Condo
12/30/2011 98,000 94,000 117 Seventh St. N. # 17 594 1 Br/1 Ba Condo


12/16/2011 389,000 335,000 12312 Egret Harbour 1988 1 Br/2 Ba Condo

Holmes Beach

12/20/2011 229,000 210,000 414 80th St. 866 74x98 2 Br/2 Ba Half-Condo
12/16/2011 1,175,000 1,125,000 6410 Gulf Dr. # 10 2450 3 Br/2.5 Ba Condo
12/23/2011 339,000 305,000 600 Manatee Ave. # 206 1179 2 Br/2 Ba Condo
12/20/2011 595,000 570,000 208 72nd St. # B 2178 4 Br/2.Ba SFR
12/22/2011 699,000 690,000 631 Foxworth Ln. 3370 4 Br/3.5 Ba SFR
12/22/2011 669,000 634,000 3105 Avenue E # B 2200 4 Br/3.5 Ba SFR
12/23/2011 574,900 540,000 309 65th St. # B 2500 4 Br/3.5 Ba SFR
12/27/2011 695,000 695,000 3107 Avenue E # C 2400 5 Br/2 Ba/2 1/2 Ba SFR
12/30/2011 445,000 400,000 3207 Sixth Ave. 1352 50x90 3 Br/2 Ba SFR
12/21/2011 599,000 480,000 515 42nd St. 3180 100x101 6 Br/5 Ba INC, short sale

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper