July 18, 2014 on 7:17 pm | In all, Curious, Green Building, Green Houses, Money, Statistics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences is an actual study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. We responded as Americans, undeterred by our heritage. More than 80% of people who took part in the study would like to live in “an environmentally friendly home,” but 65% are not willing to pay more for it.

Ethnicity did not factor into any major responses. Where slight difference showed up was in relation to how much buyers are willing to pay for energy efficiency features that translate to lower utility bills. Hispanic buyers indicated that they were willing to pay the most, $9,146, while white buyers indicated that they would pay the least, $6,774.



July 4, 2014 on 7:46 am | In Act Locally, Global Statistics, Green Workplace, Greenhouse Gas, Reasons to Love L.A., Solutions, Uncategorized, Water | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Bravo! The Port of Long Beach has been recognized as the “Best Green Seaport” in the world at the 28th annual Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in innovative goods movement, safety and environmental stewardship. The Port is served by 140 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports worldwide. A major economic engine for the region, the Port handles trade valued at more than $180 billion each year and supports hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.

In 2005, the Port of Long adopted a “Green Port Policy,” focusing reducing its impact on the community, wildlife and the environment…with unmitigated success. The POLB is proud of the dramatic improvement in air and water quality thanks to an array of environmental initiatives that include the Clean Trucks, Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction and Technology Advancement programs.

“This is an honor to be named the AFSCA’s Best Green Seaport. The Port of Long Beach has made great strides in reducing air pollution and improving water quality, and we are committed to doing even more,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Doug Drummond.

The Port’s growth policy has had tremendous results. The total number of containers handled at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in May increased by 5.6% on a year-over-year basis to 1,288,652 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). This was the 14th consecutive month of at least 1 million TEUs for the San Pedro Bay ports.

The Port of Long Beach’s Green Port Policy is an aggressive, comprehensive and coordinated approach to reduce the negative impacts of Port operations. The Green Port Policy, adopted in 2005, serves as a guide for decision making and established a framework for environmentally friendly Port operations. The policy’s five guiding principles are:

  • Protect the community from harmful environmental impacts of Port operations.
  • Distinguish the Port as a leader in environmental stewardship and compliance.
  • Promote sustainability.
  • Employ best available technology to avoid or reduce environmental impacts.
  • Engage and educate the community.

The Green Port Policy includes six basic program elements, each with an overall goal:

  1. Wildlife – Protect, maintain or restore aquatic ecosystems and marine habitats.
  2. Air – Reduce harmful air emissions from Port activities.
  3. Water – Improve the quality of Long Beach Harbor waters.
  4. Soils/Sediments – Remove, treat, or render suitable for beneficial reuse contaminated soils and sediments in the Harbor District.
  5. Community Engagement – Interact with and educate the community regarding Port operations and environmental programs.
  6. Sustainability – Implement sustainable practices in design and construction, operations, and administrative practices throughout the Port.

The “Green Seaport” honor of the Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards is reserved for ports that have “demonstrated compliance with green freight transport regulations and environmental standards; investment in green initiatives, technology and action plans; incorporation of environmental requirements in strategic planning; use of a policy on reducing fuel emissions from freight handling operations; and ongoing training of staff in green initiatives and in measures to lower carbon footprints.”

The awards are based on an annual poll of thousands of professionals in freight transportation services. Awards also are given in many categories, including best shipping lines, container terminals, air cargo terminals, airports and rail haulers.

Find out more about the Port of Long Beach’s environmental programs at




June 19, 2014 on 10:14 pm | In Curious, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Money, Trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

You are the green businessman. You’re in solar stocks, net zero options.  You’ve got a zero net energy home. You’ve got a zero net energy car. You are on top of the green world. Now, be on top of the next wave of green trends…

*    Global spending on smart energy management services is projected to grow from $291M in 2012 to $1.1 billion by 2020. (Source: Pike Research)

* Solar projects established as a solid asset class attracting traditional Wall Street financiers, crowd-funding to fund small- to medium-sized solar projects, and institutionally-led residential solar lease facilities. REITs will emerge as a potential funding source with the prospect of opening the REIT structure to solar projects.

*    Micro-hybrid battery technology that stops a vehicles motor during idling, then starts it again with a battery – not gas – when needed, is coming to the U.S. in a big way with more than eight million vehicles, not including hybrids, to be equipped with this stop-start technology in North America by 2017 (Source: Lux Research). An estimated 35 million vehicles to be produced with this stop-start technology worldwide (Source: Johnson Controls).

*    Biomimicry – using designs found in nature as the template for creating modern industrial products and processes – begins to make its mark on clean technology, especially in clean technologies that generate energy from natural sources like the sun and the wind, as well as on the energy-efficiency front, such as energy-saving (and more reliable) screen technologies for devices and the creation of new tougher, lighter and stronger materials.

*    U.S. Geothermal industry comes of age in the U.S., with installed cumulative capacity growing to 3,187 MW, which represents more than a quarter of the worldwide total of 11,244 MW.



June 4, 2014 on 8:39 am | In Act Locally, all, Curious, Green Houses, Money, Trends, Uncategorized | No Comments

edited by Jodi Summers

Ok…so you didn’t snap up one of those new model condos with the smart pad in the wall and electronics that respond to voice command. We live in a smart world, so instead of paying that extra 5% for the I-pad in the wall…with a little ingenuity, any old home can be a smart as a new home. Here are six things you can do to make you and your home smarter and more technologically savvy…

1. Signal booster – Smart houses are often dependent on smartphones, which is why a service like SureCall exists. Put a SureCall antenna outside your home and it will grab your cellphone tower’s signal and amplify it so that your cellphone’s signal inside your house is 10 times stronger Price: SureCall costs $538 or $1,160, depending on the kit model you purchase.

2. Home management system – Since smart home devices are not always compatible with each other, home management systems aim to truly integrate all parts of a home.  Current home management systems are focused on security features that keep burglars at bay (other features include carbon monoxide detection and smoke alarms). This is an evolving field. Home management systems that aim to capitalize on the future include AT&T’s Digital Life, which lets consumers control parts of their home with their smartphones and tablets. The service, which runs on Apple, Android and Windows phone devices, will eventually support hundreds of devices and applications.

There are many other options. Lowe’s home improvement stores has the Iris, which includes a kit and app with motion and contact sensors and a smart thermostat. The ADT Corporation, known for home security, offers ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions. Time Warner sells Intelligent Home, and the office supply store Staples offers Staples Connect.

Prices vary > AT&T Digital Life: $349.98 equipment fee, then $44.98 a month; Iris: $179 to $299, then free for basic service. Premium service is free for two months, and then runs $9.99 a month.

3. Keyless door locks – perhaps you already have this on your late model car. Punch in a code, and it unlocks. For home you have Kwikset’s Kevo, a state-of-the-art Bluetooth smart-enabled door lock that lets authorized users lock their door by touching the deadbolt with their fingerprint.

Above and beyond, you can send an electronic key – a digital code – via text to friends or contractors you trust to come into your house while you’re at work, and any time the door unlocks, you can receive a smartphone notification. Price: $219.

4. The Nest Learning Thermostat is indeed a smart item…as it learns from your interaction. As you adjust the dial whenever you’re too hot or cold, the thermostat learns what types of temperatures you prefer. It also takes the weather into account and will adjust the temperature inside based on what the weather is doing outside. It even knows if nobody’s home. Price: $249.

5. WallyHome uses sensors in your home’s walls to detect water trouble. If something goes wrong, like a roof leak, its base hub and six wireless sensors will send an alert to your phone. Using a smartphone app, you can receive data on the rooms with water trouble, and you may be able to figure out the problem even if you’re miles away. For instance, a sensor in the bathroom would pick up a change in humidity and would also send you an alert if there was a leak. Price: $299.

6.  Do you desire a personal wireless LED lighting system – one you can control from your smartphone or tablet? Phillips Hue, a personal wireless LED lighting system, allows you to set timers so that things that are important to you are under control. You can have the lights in your child’s bedroom go off and on at a certain time, or have the lighting change when you have an important phone call to make or a favorite TV show to watch. If you throw a lot of parties, you can offer mood lighting. Price: The Hue Starter Kit, which includes three bulbs and a bridge that connects the Wi-Fi router to any device with an IP connection, costs $199. Each additional bulb is $59.



May 26, 2014 on 4:02 pm | In all, Curious, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, Green Building, Green Houses, Money, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Looking for your fantasy Beverly Hills mixed use development project? One of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country —9900 Wilshire Blvd., is for sale again. Price in the mid-$300-million range for the 8-acre parcel.

“A truly rare circumstance in the highly regulated and supply-constrained city of Beverly Hills,”  note the experts.

The site of the former Robinsons-May department store in Beverly Hills has been vacant for more than a decade and has changed hands a number of times. The current sellers, Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International, intended to complete an existing plan to build 235 condos on the site.

They had already navigated Beverly Hills’ arduous city planning process and were successful is getting approval on a mixed use complex design by Richard Meier, architect of the Getty Center.

“Upon transfer of ownership, the incoming buyer will leverage the value already created and be able to immediately commence construction — a truly rare circumstance in the highly regulated and supply-constrained city of Beverly Hills,” the selling brokers said in a statement.

The Meier plan includes 876 underground parking spaces and almost 21,000 square feet designated for  office space, shops and restaurants.

The property at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. is, “one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country,” the L.A. Times writes. The paper notes that the property, located along Merv Griffin way, “has seen multiple owners who have so far been unable to bring a condominium complex designed by a famous architect to life.”

In 2010, Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International bought the parcel for $148 million. In 2007 the parcel sold for $500 million in one of the largest transactions in the history of Los Angeles County. The company that purchased it subsequently went bankrupt, which is how Joint Treasure International acquired the property.

Will you be the next owner developer for 9900 Wilshire?

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



May 19, 2014 on 7:55 am | In Curious, Green Building, Green Cities, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

When Chicago was built, the city had a clean slate. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire broke out, destroying an area of about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide –  a large swath of the city at the time. It was a city planner’s dream and set the precedent for worldwide construction. They developed a world class downtown with exceptional architecture – a brilliant blend of business and residential without getting into a car. Fine urban living, if you can manage it through the harsh winters.

The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era, which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Today, Chicago’s skyline is among the world’s tallest and most dense.

The United States’ two tallest towers are both located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower, and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere), and Trump International Hotel and Tower.

Chicago was integral to two architectural movements. It gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School. Large swaths of the city’s residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. The Chicago suburb of Oak Park was home to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had designed The Robie House located near the University of Chicago as well as many prominent buildings across the country.

Unlike many Midwestern and East Coast cities, Chicago tends to have wider streets. A positive effect of this is that it alleviates the feeling of being engulfed by the city’s large skyscrapers. Most of the city’s residential streets also tend to have a wide patch of grass and/or trees between the street and the sidewalk itself. This has the effect of keeping pedestrians walking on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic. Chicago’s Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago’s boulevards and parkways.

Enjoy more photos of Chicago @


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