Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Want to remodel my kitchen green in Miami

I have always wondered what is best way to build a new green kitchen without reusing old be up materials that are hard to restore. In a recent RealtorTV video many of my questions were answered.

First of all cabinets. Since are not many FSC certified cabinet makers in South Florida I was wondering what would be the best option. Bamboo !! It looks great,sustainable, and long lasting and grows about 4 ft a day.. For the counter tops I prefer recycled glass from Vetrazzo but the new 100 % recycled paper products out on the market are really nice also. Since I live in Miami and terrazzo floors are so common here it RG mirrors the look and feel I like.

Energy Star appliances and low flo faucets are a must. One unique feature of the video was the built in composting bin. I loved it. Definitely will recommend that to my clients if they do a remodel. LED lighting is also a big consideration, it emits no heat and lasts for over 50,000 hours and is a wonderful energy saver when entertaining a night.
I found this video really usefull for what to look for in the new Green kitchens of today.

Looking for a real estate agent that can help you buy,sell,lease,retrofit,remodel or planning your next dream Green home. Email me at

Carlos del Amo
Smart Growth Realty,LLC

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting to know Miami Dade County's Walkable Neighborhoods and WalkScore rankings


Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities.

Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15–45.

Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines.

More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car!

Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.

Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It's easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don't need to drive between destinations.

Miami Dade Walkscore Rankings

Aventura Walkscore - 85

■Bal Harbour Walkscore - 78

■Carol City Walkscore - 54

Coconut Grove Walkscore - 37

■Coral Gables Walkscore - 57

■Cutler Bay Walkscore - 49

■Doral Walkscore - 46

Downtown Miami Walkscore - 92

■Hialeah Walkscore - 72

■Homestead Walkscore - 89

■Kendall Walkscore - 83

Key Biscayne Walkscore - 83

■Miami Beach Walkscore - 94

■Miami Gardens Walkscore - 49

■Miami Lakes Walkscore - 65

■Miami Shores Walkscore - 66

■Miami Springs Walkscore - 69

■North Miami Walkscore - 78

■Palmetto Bay Walkscore - 18

Pinecrest Walkscore - 26

■South Miami Walkscore - 80

■Sunny Isles Walkscore - 63

■Surfiside Walkscore - 62

■Tamiami Walkscore - 57

Walkscores were calculate by inputting city name only on Your home's walkscore may vary greatly based on its actual location.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Smart Growth Realty lists Ecovida Net Zero green home in North Miami Beach by Developer Dane Jackman

Smart Growth Realty and Developer Dane Jackman have teamed to introduce the latest in Green Smart home Technology " The Ecovida Smart Home Project"

The Ecovida Smart home designed by builder and visionary Dane Jackman,LEED AP and founder of Jackman Construction has outdone himself in achieving an "Net Zero" energy efficient home.

It is with great excitement that the EcoVida Development Group introduces the EcoVida Smart Home. A pioneering project bringing like minded people, companies and institutions together for a common goal to educate, to raise awareness and to change people’s mindsets about sustainable and green living.

The showcase house will feature one of the most extensive uses of green building products and integrated “smart” technologies ever assembled in one demonstration house; to create a true Net-Zero, 100% energy efficient and self-sustaining building. The 1,726 sf, 3-Bedroom, 2-Bath home will be crafted with green materials and products that are donated by building partners and sponsors.

Some of the home's unique green features include :

Solar Panels for generating the home’s electricity needs with Net Metering.
Solar Water Heater for generating the home’s hot water needs.

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls and ceilings providing air tight super insulation, superior hurricane and fire resistance.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) multi-split AC system for independently heating and cooling different zones.

HEPA air filtration and purification systems.
Fully automated smart panel for integrating and controlling energy management, audio visual, Compact Fluorescent lighting, communications and home security systems.

A Green Roof for turf replacement, insulation and vegetation growth.

A Rain Capture System for flushing toilets, washing clothes and washing cars.

Highly efficient windows and skylights for natural interior lighting and ventilation.

Outdoor living areas including a roof top terrace, an interior courtyard and green decking.

Electric charging station in the garage for Electric Vehicle.

Energy Star appliances and water efficient plumbing fixtures.

No- or low-VOC paints

Biometric and remote door access - open and lock the doors from anywhere in the world through internet or cell phone.

Permeable driveway and walkway made of recycled material to reduce surface water run-off.

Xeriscape Landscaping - low water consuming plants and gardening practices that significantly lower water consumption.

Finish materials throughout made from recycled content or from renewable sources.

Miami Dade Walkscore Rating - 67

If you are interested in finding out more about building the Ecovida Smart Home, please email us.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Foreign investors are buying up distressed condos at Epic and Wind in Miami

Even though the housing market is still stabilizing in Miami, there is definitely a bright spot on the horizon. Speculators who created this housing bubble are few to be seen and investors are coming up to the plate. Investors look to buy a rock bottom prices and either rehab and resell or hold these properties long term to build a nice investment portfolio of real estate.
Take for example Downtown Miami. A group of foreign investors from Venezuela recently purchased 40 plus units at the Wind by Neo complex at bulk pricing for about $160-$170 a square foot. Furthermore, a group from Italy just bought 18 units the the Epic high-rise condo built by Italian Land developer and owner of CMC construction Hugo Colombo. Epic is the jewel building in downtown located at where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. We see more and more foreigners buying our real estate in Miami than ever before. The strong Euro is still a huge advantage for the foreign buyer, even though it was not as strong as 6 months ago, I fell there is added pressure to buy before prices start going up. Brazil has also enjoyed a strong overall economy and is starting to purchase distressed condos in the Downtown Miami area also.

Living in Miami for over 40 years I would have never thought to see prices in most cases at below replacement value not factoring land costs. I had a friend who bought in 1990 a 3/2 fixer upper in the Shenandoah area of Miami for $95K. A client of mine bought 9 months ago a bigger home in same condition in 2009 for $115K in a foreclosure. What, no inflation in 19 years? Things are out of whack here and make no sense in most cases; however investors are making sense of the current market conditions and are jumping in!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Opening Day experience at AIA national convention on Miami Beach


On Thursday my wife Giselle and I were invited by our good friend Jorge Blet from Mechoshade to come visit the 2010 AIA national convention at the Miami Beach Convention center.

We arrived via my Solar Utility Vehicle as it is known by these days and saw that the parking lot was full. I expected a good turnout as well inside. Boy was I wrong.

The show itself was filled with wonderful vendors from all over the country showcasing their product lines. We met vendors from Chicago putting up Green roofs in Miami for several commercial buildings, Sustainable flooring companies using bamboo and coconut palms to name a few, however the halls were fairly empty for being opening day.

As we walked down the mostly empty recession struck aisles Giselle and I were invited to eat upstairs at the Asian restaurant compliments of Mechoshade. Well let me tell you that it was the worst Asian food I have ever had along with it's dysfunctional staff made lunch an adventure. First of all the staff had to write peoples names on the back of a take out menu in pencil. Secondly the hungry crowd grew larger and more hostile. Exhibitors from other states were amazed by the disorganization occurring.

I felt like saying "Welcome to Miami" or "Welcome Back to Wonderland Alice" It is a unique place here living in it for over 40 years. Well, back to the food or lack of. We ordered PAD THAI. How bad can you screw up :Chicken,Rice,Vegetables and Noodles. Well they did. We received our meals in these to go white containers and thought you have to be kidding. The meal tasted like the cardboard box that it came in.
I know that place will be changing ownership soon.

As for the rest of the show,we saw some friends from Pro Energy Auditors and Birgit from Resysta Deck Flooring. We were able to walk most of the show but could not finish due to time restraints.Overall,we had a good time and were impressed with the new innovations and products in the field of architecture for 2010.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Green Miami agent gets designation to help distressed homeowners

April 2010- Carlos del Amo of Coldwell Banker, today announced the creation of a new information Web site for Miami-area homeowners in distress. contains vital facts about the options available to these homeowners, to help them make the educated decisions about their future.

“I developed this site with my community in mind,” Del Amo said. “When faced with the possibility of foreclosure, I’ve seen too many homeowners make poor choices, even walking away from their homes without calling their lender or a real estate agent. These people didn’t know the options available, or even how to find any information on their situation.

"I want more for the people of Miami Dade County, and more comes with making informed decisions.”

My site acts as a hub for information on the facts and issues for struggling homeowners, putting all the necessary information in one, easy-to-use location. The information and materials located on the site are regularly updated to reflect market changes, trends, new lender requirements, and industry updates.

Alex Charfen
, co-founder and CEO of the Distressed Property Institute in Austin, Texas, said that more than seven out of 10 homeowners in foreclosure proceed without any visible assistance.

“Agents with the Certified Distressed Property Expert® designation are helping distressed homeowners understand that there may be options available to them,” Charfen said. “Carlos del Amo" has been trained to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, and this Web site resource to educate the community is a commendable public service.”

The CDPE designation provides real estate professionals with specific understanding of the complex issues confronting the real estate industry. Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPEs are able to provide solutions for homeowners facing hardships in today’s market.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dream in Green Fundraising Event at Coverings in North Miami

On Saturday night my wife Giselle and I attended the annual Dream in Green Fundraising event at Coverings in North Miami. Dream in Green's mission is to develop and implement programs that promote energy conservation and efficiency, environmental sustainability, and the use of renewable energy. This organization builds partnerships with local schools, governments, and businesses for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and our reliance on fossil fuels. One of the night’s special guests was Miami Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M Carvalho. He received an award for his effort and excellence in promoting The Green Schools challenge, a unique program for educating K-12 students about environmental and energy challenges and getting them involved in real world solutions that reduce energy consumptions. The successful event attracted over 100 guests. There was also a silent auction with some unique and interesting items. Some of the items ranged from recycled handbags to Energy Audits courtesy of Pro Energy consultants. My fellow Coldwell Banker realtor Jenny May did a wonderful job in preparing the event and hosting the silent auction. My passion and vision for Miami being a 43 year resident is to see all homes be sustainable. This will require effort from all of us but, if we each do a little, we can make it happen.