Living Sustainably

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Green Mortgages: An Overview

There are cost effective mortgages for (a) homes that are energy efficient and (b) property owners who want to make their current property energy efficient. Energy Efficient Mortgages or Green Mortgages provide homeowners the opportunity to borrow money for upgrades to energy efficient levels in their properties. Renovations can include:

  • Repairing or replacing the current chimney

  • Installing passive or active solar technology

  • Installation of a tankless water heaters

  • Installing double paned windows

  • Installing a modern HVAC systems

  • Installing insulation

The idea is to encourage eco-friendly living spaces that use fewer resources for cooling and heating. Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs have green mortgage programs. Freddie Mac offers projected utility savings by taking upgrades into the equation when establishing loan amounts.


While details may vary depending on mortgage lenders and companies, there are three distinctive types of green mortgages.

  • Conventional EEM
    Offered by lenders selling properties to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Borrow up to 15% of the property’s appraised value to upgrade green levels

  • Federal Housing Administration EEM
    Borrow up to 5% of property value or $4,000, whichever’s greater. The maximum on the loan is $8,000

  • Veteran Administration EEM
    For past and present military personnel. If purchasing an existing property, allowed green upgrades of up to $6,000, regardless of property value


If your home is currently energy efficient, financing could be approved. Approval will also depend on the inspection rating. If the property needs some upgrades, improvement cost must be determined before contacting a lender. After an initial consultation, they’ll suggest a licensed energy rater to inspect the property. The rater will present a report in the form of a Home Energy Rating System, or HERS, which is provided to both homeowners and lenders. HERS costs between $300 and $800 and usually includes:

  • Rating of property as is

  • Recommendations for upgrades

  • Estimated pricing, savings and life of upgrades

  • Estimate of property’s rating after upgrades

  • Before and after estimations of property’s annual energy costs


Green mortgages are not second mortgages since it is rolled into a current mortgage and the owner continues making one payment. There are green mortgage with discounts on fees and/or interest rates for energy efficient certified properties.


A green mortgage is an excellent way for homeowners to save money in the long term and an incomparable way to change one’s footprint. You can get credit for existing eligible utilities. They also provide peace of mind to you, your family and your guests as you all benefit from a healthier environment.

Brentt Taylor is a staff writer of For 18 years of existence, the website has been providing news, articles and finance-related tools that aim to help consumers create smart financial decisions.


Gardening for Nutrition

A lot of folks have gardens. It’s a wise thing to do, especially in this economy. However, what are you growing? Are you growing foods because of taste, tradition, or are you considering the food value of what you are growing. For instance, beets are very low in nutritional value, but the leaves are very high. Are you using the leaves?

Certain combinations of food act as catalysts for the nutrition of other foods. Adding dried Moringa leaves to your recipes can really spike the food value of the dish you are preparing, often without knowledge of it’s inclusion.

A balanced diet contains legumes, cereal, leafy greens, and some root crops (sweet potato), even if no meat is available. The combination works with each other, adding benefits that one can not provide alone.

I highly recommend you check out the following free resources, and start improving your health by eating better, and gaining the value of the exercise gardening provides.

A (sub) tropical guide to year round vegetable gardening (greenhouses in cold climates qualify)

Preventing micronutrient malnutrition: a guide to food-based approaches…


Non-Hybrid Survival Seeds Arrived

Yesterday I received my package of survival seeds from It will store for 5-10 years, and contains enough corn, peas, radish, onion, beet, tomato, spinach, cabbage, swiss chard, lettuce, carrot, pepper, squash, cucumber and beans to cover a 3/4 acre. Germination tested, Non-Hybrid, Heirloom, Non-GMO, and packaged in water tight mylar for long term storage. It’s a good value, and it ensures the food safety of your family. Great for seed saving. Comes complete with planting information and gardening tips. We recommend it!

Free Seed Saving Information –

We also recommend our ebook on harvesting and purifying rain water for drinking, cooking, and irrigation. See, and our water saving videos on laundry and composting at


Why BAC is likely the most efficient food on Earth

“If you take care of each cell in your body, disease cannot happen.” -Harvey Diamond, as quoted in “Never be sick again”, 1992

By now most people have heard about algae and their phenomenal nutritive value. But hardly any people have heard about Bio-Algae Concentrates. How can there be such superior blends of algae as BAC that when put together are hundreds of time more nutritionally functional than any single algae. We say that BAC is an “extremely efficient food” because of unique or combination of characteristics. Im the pages that follows, I will describe several of these characteristics;
nutritive as in nutrients for energy, growth and repair
protective as in nutrients for figthing and protecting
complete as in over 5,000 nutrients,
balance as in the “science” not just the “art” of proper food combination,
synergistic as in the whole is greater then the sum of its part
whole algae as in whole food
organic as in pure
For a start, a major advantage with BAC is that it contains not only nutrients with Nutritive properties, but unlike most blue-green algae, BAC also contains high levels of nutrients with Protective properties.

Nutritive Nutrients

BAC’s blue-green algae contain highly Nutritive nutrients and elements like proteins, vitamins, enzymes and chlorophyls from its blue-green algae. In one example, BAC contains many times the digestible protein of fish or meat, it contains the full amino acids spectrum; not just 8 of 16, but all known amino acids. For this reason, it’s one of the highest source and best assimilable form of protein.

Protective Nutrients

BAC contains from its red algae high level of nutrients with extraordinary Protective properties in the form of mixed carotenoids and other free-radical fighting agents. For example, BAC contains astaxanthin, clinically proven to be hundreds of time more efficient as a free radical antioxidant power than vitamin E or vitamin C and at least 20 times more efficient than even beta-carotene.



Extreme off grid, with kids

When Lawren Richards made the shift from jet-setting business woman to single mom with two young children in a 400 square foot cottage, she embraced the change, and now lives off grid in the woods where she is teaching her children the value of self sufficiency. Read more at