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So many things to do & so little time …this weekend in the St Pete, Florida area. Such a variety that something should tickle your fancy.

Friday, June 9th

Brucie Klay Dance Center: Happily Ever After at The Mahaffey
A show containing all types of dance starring children ages 3-18. Includes many well known stories such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Babes in Toyland’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’. 7pm. $21. The Mahaffey, 400 1st Street South.

Cocktails at the Chihuly Collection
View the new special exhibition at the Chihuly Collection – Solas: Light Informs Glass while enjoying cocktails, light eats and a talk by Chihuly Collection Executive Director Andy Schlauch. 6-8pm. $25 per person. Chihuly Collection, 720 Central Avenue.

Tampa Bay Rays vs Oakland A’s at Tropicana Field (All Weekend)
The Rays face the Athletics this weekend in St. Pete. 7:10pm on Friday, 2:10pm on Saturday, 1:10pmon Sunday. On Friday, the Rays host their PRIDE Night! OneBlood will be on-site collecting blood donations from 4-9pm, and the Rays will salute Pulse Nightclub survivors with a recognition on the field, beginning at 6:30pm. Use code PRIDE5 at checkout for discount tickets. Special performances of the National Anthem and flag ceremony are also planned. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive.

Ink Mania: See the wide range of artistic, often beautiful forms of self expression at the Ink Mania tattoo convention this weekend at St. Petersburg’s Coliseum. You can get inked by a number of award-winning tattoo artists from around the world, get a body piercing, attend seminars and enter a tattoo contest. There’s an art fusion wall and a graffiti contest, as well as a pin-up pageant. The family-friendly expo features specialty vendors, live entertainment and a DJ battle. There will be beer and food trucks. Proceeds help benefit children with autism. Admission is $25 for a single-day ticket, $48 for two days or $60 for three. It runs from 2-11 p.m. Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. 535 Fourth Ave. N.

Project: Art Lounge: St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts invited area brewing companies to create Florida-themed limited batch “liquid art” for a one-night-only exhibition and tasting party on Friday. The evening will also include a special Florida-themed beer in celebration of the upcoming “Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration,” crafted by 2016’s Best of Show winner and the St. Pete Homebrew Club. The taps will be open at 7 p.m. at 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. $60, $45 for members in advance; $75 at door; $30 designated drivers. Includes beer tastings, glassware, food and the galleries.

Bone Fishing Slam and BBQ: A family friendly weekend of fishing, live music and barbecue with pig races each day is coming to Madeira Beach. “The Baddest BBQ on the Bone”, running in conjunction with the Bone Fishing Slam, will also have a boat showcase, marine and art vendors, a kids fishing rodeo, live concerts and a kids zone. Anglers of all ages and skill levels will compete in a multiple species, inshore and offshore fishing tournament with more than $25,000 in prizes up for grabs. Friday night will be one of the largest seawall fishing tournaments for kids in the state, and it’s free admission, free parking, free water ferry from parking lot to event site and even free fishing rods to the first 250 kids. The festival runs 5-11 p.m. today and Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday at the Madeira Beach recreation field at 200 Rex Place.

Saturday, June 10th

International Young Eagles Day Flight Rally at Albert Whitted Airport  AWESOME!!!
Come experience the thrill of flying with free flights for kids ages 8-17. You will have the chance to actually fly in an airplane and look at the world below you. You are invited to take to the skies and become a Young Eagle! 10am-1pm. Albert Whitted Airport, 451 8th Avenue Southeast.

Retro double-header: The Tampa Bay Rays will be in faux ’70s jerseys for a Turn Back the Clock event Saturday at the ballpark with ’70s music, “Hamburger Helper in a cone,” as well as TV dinners, fried Twinkies rolled in monster cereals, fried Kool-Aid and a Buzz Aldrin drink special. SAY WHAT?!?!??  For the 2:10 p.m. first game Saturday, the Rays will wear their retro uniforms, there will be a banner parade after the first game that fans are invited to join. One ticket gets admission to both games; prices start at $26.

Fringe Flea Market at Urban Deli and Drafts
Flea market under the stars during the St. Pete Art Walk in Grand Central District. Vendors include B + G Succulents; Soydles Candle Co.; Organic Beard Supply; Feathers, Fate & Steel Boutique; Crochet Diva; Nativa Accessories; Gems N Jewels By Delilah; Hahn’s Kettle Corn. 7-10pm. Urban Deli and Drafts, 2410 Central Avenue.

Works in Lego at Studio@620   YES!!!!
The Studio@620 presents a unique exhibition of artwork created with LEGO blocks from local artist Jay Hoff. Works are inspired by everything from Star Wars to your neighbor’s dog… that is to say something for everyone! Opening reception begins at 5pm. Free and open to the public. Studio@620, 620 1st Avenue South.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Rochester Rhinos at Al Lang Stadium
Bring #MLS2STPETE by packing the stadium. Join us this Saturday, June 10, to celebrate Pride Night at Al Lang Stadium!
The Rowdies host the Rochester Rhinos, presented by USAmeriBank, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. With the Green & Gold in second place in the USL East, the players need your support now more than ever to fight for first place! Come watch 90 minutes of nonstop soccer action! Tickets start at just $11 for kids, students and members of the military. Al Lang Stadium, 230 1st Street Southeast, St Pete

Third Eye Blind: The band’s self-titled debut has aged so well that it’s spawned a 20-year anniversary reissue and tour, during which they’ll play it front to back in full. Their show with Silversun Pickups hits Clearwater’s Coachman Park at 7 p.m. Saturday. $25.25 and up. (727) 791-7400.

Sunday, June 11th

Yoga on Tap at Green Bench Brewing with Alix, Zach & with musical guests DUO VIDA for a Flow Down in the great outdoors. These talented beauties will create an atmosphere that invites transformation. Begins at 11am. $10 in advance/$5 BE members (yearly or monthly unlimited)/$15 at the door. Green Bench, 1133 Baum Avenue North.

Rainwater Harvesting Workshop with Anthony Paglino at St. Pete Eco-Village
Learn how to build and install an internet connected rainwater harvesting system for your home garden from Anthony Paglino, creator of 1-5pm. St. Pete Eco-Village, 302 15th Street North.



                                                    water quality photo                                              Pinellas Realtor Organization


Neighborhood Advocates Initiative Water Quality  (02.18.16)

Here’s an issue for homeowners in Florida to watch.

As you know, water is Florida’s lifeblood and efforts are being made to improve water management, water quality, and water supply which will help keep our economy stable and growing.

During the 2016 session, Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) introduced bills enacting comprehensive statewide policies to help prevent a water crisis like the one California is struggling with.

Here’s what is included in both bills:

  • Creation of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. The goal would be to put programs in place that will protect and restore water flow and quality in the aquifer in order to improve conditions at “outstanding Florida Springs.”
  • Creation of a set of statewide standards that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in cooperation with water management districts and other regional water supply authorities, should operate by when it comes to collecting and analyzing water supply and quality. This will ensure reliable and valid data and testing results.
  • Establishment of water flow levels for the state’s natural springs. The DEP will oversee pollution control measures for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Estuary and the St. Lucie River and Estuary.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

Since these issues have the potential to impact you and our local economy, I thought that you might like to know about it.

On Earth Day, give a gift to the planet by planting a tree. With this simple act, you celebrate the earth by increasing its leafy canopy. One acre of forest absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and returns 4 tons of oxygen to about 18 people for a year. Not bad, eh?  Okay, so you can’t plant a tree in the ground because you live in an apartment or a  condo or you have 2 red thumbs. Well, then buy a potted tree to put on your balcony or in your courtyard. Every little leaf helps. Me? Why I’m planting yet another lemon tree today-in a very large pot to keep the size of the tree in check & easier for me to maintain.

In the meantime, try these quizzes:                                   royalty-free-earth-clipart-illustration-1104663

And visit these sites:

Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970.

Earth Day is held annually worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  Earth Day was first proposed in San Francisco in 1969. In 1970 Senator Gaylord Nelson started an environmental teach day for Earth Day on April 22, 1970 but it wasn’t until 1990 that Earth Day became an international day with 141 countries participating. More than 20 million people turned out for that first “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970. Dennis Hayes who had originally proposed Earth Day in 1969, organized it into what it is today. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year with billions of people participating. This year marks the 44th year.

April 22nd was chosen as the date for Earth Day because there was no conflict with any religious holidays, school exams and school breaks. Senator Nelson wanted as many students, especially college students, to participate as possible. It also happened to be the anniversary of the death of one the first American conservationist John Muir. John Muir was born in Scotland in 1938 and his family moved to a farm in Wisconsin when he was 11 years old. As a young man, he traveled across Canada and in 1867 he started his walk from Indiana to Florida. He then wrote a book about that journey entitled A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. In 1868 he arrived in San Francisco and then headed off for a week-long visit to Yosemite, calling it “The grandest of all special temples of Nature.” And as they, the rest is history…

John Muir wrote letters, essays, and 12 books telling of his adventures in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and started The Sierra Club.  John Muir Trail,  Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier among many others were named in his honor. He was instrumental in opening President Roosevelt’s eyes that there needed to be a national park service. They first met in 1903.

My great-great uncle Virgil T McCroskey was born in Tennessee in 1876 but spent most of his life in Eastern Washington. He retired from the pharmacy business in 1920 and spent the next few years traveling throughout Washington and California. Somewhere along the way, he met John Muir according to family letters. Virgil T. also saw the need for saving the old growth forests and the surrounding nature. So began his second career as an amateur conservationist. Virgil T. used his money and energies to buy parcels of land which eventually became two new state parks. The two state parks are: Steptoe Butte State Park in Washington State and Mary McCroskey State Park in Idaho. Vrigil T. McCroskey is listed as one of the top 200 “American conservationists”. How cool is that???  I became a member of the Sierra Club as a teenager long before I had ever heard of Virgil T. McCroskey but apparently conservation is in my blood.

Some things that you can do today to participate in Earth Day and every day are:

Reduce, reuse, recycle 

Buy locally and buy toxin-free products for your home (Seventh Generation is a great resource as well as others)

Walk around your town or city and pick up trash

Plant a tree and a garden, bring some plants into your home to help clean the indoor air

Use soaker hoses and put water system on a timer to water early in the morning

Start a compost pile

Fix dripping faucets

Ride your bike or walk to work 1-2 times a week

Take  photos of nature while walking on the beach or in the woods

Eat one of your organic meals outside while soaking up the rays, sights & sounds of nature

Use reusable shopping bags

Join your local Freecycle to pass along items instead of throwing them  away

Exchange your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones                                                                

Collect hazardous materials like paint and batteries and dispose of them  properly

Join a Community Supported Agriculture group

Educate yourself on environmental issues and renewable energy sources

Get involved with your local environmental groups by donating time and/or money

AND just for fun, take CNN’s Earth Day Quiz:

I think that this is the home that I’ve been looking for.

NEW YORK – Aug. 15, 2012 – The HGTV cable channel will construct its first HGTV Smart Home in Paradise Key South Beach in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. Designed to fit into the coastal Northeast Florida architecture, the home will feature the latest technology and incorporate many of energy-saving features.
HGTV viewers can enter for a chance to win the home next spring when the HGTV Smart Home Giveaway opens for entries in April 2013. They can follow construction progress at
Smart home technology connects many appliances and devices, and allows homeowners to monitor energy use and control systems such as security, interior climate, lighting and other electronics.
Designed by architect Mike Stauffer, AIA, and constructed by Glenn Layton Homes, the HGTV Smart Home will measure about 2,400 square feet with over 1,000 square feet of covered porches, decks and a pool. The project will use primarily local labor and materials.
“This community’s thoughtful design vision and refreshing coastal architecture make Paradise Key a remarkable place to live and a wonderful setting to showcase the first HGTV Smart Home,” says developer Lon Walton. “We have an outstanding beach community, and we are very excited about teaming with HGTV and having the First Coast as the first location for the HGTV Smart Home.”
© 2012 Florida Realtors®

also see:

St Pete and the Tampa Bay area aren’t just for old folks! There are so many things to do here this weekend for young, old and in between.

Friday, July 27 at 8:45 a.m.   Bucs Training Camp 2012

    One Buc Place One Buccaneer Place, Tampa FL 33607  The public is invited to a series of free Bucs practices, with autograph sessions, free parking, a merchandise tent, discounted concessions and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders. Free  call 813) 870-2700 for more info & other dates.

Friday, July 27 at 10 a.m.   Sunken Gardens Docent Tours

    Sunken Gardens 1825 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg   Trained docents lead tours of Sunken Gardens. (only minutes from my house-pretty cool place to see what the area looked like before people took over)

Friday, July 27 at 10 a.m.   Celebrate the Olympics

    Glazer Children’s Museum  110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa   celebrates the opening of the 30th Olympic Summer Games and includes lessons about sports using relays, challenges and games.

Friday, July 27 at 1 p.m.   Old-Time Adventures in Florida

  • Heritage Village  11909 125th St., Largo    Children will learn how early homesteaders, fishermen and sailors lived and worked through songs, games, a take-home toy-making project and other hands-on activities. Teen volunteer docent lead two-hour program. $3.

Friday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m.   Fourth Friday Food Truck Festival

    Corey Avenue Area 155 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach   Street festival brings a lineup of food trucks with arying cuisines and an array of menu choices, accompanied by music and local merchants open late. Barbecue specialists including Smokin J’s, the Hogfather, Just Smokin’, Old City Grille, McCall’s and Mr. I Got ‘Em.

Friday, July 27 at 6 p.m.   Marvels of the Mediterranean

    Pasadena Liquors & Fine Wines  1100 Pasadena Ave. S, Suite 1, South Pasadena  Wines from Palm Bay International Wines & Spirits paired with light hors d ‘oeuvres from Da Sesto Italiano Ristorante.

Friday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m.   Art in the PARC

      Synovus Bank  333 Third Ave. N, St. Petersburg  This event features more than 1,000 pieces of artwork and jewelry created by PARC artists with developmental disabilities with food, refreshments and music. benefits PARC. Free.

Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m.    Dive-In Movies: Featuring ‘Jaws’

        St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach  Bring your floats and chairs every Friday for the fun. Get there early so you can float and swim before the film starts. This week features an 18-and-older-only screening of



Friday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m.  Summer Jazz Series: With the Denise Moore Trio

    Museum of Fine Arts 255 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg  Some of the Tampa Bay area’s best jazz musicians will perform Fridays during the fifth season of this music series. Music takes place in the museum’s glass conservatory, and the MFA Cafe will be open for dinner and a beer and wine cash bar.  $10, $5 members, includes museum admission

Friday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.   Sugarland

    1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre  4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa FL   Singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles and instrumentalist Kristian Bush make up the platinum-selling country duo.  $30.25-$65.

Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m.   Travis Porter

    Jannus Live 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg FL    The  rap group at Jannus Live. $25.

Friday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.   Ben Vereen

        University of South Florida Theater 1  4202 E Fowler Ave. Tampa  Tony winning Broadway performer Ben Vereen-

Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Roots,


The Muppet Show

      .  He performs in a concert at USF’s Theatre I to benefit the Broadway Theatre Project. $65.50.

Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m.    Magic Fridays

        Push Ultra Lounge 128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg   The Florida Chippendales,the group that inspired the movie

Magic Mike,

      are bringing a women’s-only beefcake show to Push every week as part of Magic Fridays. $5.

Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m.   The Foreigner

    American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg     Larry Shue’s classic play, set in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, shows what can happen when a group of devious characters deal with a (very shy) stranger whom they think knows no English. Through Aug. 19.$29-$47, $10 student rush 30 minutes before show.

Saturday, July 28 at 9 a.m.   Florida-Friendly garden and free rain barrels

    Campbell Park and Community Center  601 14th St. S, St. Petersburg   Help plant a Florida-Friendly garden (bring gloves and small spade) or listen to talk on Florida Friendly principles at others, and then build your own rain barrel to take home. Limited number of rain barrels. Email or call for more information. Free on first come, first seated basis.

Friday, July 27 at 9:30 a.m.   Summer Nights at Busch Gardens

    Busch Gardens 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa   Busch Gardens celebrates the arrival of summer with extended hours, a new Latin-infused show, fireworks, DJ dancing and special shows. Park hours are 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays.  For a complete schedule, visit the site. Included with regular daily admission.

Saturday, July 28 at 3 p.m.   Antiwarpt Music Festival

      State Theatre  687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg  Nearly 100 bands and DJs will perform in 10 different venues throughout St. Pete at this third annual Antiwarpt includes a who’s who of Tampa Bay’s best bands, in addition to its biggest headliner to date: The Mountain Goats, who packed out Crowbar earlier this year. Also on the bill are Adriane Younge, SUNBEARS!; and Two Cow Garage. But as usual, it’s the Florida artists who are the stars of the show: Tallhart; Have Gun, Will Travel; The Groves; Sleepy Vikings; The Semis; Set and Setting; Kaleigh Baker;  Alexander and the Grapes; Palantine; Poetry N’ Lotion; Car Bomb Driver; Lauris Vidal; Andy Matchett and the Minks; a reunion performance by Mouse Fire; Roadkill Ghost Choir; Auto!Automatic!!; Greenland is Melting; Dukes of Hillsborough; Sounduo and many more perform at State Theatre, Local 662, Morean Arts Center, Fubar, Cafe Bohemia, Emerald Lounge, Sake Bomb, Star Booty, Ramblin’ Rosies and Octave. $25 advance, $30 at the door.

Saturday, July 28 at noon   Historic River Cruise

    Yacht StarShip  603 Channelside Drive, Tampa   Enjoy a family-friendly buffet brunch as you cruise along Hillsborough River to see historic sights including draw bridges, Curtis Hixon Park, the Museum of Art, University of Tampa and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. $34.95, $19.95 children.

Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m.   National Dance Day Celebration

    The Long Center  1501 N Belcher Road, Clearwater   Celebrate National Dance Day with Fabio Barros, Zumba Convention presenter of the Brazilian Carnival workshop and Mo Diakite, presenter of The African Workout workshop, together for first time in Tampa Bay. Fabio will bring his Brazilian flavor and Mo his African heritage to make this event unique and fun. Advance tickets $20; $25 at the door.

Saturday, July 28 at 7 p.m.   Once Upon a Mattress

        Carrollwood Cultural Center 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa  Musical adaptation of

The Princess and The Pea

Advance: $12, $8 members. Day of: $14, $10 members. (Oh my, we did this play when I was in high school)

Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m.   Kiss and Motley Crue

    1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa  Two of the most notorious rock ‘n’ roll groups are teaming up for a summer megatour that features the groups’ biggest hits. $36-$157

Saturday, July 28 at 7 p.m.   International Film Festival

        Studio@ 620  620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg  —   Tampa Bay International Film Festival presents an ongoing monthly series of internationally acclaimed films harvested from the Global Film Initiative catalog. This portion features Granaz Moussavi’s film

My Tehran For Sale

      , filmed in Farsi and English with English subtitles. In the film, a terminally ill actress wearily relates her desperate quest for political asylum through a series of interviews with an unsympathetic government official. It boldly registers the trials of a modern woman struggling to flourish in Iran’s contemporary political climate. $8, $5 students with I.D.

Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m.   Tampa Bay Rowdies: vs. FC Edmonton

    Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field  180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg  Soccer or football, whichever you prefer to call it

Sunday, July 29 at 11:30 a.m.   Vans Warped Tour

    Vinoy Park 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg  Daylong mashup of punk, hardcore, reggae-rock, and more at this long-running annual festival. Bands performing at this year’s event include headliners New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday, We The Kings, Breathe Carolina, All Time Low, Streetlight Manifesto, Mayday Parade, Senses Fail, Bayside, Miss May I, Yellowcard, Pierce the Veil, Four Year Strong and rapper Machine Gun Kelly, Of Mice and Men, Falling In Reverse, Sleeping With Sirens, Transit, blessthefall, Motionless In White, Man Overboard, Memphis May Fire, Chelsea Grin, Every Time I Die, I Fight Dragons, iwrestledabearonce, Polar Bear Club, Sick of Sarah, the Constellations and Title Fight. $40.

Sunday, July 29 at noon   Yoga + Dali

    Dali Museum  One Dali Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg  The vinyasa/ashtanga-based classes are held in the Community Room or Avant-Garden with relaxing views of the waterfront. Bring a mat and a towel. $15, $10 members.

Sunday, July 29 at 7 p.m.   Yes in concert

    Ruth Eckerd Hall 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater  Yes performs with openers Procol Harum.$45, $65, $85, $110.
    (Your Move, Roundabout)

5 Smart Home Products from a Cool Trade Show

By:  John Riha

Published: July 2, 2012

The 2012 Pacific Coast Builders Conference has a dazzling array of brainy products that take the worry out of having to think for yourself.

I’m a sucker for home products that are smarter than I am. OK, maybe that’s setting the bar too low, but when looking for intelligently designed stuff that has a little techno-pop to it, the annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco is a great place to start.
PCBC trots out some of the slick-but-common-sense innovations in the industry. Here are a few of the products I saw at the recent 2012 PCBC that I’d buy for my own home. A couple are a bit pricey, but expect costs to come down as demand increases.
1. Windows that let you know if they’re locked

Window lock

In this peanut butter-and-jelly corporate pairing, Andersen Windows teamed up with Honeywell to create a home security system. Wireless sensors embedded in Andersen’s Verilock-equipped products (marketed through their Eagle and Silver Line windows and doors) know if windows and doors are open or closed, and if they’re locked or not.

The info is displayed at a centrally located control panel, or you can check from your smartphone or tablet.
The setup and a couple of 2-by-5-foot casement windows is about $2,500. Windows with Verilock are 20% more expensive than without.
2. Shingles that give you solar power

Solar shingle

A grail of the solar energy industry has been to create a good-looking residential roofing shingle that’s also a solar panel. The Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle comes close. It looks like a regular asphalt shingle, albeit a real shiny one, and it’s designed to integrate with regular asphalt shingles.
The manufacture claims:

  • They’ll withstand 110 mph winds and 1-inch hail.
  • For $31,000 worth of new roofing featuring both Powerhouse and regular asphalt shingles, a 2,550-sq.-ft. house would see $76,000 worth of energy savings in 25 years.

3. Soil guru waters your lawn when needed

Irrigation controller

One thing that makes a lot of sense when it comes to home automation (not everything does) is smart irrigation control, and the ESP-SMT Irrigation Controller from Rain Bird seems to have a lot going for it in the smarts department. Input your ZIP code and the integrated sensor monitors daily weather conditions and turns on the irrigation system only when needed. Rain Bird claims 30% to 50% less water consumption than a conventional controller.
It also factors in the slope of your lawn, the amount of sun exposure, and soil type; and it handles up to 13 individual zones and meets EPA WaterSense criteria for irrigation controllers. $135.
4. A bathroom fan that lights up when it sees you

Home vent fan

Our bathroom fan sounds like a 747 taking off — you flinch and duck when you turn it on. Thankfully, fan engineering is getting quieter, and Panasonic’s WhisperSense-Lite bathroom fan adds motion sensors, a humidity sensor, a delay timer, and a night light. Plus, it’s Energy Star qualified and really quiet — great for concentrating on that crossword puzzle. $350.
5. Chic — and safe — shower stall

Curbless shower pan

This isn’t necessarily high-tech, but I’ve been looking for a curbless shower pan for our own (endless) bathroom renovation; this one could fit the bill nicely.
The barrier-free shower is standard for universal design installations, but walk-in showers are tres chic for today’s bathrooms, and by golly we want one. The Tuff Form Shower Base from Design Without Barriers has a slight slope to drain water — no need to pitch the subfloor — and it works with either ceramic tile or vinyl flooring.
A 3-by-3-foot shower base is about $1,000.
Which product would you buy? Are you a must-have-the-latest technology person or someone who’ll wait until prices come down?

Visit for more articles like this.


With the heat wave hitting so much of the country, water use is up quite a bit. Another incentive for using less water in daily life, so you
can use some water to keep yourself
cooler with hoses, sprinklers & pools without feeling too guilty. Don’t forget to drink more water too.

You can easily reduce your water usage with a few simple tips:

  • Use a low-flow showerhead and put a bucket in the shower to catch the water while you are waiting for the hot water. Then you can use it to water
    plants or for cleaning floors, etc.
  • Turn off water while brushing your teeth. Use just enough water to wet your toothbrush & then when rinsing.
  • Check water heater for leaks and rust. If leaking or rusty you need to replace it. You might want to consider getting a gas tankless water heater.
  • Inspect faucets, sinks, and pipes for leaks. Repair or replace as necessary.
  • Install low-flow on all fixtures in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor showers, outdoor kitchens & anywhere else that you may have sinks or
    toilets (garages) to cut hot-water consumption in half.
  • Use timers on your irrigation system or drip hoses to water early in the morning & for longer duration on fewer days. Longer water times gets the water deeper into the ground & to the plant roots. Watering earlier in the day means less water less to evaporation.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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