Friday, July 20, 2012

Great Tips on How to Save Money, Be More Environmentally Friendly and Reduce Your Energy Usage as a Renter

By: Robert Gorden
As a renter, some tenants might not think about their electricity usage, especially if it is included in their rent.  However, it’s important to be conscious of your usage; not only to benefit the environment but to increase your savings. Here are twelve easy ways to help out:

1) Install a Programmable Thermostat. Installing this will save your unit a large amount of money. You can program it by temp, time, or cycle and keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
      2)Turn Off Power Strips.  Most people turn their lights off when they leave a room, but not many people think to turn off the power strips when they are not in use. Even if the devices plugged into the strips are turned off, the power strips are still are using “dead” energy and costing you money.
     3) Set Your Water Temperature.  Setting your water heater with a max temp of 120 degrees will save energy and costs.  The average temperate used is 115 degrees, so you’re unlikely to notice a difference while using the water.
     4) Use Caulk or Weather Stripping.  Sealing around doors and windows allows the energy you’re using to stay inside your home.
     5) Install Light Dimmers or Sensors.  Dimmer switches give you a middle option between full usage and no usage.  Sensors are not only convenient, but they prevent energy waste in the event that someone forgets to turn off a light.
     6) Switch to CFL or LED Bulbs.  These bulbs last longer and are more energy efficient.  The downside is that they take a little longer to reach their full brightness.
     7) Get Some Air.  Open windows and use fans to increase airflow and create cross-breezes.
     8) Convert Your Flush.  You can also reduce the amount of water your toilet uses by installing a dual flush converter.  The kits are short money for big savings.  
     9) Lower Your Flow.  Switch to a low-flow showerhead. The average shower used 3-5 gallons of water PER MINUTE!  An easy showerhead swap will save you more money than you think.
     10) Share Your Drinks.  If you have quenched your thirst before finishing your glass of water, pour the leftovers on your plants
     11) Close Those Curtains.  Keeping your window curtains closed during the sunniest parts of the day will actually keep your unit cooler.
     12) Check Your Sources.  Ask your utility company if they offer electricity purchased from renewable sources.  Some programs are eligible for tax breaks and refunds.

Don’t forget to check with your landlord before making any permanent physical changes.  If you’re given the go-ahead, ask your landlord about reimbursements or rent credits for the upgrades to the unit.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Changes in Downtown Crossing

By: Robert Gorden

Downtown crossing used to be a vibrant, fun,  popular area with shops, restaurants and large amounts  of  foot traffic . With the Copley Mall and Newbury Street taking over as our primary shopping areas, Downtown Crossing hasn’t been the same. There were whispers of turning the area into  a student village for both Suffolk University and Emerson College, who both occupy parts of Downtown Crossing. Unfortunately, the idea lacked support from the beginning and never came to fruition.   Perhaps the biggest indicator that Downtown Crossing has lost its shine can be found in the empty lot which used to be Filene’s Basement.  The prime location has gone unoccupied for months.

Proposed Drawing of the Bulding
Yet there might be hope for Downtown Crossing after all. Recently, Millennium Partners has announced new design plans for a tower to fill the Filene’s Basement lot which will cost around 615 million dollars. The company plans to turn the land into a tower that would hold approximately 500 residences and would also offer 200,000 square feet of office space, 525 parking spaces and 230,000 square feet of retail stores. 

It would look similar to the John Hancock tower as it would be slim, but tall.  The possibility of that many people living in the building could bring the much needed activity the area’s been desperate for.  With the addition of this tower, up-scale shops, more restaurants and high end retail stores might be tempted to set up shop.   

However, as many businesses, retail shops and restaurants are making their way to the new and improved Seaport district, it might still be hard to lure companies to Downtown Crossing.  The popularity of the Seaport District is on the rise and quickly transforming into a bustling commerce center.  As our Boston Property Management office is located in the Seaport District, we’ve been able to see these changes first hand.

Millennium’s tower could be the start of Downtown Crossing’s renaissance.  It’s a prime location; sandwiched between the Financial District, Government Center and the Boston Common.  We’ll be waiting on the edge of our seats to see if this leads to a resurgence of Downtown Crossing.