May 2011 Hawaii Green Realty Newsletter

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May the Forrest Be With You…
News For A Greener Future                                                                       May 2011

Grand Green Homes Tour – A Great Success
On May 1, Hawaii Green Realty co-sponsored the first annual Kona-Kohala Grand Green Homes Tour along with Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and West Hawaii Mediation Center. In Kohala, Waimea and Kona, the Grand Green Homes Tour visitors toured homes that feature numerous sustainable features, providing an education on building, landscaping and decorating ideas that are more earth friendly. Four homes were offered on the tour in each of the three West Hawaii regions and were visited by scores of interested families.

The big news to me is that there are so many energy-smart homes already built in our community—and it gives people in the community strong examples to follow as they make small changes or bigger changes over time.

Healthy-home & energy-saving improvements have become mainstream many other parts of the world—with Hawaii’s very high energy costs—they make more financial sense than almost any other US state. have much better return-on-investment here because of Hawaii’s.

Did you know that our Big Island electricity costs 4-times the national average?  Across the country, electricity costs and average of 10.9¢ per kilowatt-hour— ours is 43¢.

It means that a Big Island solar electric system pays for itself 4 times faster!


“But Forrest, How Can I Afford Solar?”

The New Home Efficiency Financing Program

On April 21, 2011, the US Dept of Energy & U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) unveiled on April 21 a list of 18 lenders offering low-cost loans to homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. These new “PowerSaver” loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, will offer homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy efficient improvements of their choice. Applicants can use the loans for the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems. Sounds like progress!


Launched! à Green Source Advisors


How do you know who to hire when it comes to making improvements to your home? Or to step into a new & more energy-smart, sustainable lifestyle—from home design to home food production? We have launched Green Source Advisors as a green business referral network & website. Suppliers of solar & wind systems, green home remodelers, builders and architects, permaculture designers, etc etc are being invited to join a carefully selected circle that can advise families on the best steps they might take toward green.

If you know someone you would recommend, please let us know at


Cool Fact: How much of our electricity is generated from renewable sources?

Americans used renewable energy sources — water (hydroelectric), wood, biofuels, wind, organic waste, geothermal, and sun — to meet about 8% of our total energy needs in 2009. I wonder what it is now?

May The Forrest Be With You                                                                      Pg 2. May 2011

“Community Harvest Hawaii Project” Awarded Island Innovation Grant

Community Harvest Hawaii takes an age-old idea in Hawaiian culture—that of preparing and sharing food together— and creates a process that makes use of food that is currently going to waste in our community.


North Kohala’s Community Harvest Hawaii project was one of five projects chosen from more than 180 applicants for an Island Innovation Fund Grant. The Island Innovation Fund was established in 2010 as through generous support from Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder and chairman of eBay.


During a monthly “Community Harvest” day, community members are invited to bring their abundance from home- lemons, limes, tangerines, avocados, mangos, banana, etc.- to the Kohala Intergenerational Center to be processed and preserved by freezing, canning, pickling, smoking, fermenting and dehydrating.


The community will then enjoy a feast, everyone gets to take food home, and raw fruit and processed food will be distributed into the community through the Food Basket and the Senior Nutrition Program.  Local harvest teams will also be available to harvest fruit for kupuna or other community members who would like assistance with harvesting and are willing to share their excess with the community.


Community Harvest Hawaii is a partnership between the North Kohala Eat Locally Grown Campaign,

Ka Hana No‘eau &  Ho‘ea Agricultural Park, with support from the North Kohala Community Resource Center. The goals of the Community Harvest Hawaii project are to:


• Increase the health of communities by distributing fresh, local food.

• Increase the skill level in the community with regards to food preparation and food preservation techniques (smoke, pickle, can, freeze, ferment, and dehydrate).

• Strengthen the community through cooperative food preparation in a fun, multi-ethnic, learning environment.

• Examine the potential for economic opportunity through development of value-added products.


The first Community Harvest Hawaii will be on Saturday, June 25th, with produce drop off on the afternoon of Friday, June 24th. To donate fruit or participate in the project in any way– please call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.

Who Remembers the Works Progress Administration?

In early of  1935, US President Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration,  the New Deal’s largest and most ambitious agency. During its run, which ended in 1943 and cost about $11 billion, the WPA employed 8.5 million out-of-work people on 1.4 million individual projects; it built 651,000 miles of roads, streets & highways; constructed or repaired 124,000 bridges, 125,000 public buildings, more than 8,000 parks, and nearly 900 airport runways. The projects had to provide a real and lasting contribution, and could not take business away from private companies.  Maybe it’s time to crank up the WPA again—and focus our labors and resources on energy independence, building a greener economy and

learning some new simple-living skills.

May The Forrest Be With You                                                                   Pg 3. May 2011


Solar Heats UP…

At the May 5, 2011 PhotoVoltaic America conference in Philadelphia, the buzz was that the US is expected to be the hottest solar market in the next year, as global demand levels off. Bloomberg News released a story that installation cost of solar should reach $1.45/watt by 2020, half its current price. Since Hawaii’s energy costs are many times the national average, doesn’t it make sense to add solar panels to your current home or new property?


Homes’ solar panels often boost values

An April 2011 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar boosts the resale value of homes, both new and old. Not surprising. So here on Big Island, photovoltaic systems add even more value to a home because of the cash saved on Hawaii’s high-and-rising electricity costs.

“Hey Forrest…How’s the Market?”

This is surely a Frequently Asked Question. And I tell them “It’s good…and it depends.”


Right now, a few things add up to an Affordability Factor:

1/ Prices are down to a 5+ year low

2/ There are more properties on the market to choose from

3/ Loan rates are lower than in many years

4/ Some Sellers are even providing the loan for their Buyer

5/ With talk about the changing value of the dollar—real estate might be a stable place to invest


Will prices go down further? There is no alarm bell that goes off or flag that raises when we reach the low point in the market. But the factors above make this a great time to own Hawaii real estate—especially in a place as desirable as North Hawaii.

So when your friends, loved ones and neighbors are thinking about buying or selling, call me right away to introduce us so they get the best advice…  Forrest 987-2365


Hawaii Green Realty Selecting the Kohala Non-Profits for our Circle of Giving


For each month of the year ahead, Hawaii Green Realty donates a portion of each real estate sale to a North Kohala community non-profit. For May, a donation is being made to Kohala Aikikai Aikido Club in Kapaau. As the final selections are made, organizations that benefit Kohala will be selected.

Candidates include:
–Kohala Coqui Frog Coalition                            –Kohala Montessori School

–Kohala Lions’ Club                                          –Hawi Farmers Market

–Kohala Coalistion Against Drugs                      –Sustainable Kohala

–Hula Halau of Kumu Raylene Lancaster                      –Community Emergency Readiness Team


A Few Tips For Your Friends or Neighbors Searching for a home:

Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.
Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs—then get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

(More tips next month…)

“May The Forrest Be With You…”




Forrest Arnold (PB)



Hawaii Green Realty, LLC

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P.O. Box 474

Hawi, Hawaii  96719










5 Tips for Success in the Garden from Laura Fisher Kaiser

Carefully plan and plot your garden to add value to your home and make the most of your time and money. Walk your land, consult people who know the area, test the soil and make a budget. You’ll save your back, your budget, and get better results.


Tip #1: Get to know your land

Before shelling out money for new plants, look at what’s done well in past gardens. Ask, “Is this plant doing its job? Adding beauty? Providing shade? Producing food we want to eat?”.


Tip #2: Become sun savvy

Even experienced gardeners make mistakes. They plant shade-loving plants in full sun or sun-loving plants in partial shade. Before planting anything in your garden, compare the amount of sunlight your landscaping needs


Tip #3: Become water wise

Over-watering plants can kill your landscaping and budget. To avoid death by water, know how much and when your greens need to drink: most sales tags should have watering directions.

Tip # 4: Mulch much

Spreading a few inches of mulch in landscaping beds protects your plants and shrubs from drying out, and makes beds look tidy and uniform. Mulch also keeps down weeds and moderates soil temperature.

Tip #5: Avoid invaders

Some ivies, bushes, grasses, and vines will fill in your garden quickly, and just as quickly take over your landscaping. They are billed as “fast growers” or “aggressives,” but often that’s code for non-native plants that take over the landscape and crowd out locals by stealing nutrients, light, and water.

This newsletter is intended for entertainment purposes only.  Credit is given to the authors of various articles that are reprinted when the original author is known.  Any omission of credit to an author is purely unintentional and should not be construed as plagiarism or literary theft.


Copyright 2011 Forrest Arnold (PB), Hawaii Green Realty, LLC.  This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical, legal, financial or tax advice.  Any and all decision and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a qualified physician, attorney, financial advisor and/or CPA.  We cannot be held responsible for actions you may take without proper medical, financial, legal or tax advice.


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