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Fixing Up Your Home: Protect Your Housing Investment

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  • Your home is an investment in living as well as in savings. If neglected, it will pay no dividends. If properly maintained and improved, it will pay a high yield in comfort and usefulness for your family and in avoidance of costly repair bills. Home improvements also tend to raise neighborhood standards and, as a result, property values. From an economic standpoint, home improvements mean higher employment, increased markets for materials and home products–and therefore a more flourishing community.

    If You Do It Yourself

    If you are handy with tools and have the experience, you can save money by doing many jobs yourself. But unless you are skilled in wiring, plumbing, installing heat systems, and cutting through walls, you should rely on professionals for such work. 

    When you buy the required materials, it pays not to skimp. Good materials are not necessarily the most expensive. What you need are products that look good, are easy to maintain, and last a long time. Buy only from reliable dealers. 

    If You Use a Contractor

    If you plan to use the services of a dealer or contractor, take care to choose one with a reputation for honesty and good workmanship. There are several ways to check on a contractor: 

    • Consult your local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, or Local Consumer Protection Agency.
    • Talk with people for whom he has done work. 
    • Ask your lender about him, if you plan to finance the project with a loan. 
    • Check his place of business to see that he is not a fly-by-night operator. 
    • Find out, if you can, how he rates with known building-product distributors and wholesale suppliers. 
    • Ask friends and relatives for names of firms that they could recommend. 
    Compare Contractor Offers

    Before deciding on a contractor, you may want to get bids from two or three different firms. Make sure that each bid is based on the same specifications and the same grade of materials. If these bids vary widely, find out why. 

    Many contractors offer package plans that cover the whole transaction. Under such a plan the contractor provides all materials used, takes care of all work involved, and arranges for your loan. 

    Your contractor can make the loan application for you, but you are the one who must repay the loan, so you should see that the work is done correctly. 

    Understand What You Sign

    The contract that both you and the contractor sign should state clearly the type and extent of improvements to be made and the materials to be used. Before you sign, get the contractor to spell out for you in exact terms: 

      • How much the entire job will cost you. 
    • How much interest you will pay on the loan.
    • How much you will pay in service charges.
    • How many payments you must make to pay off the loan, and how much each of these payments will be.

    After the entire job is finished in the manner set forth in your contract, you sign a completion certificate. By signing this paper you certify that you approve the work and materials and you authorize the lender to pay the contractor the money you borrowed. 

    Beware of Fraud

    Most dealers and contractors conscientiously try to give their customers service equivalent to the full value of their money. Unfortunately, home improvement rackets do exist. Here are a few common sense rules to follow: 

    • Read and understand every word of any contract or other paper before you sign it. 
    • Never sign a contract with anyone who makes fantastic promises. Reputable dealers are not running give-away businesses. 
    • Avoid wild bargains. The best bargain is a good job. 
    • Never consolidate existing loans through a home improvement contractor. 
    • Do not let salespeople high-pressure you into signing up to buy their materials or services. 
    • Be wary of salespeople who try to scare you into signing for repairs that they say are urgent. Seek the advice of an expert as to how urgent such repairs are. High-pressure and scare tactics are often the mark of a phony deal. 
    • Avoid salespeople who offer you trial purchases or some form of bonus, such as cash, for allowing them to use your house as a model for any purpose. Such offers are well-known gimmicks of swindlers. 
    • Never sign a completion certificate until all the work called for in the contract has been completed to your satisfaction. Be careful not to sign a completion certificate along with a sales order. 
    • Proceed cautiously when the lender or contractor demands a lien on your property.

     

     


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    Green Energy Futures talks to Scott Subaru about the new eco-friendly dealership.

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  • “FIRST PASSIVE HOUSE CAR DEALERSHIP IN CANADA”

    Interview conducted & produced by David Dodge, Subaru of America in production with Green Energy Futures.
    – Original blog post with video at >> http://www.greenenergyfutures.ca Episode #213

    _____________________________________________________________________

    – We’ve seen some amazing super energy efficient buildings on Green Energy Futures, including living buildings and net-zero churches, homes and even department stores. But we’ve never heard of anyone doing what the Scott Subaru car dealership in Red Deer is doing.

    Garrett Scott: “Hi, I’m Garrett Scott, I’m the dealer principal of Scott Subaru in Red Deer and we have almost completed our construction of the World’s first Passive House car dealership.”

    – Scott said they were inspired to do something special when they visited the Subaru plant in Indiana.

    Scott: “Subaru America has a zero waste plant and the plant is also sitting on a wildlife nature preserve as well. They’ve got incredible kind of wetland and green space around it and the zero waste is pretty unique when you consider manufacturing; you’re always wasting a little bit, you would think.”

    – Inspired by the zero waste idea, Scott came back to Red Deer and talked to Cover Architects and came up with the idea of building the first car dealership built to the Passive House standard.

    Scott: “We wanted to be able to have the ultimate calling card and have something that was so unique but also represent some of our values. Why waste if we don’t have to? Why build something that is just ‘Ho Hum’, that everyone else has done before and if you’re going to be in one spot for 50 years or want to be here for 50 years more; let’s build a legacy project that means something today as much as it would 20 years from now.”

    – There are many reasons why they undertook the project.

    Scott: “We’re talking about eliminating 80% of our heating and cooling costs almost and that’s the reason we did it. That’s cool. That’s really quite exciting.”

    – But it’s about more than saving money.

    Scott: “Being as efficient as it is from an energy standpoint motivates us to take our business and follow a similar trend we try and make the most efficient process for our customers from a purchase standpoint, from a repair standpoint, but also then correlate that into our staff; Passive House buildings are considered much more livable and much more enjoyable than your standard commercial building is.”

    – So how do you take a car showroom with floor-to-ceiling windows to Passive House standards?

    Scott: “So, Passive House is essentially an unbreakable blanket around the building that keeps it insulated from the environment outside and that goes with the walls, the windows, the doors, and also the foundation, the flooring. You build exterior walls that are getting close to 20-22 inches thick; you’ve got four layers of different types of insulation, types of material, impenetrable barriers.

    – All of this adds up to a car dealership that uses 80% less energy and doesn’t have a conventional furnace.

    Scott: “There is heat recovery units and then super efficient air-source heat pumps and these air source heat pumps, they can be 200% more efficient than a furnace and with that you get those incredibly low consumption numbers, and they’re rated now to be available in Alberta for temperatures down to -30. We’re very confident that this will get done but the big issue with this building isn’t necessarily heating it, the envelope is keeping the heat in, it’s cooling it and these heat pumps also work in the inverse fashion and they cool the building too.”

    – Garrett’s grandfather Kipp Scott opened the family’s first car dealership in Red Deer 50 years ago. Garrett says this is a legacy project that he hopes will still be cool 20 years from now.

    Scott: “This building will also garner some more exposure than a traditional new dealership would and that’s also one of the big motivators in doing this is to achieve the goals we have as a Subaru dealer. We need to be extremely unique. This helps us get there.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Learn more at GreenEnergyFutures.ca – and – www.ScottSubaru.com/Passive-House


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    Local Business

    Why Coaching? It’s Better than Chocolate Cake.

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  • I am a coach. I love what I do. A lot of people have good questions about my work.

    One question that gets asked repeatedly is, “What is coaching?”

    The best answer to “What is coaching?” is always to experience coaching. It’s like trying to describe chocolate cake.

    You can try to describe chocolate cake or you can eat chocolate cake. There’s a big difference.

    According to the International Coaches Federation, the governing and regulatory body for certified coaches, “Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. And, the list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals.”

    Wow, right?

    Another way of looking at the question “What is coaching?” is to hear what clients experience in a coaching conversation. It’s sort of like asking what it feels like to eat chocolate cake.

    Here are some candid responses from my clients.

    Coaching feels like…..

    Clarity and direction

    Encouragement with action

    Finding my bravest self

    Focused empowering

    Hard Work

    Challenging

    Enlightening

    Informative

    Momentum with hope

    Safe

    Impending Change

    Hopeful Moving Forward

    Reorganizing of thoughts

    Action Focused

    Uncomfortable in a good way

    Exciting

    Clear Direction

    Vulnerability, Ownership, Clarity

    I CAN CHANGE!

    If you are looking for any of those results this year and you’re tired of the same struggles year after year, hiring a coach may be a great option for you. I know it has changed my life and I am honoured to offer my clients a conversation that can do so much!

    One word of caution… chocolate cake with all of the best, specialized ingredients, that is masterfully put together by an experienced chef is going to be a very different experience than eating cake that was baked by someone with less understanding of the ingredients. Find a coach with training and experience that supports the outcomes and experience you are looking for.

    So, instead of just asking, “What is coaching?”, try it!  You’ll be glad you did.  It’s better than chocolate cake.


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    january, 2019

    mon14jan - 31jan 1410:00 amjan 31Kindergarten Registration Begins at Red Deer Public SchoolsRegister your child for Kindergarten10:00 am - 3:00 pm (31)

    thu17jan - 26jan 177:30 pmjan 26Ignition Theatre Presents: GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIESPulitzer prize finalist Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries7:30 pm - 11:00 pm (26)

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    sat26jan9:00 am- 5:00 pmChildhood Anxiety: Understanding & Helping Children Heal Workshop9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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    sat26jan8:00 pm- 10:30 pmRobbie Burns Night8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

    mon28jan11:30 am- 1:30 pmLending Cupboard Presents Jann Arden in 1st annual Winter LuncheonJann Arden \"Winter Luncheon\"11:30 am - 1:30 pm

    tue29jan5:00 pm- 7:00 pmRed Deer and District Chamber of Commerce presents: January Business After Hoursnetworking event 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    tue29jan7:00 pm- 12:00 amPaul BrandtThe Journey Tour 20197:00 pm - 12:00 am

    tue29jan7:00 pm- 11:30 pmLive Country Music @ Bo's Bar and GrillAaron Pritchett w/ Guest Kira Isabella and David James7:00 pm - 11:30 pm

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