June 20, 2012
The Cost of California’s New Energy Efficient Building Standards- Geoffrey de Sibert

Always planning to become more green, California’s newest guidelines makes homes and buildings more energy efficient— and much more costly. Starting in 2014, structures will require attributes like solar-ready roofs and detector lighting techniques. Improved fans and windows that help control temperature are also being recommended. 

Many upgrades, such as windows, will be plainly visible. Others, like hot water pipe insulation, will be less readily apparent.  Certain home buyers may not want solar energy, as it’s still pretty expensive. All the same, state energy officials say they have a duty to enforce the installing of these energy-saving features while the structure is being built.

"That’s when it’s the least expensive," says California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. "That’s when efficiency is the most effective. It’s far better than somebody coming back later and trying to retrofit the building."

While the regulations have the support of some big stakeholders, such as the California Building Industry Organization, some business groups worry the revisions will bring higher construction costs just as many Californians are reeling from the recession. Within their statement to Fox News, the American Roofing Manufacturing Association claims the new technology is in line with “flawed data and poor science.” 

And Stephen Yurek, chairman of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, says there’s not sufficient oversight associated with the tough standards already set up.


"We’d like to see more being done in enforcing what’s already out there then continuing to increase this stringency of the regulations," says Yurek.

Fox News was taken on a tour of a state-of-the-art home in Sacramento, Douglas argued the updates will help Californians save energy, and funds, through lower month-to-month utility bills. This ensures that the lights wont go out for any Californians. 

"Our power plants don’t have to run as often, we’ve been able to build fewer power plants. So we’ve had savings as well in our electricity system. It’s been a tremendous benefit to the state," she says.

With solar-ready roofs now required in next generation of homes, the fresh new standards will benefit another green sector: the state’s growing solar business. 

-Geoffrey de Sibert

Big Sur, California

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June 19, 2012
Green Education at UC Davis - Geoffrey de Sibert

Nearly 1,000 people actively working to green the campuses of California’s public and private institutions of higher education will gather together with the University of California, Davis, this week for the 11th annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. 

The conference, itself a zero-waste affair, will bring together representatives from more than 70 universities and colleges, primarily from California, from June 18 through 22. 

A highlight of the conference will be the premiering of “Ignite! The Art of Sustainability,” which launches a statewide traveling tour which will start at the UC Davis Design Museum beginning June 18. The exhibit, which is free to the public, examines the human and natural forces that seem to shape California’s landscape and includes work by UC Davis design professor Ann Savageau and professor emeritus Gyöngy Laky. 

Conference participants from all four systems of higher education in California — University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, and private institutions — will be sharing best practices in sustainability. Session topics, presented by a panel of member institutions, will include how campuses can build greener learning, living and athletics facilities; move toward zero net energy; create sustainable science laboratories; increase water efficiency in residence halls; and fill more campus dining plates with campus-grown food. 

UC Davis has long served as a form of proving ground for innovations in environmental sustainability. This week, UC Davis has become the first campus in the country to introduce adaptive, networked exterior lighting, a project that is going to save $100,000 annually in electricity costs. 

Other green achievements include: 

  • The university’s overall $39 million Smart Lighting Initiative is on track to cut back campus electrical use by 60 percent by 2015, saving $3 million on the annual electricity bill. 
  • Through its Climate Action Plan, the campus has reduced greenhouse gas emissions below year 2000 levels and expects to arrive at year 1990 levels by 2020.


  • Weekdays, more than 75 percent of students, faculty, staff and visitors use sustainable transportation (walking, bicycling, carpooling, riding a bus or taking a train) as his or her primary means of to and around campus.


  • The campus has 42 miles of bike paths and almost 20,000 bike racks, earning it a gold award by way of the League of American Bicyclists. 
  • The student-run Unitrans bus system, a fleet of 49 buses fueled by compressed natural gas, carries 20,000 riders a day, serving downtown Davis.


  • UC Davis is taking the principles of its arboretum — ranked the tenth most beautiful gardens in the U.S. by Stylist Home — to transition the 900-acre central campus perfectly into a public garden that also includes sustainable maintenance practices and native plants.


  • Three UC Davis building complexes are certified LEED Platinum, a very high ranking awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council; more than any other University of California campus. It is also home the first LEED Platinum winery and brewery, when a new generation of students is learning to produce fine wine and beer using less water and electricity. 
  • Aggressive recycling, composting and reuse efforts prevent up to 60 percent of campus waste from entering landfills annually. Aggie Stadium has won the EPA’s Wastewise Game Day Challenge diversion rate championship the past two years. In 2011, the stadium diverted more than 93 percent of its waste on challenge day. All year long, the stadium prevents about 80 percent of its waste from entering landfills. 
  • The campus spends in excess of 20 percent of its $5.6 million food budget on local products, buys organic items along the lines of poultry and grains, and sources essential olive oil and tomatoes from campus farms. 

Perhaps most notably, the university, last fall officially opened UC Davis West Village, the United States’ largest planned zero net energy community. Zero net energy makes certain that on the inside course of a year, the 130-acre development will generate the maximum amount of energy precisely as it consumes. At build-out, the visionary public-private project will house 3,000 students, faculty and staff. 

Sierra Magazine in 2011 ranked the university as the nation’s top 10 “Cool Schools.” Greenopia in 2010 also identified UC Davis among the country’s top 10 green campuses. Nicely as the Fiske Best Colleges in 2011 ranked the university one of the top 10 environmental studies undergraduate degree programs. 

Doing this made UC Davis an obvious choice as a form of host for all the conference, said conference event manager Katie Maynard from UC Santa Barbara. The 2012 conference marks at the first time in seven years that the event has held in Northern California. 

- Geoffrey De Sibert

June 15, 2012
The Keep Your Home California Program

The Keep Your Home California Program is something I have been following with interest for some time and I am upset to see that it is not proceeding as intended.  For those who do not know, the Keep Your Home California Program is supposed to subsidize mortgage debt for unemployed homeowners attempting to reduce their debt. This may sound like a good idea, however in a couple of years only 8,000 people within the state have qualified for the program. That number should be around 100,000.
In Monterey County just 35 individuals were approved for help. “The problem is the government makes it so complicated to get into these programs,” claims Broker Ruben Dominguez. Real Estate Agent Ruben Dominguez has spent the past 35 years marketing homes, he knows only too well how frustrating it can be to qualify for any type of government aid. According to him it must be easier for individuals that require help to qualify. “We can put programs together that are simplified. We don’t need four inches of paperwork. What we need is a sheet or 2 of paperwork that will identify what the problem was, lets fix the problem and go forward,” said Dominguez.
At this time greater than 13,000 homes are in danger of foreclosure in Monterey County. Dominguez claims there ought to be a better method to help these people. A main reason why so few people in need are able to qualify for these programs is that banks are unwilling to work with them.
Aaron Glantz initially broke the story about this unspent cash for California Watch. He will suports Dominguez, many banks are uncomfortable giving out loans to the unemployed even with the promise of government aid. Bank of America is in the program but if you look at the other four big banks in California that will be Wells Fargo, City Bank, JP Morgan, Chase and Ally Financial. None of them are participating in this principle reduction program,” said Glantz.
Real estate brokers emphasize that the best option for those who cannot qualify for loans or aid is to short sell their homes instead of going to into foreclosure.

- Geoffrey de Sibert

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May 8, 2012
Building Safety Month Spotlights New International Green Construction Code during Energy & Green Building Week

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Energy & Green Building Week of the 2012 Building Safety Month campaign kicks off today with a focus on the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), the first model green code for constructing and remodeling buildings. The IgCC will make buildings more efficient and reduce waste. It is expected to have a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare.

"With the new International Green Construction Code, we’re going to see more builders offering energy-efficient packages and upgrades," said Mike Holmes, trusted contractor, HGTV celebrity and 2012 Honorary Ambassador for Building Safety Month. "We’re going to see more homeowners choosing renovations that will bring their homes to higher performance levels and make them more durable."

Read More »

March 28, 2012
Largest Green Mansion Torn Down

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Demolition contractors are expected next week to take down a half-completed oceanfront mansion at 2025 Surfside Terrace, which former owner Lewis Barton once promoted would be the largest green-energy house in the nation.

It’s part of a settlement the County Commission approved earlier this month in hopes of ending a code-enforcement fight with Barton, 67, that dates back to 1998 and led to a $253,000 lien.

(Source: tcpalm.com)

March 28, 2012
Geoffrey de Sibert Home featured on Aloha Living Blog

"Geoffrey De Sibert is not alone. Hollywood, high-tech and high-powered types are becoming greener and more energy independent. The shift toward more environmentally friendly homes may be prompted by conscience or health concerns. And the 2001 California blackouts, the Northeast blackout of 2003 and the hurricanes that left some Florida residents without power for weeks last year have encouraged more non-tree-huggers to consider alternative power sources–or go off the grid entirely–for their residences"

(Source: blogs.alohaliving.com)

March 28, 2012
Home of Geoffrey de Sibert Featured in UDLL.com article “Many Shades of Green Luxury”

Roof Tiles
Roof Tiles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"In 2006, Forbes.com reported on "Millionaires’ Green Mansions." One of them, owned by Geoffrey de Sibert in Monterrey, California, combines the luster of Old World elements with green technology of the 21st century. Tony Schaurer was the home’s contractor. Much of the home’s distinctive beauty comes from its two-century-old Spanish roof tiles, wooden doors dating to the 18th century, and terracotta floors. transporting these materials and others from Europe, Israel, and Syria required a lot of fossil fuels, but at least the materials were recycled. For Geoffrey de Sibert and many luxury-home owners, "aesthetics drives the market," Schaurer says."

(Source: udll.com)

March 28, 2012
Geoffrey de Sibert Featured Article on Portland Cement Association.com

"One of the spec homes has been completed and is on the market. The 11,000 square foot home is nearing completion. Both of these homes are Mediterranean in appearance and detail. The concrete exterior walls are being constructed with the Reward Wall System. Both are topped with 200-year-old roof tiles imported from Spain. The walls are richly colored with ocher quarried from France, and the floors are mainly of terra cotta tile made by a pair of Spaniards in their 80s. Many of the doors are from the 18th century, part of a collection of thousands of wood doors the owner and his wife came across in Spain. Stone from France is used in the deep window casements and elsewhere.

Geoffrey de Sibert learned about the forms when he was looking for something that would buffer household noise, and then was further attracted by the energy efficiency and the strength of reinforced concrete. His contractor, Tony Schaurer, a former aeronautical engineer, did more research and was sold. “I think they are the thing of the future,” Schaurer said.”

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March 28, 2012
Geoffrey de Sibert Home Featured in Concrete Construction

"Three very special high-end custom homes are being constructed in Monterey, Calif., all using insulating concrete formwork for the walls. The largest, which will become the home of owner/developer Geoffrey de Sibert, is 8000 square feet and has been dubbed the Yellow House. The other two are 6200 square feet each. Currently, the smaller Orange House-what is being called a ‘spec’ home-is complete and on the market for $5.25 million, while the larger home remains under construction. The third home should break ground this spring."

(Source: concreteconstruction.net)

March 28, 2012
Geoffrey de Sibert- Featured Article in Forbes

"With 200-year-old Spanish roof tiles, 18th-century wood doors and flawless terracotta floors, the home developer Geoffrey de Sibert is building on a cul de sac in Monterey, Calif., certainly is a nod to the past.

But don’t let the Old World details fool you. The 11,000-square-foot Mediterranean-inspired manse also boasts cutting-edge, energy-efficient features such as concrete walls with four times the insulation of standard wood walls, solar-powered heating and a water filtration system that recycles rain water to hydrate the lawns.”

(Source: forbes.com)