Monday, March 29, 2010

What's Her Name?

My business is grounded in you and the people you refer to me. When I look back at my business these last few years, the vast majority of it started with an "oh, you should talk with Maureen Kennedy" conversation. Thank you!

I appreciate your confidence, and when I know about the source of a recommendation, I try to say thank you with a bottle of great wine, a stay out in Inverness, or a contribution to a local organization I know you support. And the strength of my business, along with my family's commitment to our town, allows me to contribute dollars and leadership to this community we all love--to our schools, to our arts programs, to Camp Augusta, to the Oakland Museum's school programs, to the food bank and Rubicon, Inc., to the cross country and track teams, and to our inclusive Boy Scout program (celebrating 100 years of Piedmont scouting this year!).

But you have to remember my name.

It's ok. My dad seems to have some issues with this too. When my grandfather passed, he listed me on the memorial service program as Maureen Kennedy-Alt. Around here, I'll respond to anything, but with Dad, it's a bit different. I said to him, "this is really easy: Think 'what's my last name?' And then say, 'oh, yeah, that's Maureen's last name too!'"

If you're not my dad and if you find yourself on a chairlift in Tahoe and need to retrieve my name from your mental rolodex, just think about President Kennedy. Maureen Kennedy's the name. Google "Kennedy Realtor Piedmont" and your friend's good to go!

Scientific American's Take on Eco-Improving Older Homes

My buddies at the National Trust offered this piece from Scientific American on our LinkedIn page this morning--a nice summary not of the top ten things you can do to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

Instead, the author sits back for a moment and thinks about all the drafty, energy-inefficient older homes that are hard-wired into the American landscape (the New Scientist article he references mentions the fact that in the UK, 85% of existing homes will still be in use in 2050 at current rates of rebuilding--and today, there are more homes built before WWI than homes built since 1980. I did a quick check of census data for 94611--38% of homes were built before 1939; less than 10% were built since 1980).

He's frustrated that his careful insulation work has generated relatively little in the way of reduced energy (although he does mention greater comfort, reduced drafts and so on that are often the unsung benefits of our retrofit efforts). He points out that tearing down the old home and rebuilding it using cutting edge strategies is very energy-consumptive in itself, though I'd be interested in a life cycle analysis on this.

Meanwhile, see this draft of the state's first-in-the-nation green building code, scheduled for implementation 2011. I imagine it adopts much of the analysis and approach of the Build It Green community--two immediate take-aways were the focus on water conservation and construction material recycling.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I've Done this Month---


--Spoken at a roundtable on financial issues in San Francisco;
--Brought coffee to the Piedmont High School parents club meeting (which I do monthly) and committed to bring coffee to the Piedmont Community Service high school crew managing a house renovation as part of Rebuilding Together Oakland;
--Conferred with a client on renovation plans;
--Provided background resources to a client whose tenant is departing early;
--Advised a client in Japan and a client living in San Francisco about dynamics within different "price bands" in the Piedmont market, and sales strategies for their homes;
--Helped buyers and sellers buy and sell homes in the East Bay.