What is an EcoBroker?

An Ecobroker is a real estate professional who has taken additional energy and environmental training to better meet the needs of environmentallly-conscious buyers and sellers. They are trained to help their clients take advantage of energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design and assist them in their pursuit of properties that provide affordability, comfort, and a healthier environment. For more information please visit this page.

For Sale — Historic Sanctuary in the City!

Our most recent listing comes with a cool story that I have to tell.  A couple years ago, we helped someone relocating to Madison buy a house. He wanted a fixer-upper. Our client,

420 Russell Walk BEFORE

420 Russell Walk BEFORE

an architect, saw the potential in this beaten-down bungalow. It was designed by the first female architect in Madison, Cora Tuttle, but had been rather neglected . . . . To add to the excitement of the discovery, this diamond in the rough was hiding in plain sight! I had lived on the near east side for 22 years and never walked by it. This early Craftsman Bungalow is just a half a block off Gorham street on a pedestrian only “walk,” making it possible to live half a block away from the bus stop with no traffic noise! (Also, 1 block from the lake, 2 blocks to the park and 3 blocks to the grocery, restaurant, and coffee shops!)



Anyway our client, as a labor of love, spent two years meticulously restoring every detail of the character and woodwork of his new found home. He even put new ropes in the windows where the ropes had broken (yes you can do that!). He got professionals to do the really crucial stuff like putting on a new roof, taking out the old knob and tube electrical wiring, and restoring the fireplace and chimney.  He also contracted for the remodels of the kitchen and 1 full bathrooms.

And after all that he had to relocate for work!  (Don’t cry, he relocated to Hawaii.) But its still heartbreaking for him and we have assured him we will find a buyer who appreciates what he has done! For more information, check out our listing!

Guest Post on Energy Savings by Madison Start-up ABODO

Today we have a blog post contribution from ABODO, a Madison start-up that is in the business of helping renters find an apartment as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible– a mission Solidarity Realty can really get behind full force! So without further ado, here is ABODO on how anyone can invest in energy savings that move with you:



Gadgets to Help You Stretch Your Energy Dollar


It’s humans’ defining feature to use technology to make our lives easier. And in today’s age, that also means cheaper. With the average U.S. household spending nearly $4,000 on energy costs annually and increasing global urgency to curb harmful fossil fuel emissions, it’s no wonder many companies are turning to technology to make existing products more energy efficient and create new products to reign in other areas of resource waste. From air conditioners to power strips, there are dozens of new products to make your life easier, your energy bill lighter, and your home a lot smarter.


Power Strips

This sounds like a classic, overdone solution. Chances are, if you were ever going to incorporate power strips to save energy, you would have done it by now, right? Well, there’s now a new generation of power strips that make it even easier to shut down “vampire loads” right at their source. To combat that “idle load energy” — when your electronics in “off mode” continue to add up to between 10% and 23% to your monthly energy bills — advanced power strips monitor the activity of your electronics. When the strip senses the activity has ended, it will automatically shut off your devices and cut power to devices in “off” mode. You don’t even have to remember to turn off the power strip.


Energy Switches

Along the same lines, installing energy switches at key outlets helps you track your energy usage. These monitoring devices are often just a pass-through plug, such as WeMo’s, and connect to your smartphone or tablet to show you energy usage and let you remotely turn the plug — and any connected devices — on or off, either manually or on a schedule. (In WeMo’s case, you can also connect them to Alexa for vocal commands.) They’re also movable, so after you have your air conditioner’s energy use reined in, you can move it to your TV or another location.


Window Air Conditioner

These “cool” devices have been on the market for a couple of years but have yet to gain the widespread esteem that they deserve, considering their Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app controls and scheduling. Much like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Quirky + GE Aros smart window air conditioner tracks your usage compared to your daily energy budget, plus it can track your phone’s GPS so it knows when to start cooling your home.


Water Heater Controls

You might be noticing a trend at this point: By connecting their devices to smartphones and WiFi, appliance makers are handing consumers the controls they need to keep home energy costs down. In many cases, this means purchasing a new unit. But when it comes to connecting your phone to your water heater — that’s right, your water heater — all it takes is a simple retrofittable device, like Aquanta, and suddenly you’ll have remote access to boost your heating or to shut it down. Your phone screen will display how much hot water you have, a comparison of monthly and weekly usage, and maintenance alerts so you’re never blindsided by a cold shower. Plus, a “learning” function will optimize the heating energy for when you’re most likely to need it.


Window Shades

At nearly the same time every day, previously enjoyable sunlight streaming through your windows can suddenly become intolerably hot and blinding. All of this light beaming in can boost your cooling bill. But, that’s not such a problem if you have smart window shades, such as the Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades. Although they can be a bit costly, you can program these shades to open and close on a schedule. Plus, they take voice commands and can be integrated with smart thermostats and lighting.


Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.


Affordable, Charming, and Eco-Conscious in Quiet, Convenient Tree-Lined Neighborhood!

We are proud to announce our latest listing at 2126 Fremont Avenue Madison, WI in the heart of the quiet, tree-lined Brentwood neighborhood (Maple Bluff North). Its a fantastic oppexterior 3ortunity because this charming Eco-fied Ranch with Crafstman accents is Priced to Sell at only $179,900!

This spacious, ranch sits on nearly a third of an acre and features a great layout. The kitchen was remodeled in 2008 with granite countertops, fixtures, and all new appliances.  A high efficiency furnace, an on-demand water heater and R50 attic insulation minimizes your carbon footprint. Dining room has patio doors leading to larger, newly refinished deck, yard, prairie and herb garden! While the prairie is gorgeous, this sun-filled part of the lot would make a great urban garden for those that want to grow their own. Warm wood floors abound (even under the carpet in living room –okay, we don’t know if the wood floors under the living room carpet are “warm,” but they are wood)! Located perfectly near Warner Park (dog walking path!), Lake Mendota, and Warner Community Center — and right near bus line!  Minutes to downtown! Call us at (608) 284-9311 to schedule a showing today! This one won’t last.


A Year In Solar!

5830 Watt Solar System

Solar panels on the roof of 1148 Williamson Street

Last month, Solidarity Realty celebrated its 1st anniversary with a solar system on the roof of our office building! Having reviewed the numbers after one year, we are proud to report that our solar panels produced more than twice as much energy as we used! (Don’t tell MG&E or they may financially punish us for underestimating our energy use by lowering the price they pay to buy back the electricity)!
It turns out, we used 3.12 MWh of electricity and we generated 6.39MWh on a system designed to generate 5.8MWh/ year; in other words,we saved 9, 705lbs of C02 emissions, which is like planting 249 trees.We would like to thank Kurt Reinhold of Solar Connections for connecting us with Rik Rosenlund of Midwest Solar Power who did an amazing installation that exceeded expectations AND withstood a tornado! We would also like to thank the sun for being so extra generous this year.:)
Solidarity Realty also invests a portion of its profits locally to help get solar panels on the houses of people who can’t afford the upfront cost. We connect with them through Solar Connections, lend them the money for the panels, and they repay the loan monthly with the savings they get on their electric bill. For more information on how you can buy Solar Bonds through the new Legacy Solar Co-op to support more solar in our neighborhood, just contact Kurt Reinhold at (608) 957-6801 or at Kurt@solconnections.com



Ecohome Tip for Spring (and Summer)

Spring is here so its time to open your windows to get some of that fresh air.  By the end of winter, indoor air can become 500 times as polluted than outdoor air.  Of course, for those of us who suffer from spring allergies, the spring air is a mixed blessing.  However, there is one way of getting fresh air in your house all year round without throwing your heat out the window.  You can buy something called a heat/energy recovery ventilato (sometimes called air ro air heat exchangers)  which will regularly pull in the outdoor air (minus any pollen or other pollutants) but use the heat of the outgoing air to heat the incoming air so you don’t lose heat.

It also works in reverse to save the coolness of the air in your home in the summer. Brilliant!

For more information, you can visit http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/hrv-or-erv

GOTV at Solidarity Realty

Hey Neighbors, Let’s Get Out the Vote for Mary Burke!

As you know, at Solidarity Realty, we don’t try to hide our fierce opposition to the Walker regime and everything it stands for. To this end, last weekend we donated our facilities and our time to the “dry run” of the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort for Mary Burke. It was a great experience to see our friends and neighbors come to volunteer their time.  Due to the generous donation of our neighbors’ time, the Madison Isthmus Neighborhood Team (MINT) not only met but exceeded its goals for contacts made on the Isthmus.

Some folks feel that working doors on the Isthmus is not productive, its like “preaching to the choir.”  But as MINT’s fearless GOTV director, Jesse Holst, responds, “we still need to make sure the choir gets to the polls.” Because the wards MINT is working on have such a high percentage of democrats, it makes sense to remind them to vote.  We do skip the doors of the few known Republicans or anyone with a Scott Walker sign. Unfortunately, past election numbers tell us there are plenty of folks on the Isthmus that may miss their opportunity to vote without some encouragement and/or reminder. And remember, in a statewide election, every vote counts!

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