Jensen Beach Green

Building the future high performance sustainable home TODAY

Why we need resilient homes NOW

We can no longer be dependent on electric, water and sewer grids for safety and reliability as they are a prone to attach from outside interest.  The only way we are going to build resilient communities is to build resilient homes that are not dependent on centralized services. The Jensen Beach Green project is the model home of the future that is capable of self sustainability in all situations from extreme weather to physical and digital terrorist attacks.

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The time is now for Infrastructure Savings Accounts (ISA)

Infrastructure Savings Account (ISA)

By Rob Stehlin MBA   June 6, 2017

Efficiency and resilience are two areas facing American homeowners.   How our communities connect and how we look to save the planet are in the news daily.  The problem we face today is how do we transition our current base of 100 million inefficient homes to ones that are more energy efficient, earth friendly and water efficient while being able to resist chronic stresses and extreme shocks?  All transitions cost money and we are a nation that is already 20 Trillion in debt.  Our current administration has committed to infrastructure spending, but is limited by a budget that is burdened with debt.  An alternative way to fund infrastructure projects, with zero impact,  is to create a financial instrument that incentive’s consumers to save (tax free) and spend the savings on the modernization of personal infrastructure (home:  water, energy & waste)

The establishment of Infrastructure Savings Accounts (ISA’s) is the solution.  Congress could pass a law allowing for the establishment of infrastructure specific savings accounts that would be specific to certain expenses just like health savings accounts.  If just 30% of homeowners participated by contributing a max amount of approx $7500, Americans would have 225 billion dollars annually to invest in home infrastructure creating demand for building materials, manufacturing and create jobs in multiple areas while lowering our CO2 emissions and saving our limited water resources.

By law, ISAs would be available to all homeowners and are not a dependent on someone else’s Federal tax return.   The credited amount could be different depending on the size of the dwelling.   Limits could range from $5,000 to upwards of $10,000 (or more) per year depending on size.  Homeowners would have the option to make variable tax–free contributions to one’s account, so long as total contributions do not exceed the limits established by law. The funds in your ISA can be used to pay for ones homeowner’s deductible and/or “qualified” infrastructure* expenses that do not count towards your deductible.

Features of an ISA would include:

The time is now.  Join our movement to bring about this legislation quickly.  Contact your congressional representative and encourage them to support the establishment of Infrastructure Savings Accounts.  If you have a relationship with specific representatives, please feel free to contact me at as we will be looking for bill sponsors and could use all the help we can get in order to get this program rolling through congress.  


*To be modeled after list similar to Health Savings account to include:  Energy, Water, Sewage, Structural, and Efficiency expenses.

The canary is about to go silent….

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the crash will come before the flood.  The Treasure Coast area of Florida, with its high elevations, is already seeing an increase of buyers coming from South Florida.  Only a matter of time and the exit out of South Florida will begin.


Shut UP!

The cause and the cure to the current housing crisis.


What happens in Vegas can happen everywhere!

Vegas is setting the pace for the rest of the nation.  It is quite funny to see sin city lead the nation in the transition to renewable energies.  It just goes to show that with a vision, a strategy and good leadership, we can do good.



Why build coal, oil or nuclear when solar electric is cheaper?

Why build fossil fuel powered facilities when solar is cheaper?    I will keep this one short and sweet, let the money do the talking.  Solar is on the verge of breaking out as cost drops below other energy sources and construction time is considerably shorter.   Utility scale storage is just around the corner and when the price point drops another 50 – 60% the transition to clean energy will be complete.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


No more Reddi Wip!

Insanity strikes again and it is hitting the Christmas dinner table because there will be no Reddi Whip for anyone.  YES, due to an explosion at a Florida nitrous oxide plant in August there will be no Reddi Whip in December.  All remaining nitrous oxide supplies are needed for our healthcare professionals to perform surgeries.  Yes, it came down to major surgeries or Reddi Whip and the surgeries won.

This brings up a good question – what about whipping your own cream to get WHIPPED CREAM?  Just take two cups whipping cream, pour in bowl, mix till stiff, then consume.  It is sad a whole supply chain has been created just to support lazy AMERICANS who can no longer whip cream.  I would wager only 2 out of 10 Americans would even know how to make whipped cream?

In order to return our nation to one of resiliency, we must return to the roots of local communities and resilient individuals providing basic services for themselves.



Solar going main stream as prices plummet……

Getty Images

Wal-Mart going 50% renewable is not difficult by 2025 with installed cost breaking through $1.50 per kwh TODAY at a residential level.  Not just Wal-Mart, but every home and every business has the opportunity to go 100% RENEWABLE now.  I find it very interesting how the traditional media has totally ignored this ground breaking event as they continue to report how the “Green” industry will be hurt under the Trump administration.   The only companies that will be hurt in a free market are those that were never sustainable in the first place.  The current 30% tax credit is nothing compared to the “additional” cost associated with other forms of energy.  Solar can stand on its own and it is about to fly.



Late and over budget – not the way to make America great again.

No, we want on time and under budget.   I ask –  what power generating industry is being subsidized without consumer control?  Not the distributed residential solar industry.  Residential solar in Florida has broken the 2 dollar per watt mark for installed solar power.  This is unheard of and makes traditional power nothing more than an expensive back up with no consumer control.  The “one time” Federal tax credit of 30% provided by the tax payer for tax payers via the federal government is nothing more than an infrastructure building tool just like cutting the tax rate on corporate income.   Once used, they build residual value over time by shifting the responsibility of power generation from the centralized power industry to a distributed consumer model.  They also cost the government nothing if they are not used. They courage manufacturing and competition. Tax credits are not prone to cost over runs and delays which are all paid directly by the tax payers locally and nationally as we seen happening in Georgia and Florida as utilities are requesting rate increases.

It looks like in Georgia residential solar consumers will be unfairly paying for the cost over runs on their long delayed nuclear power plant.  Just one more reason why America should be investing in distributed residential solar in every state that it shows a positive impact – over 50% of the nation and growing as installed cost drops.   In Florida,  100% return on investment after federal tax credits has dropped below 7.5 years on a product with a 20 year warranty and this is just today as the prices continue to fall on the panel and  installation cost.  I am projecting a 100% ROI will to drop to 5 years in the next 24 to 36 months and at this point we may see a tipping point with rapid expansion all across the nation benefiting consumers, installers and manufactures.

Centralized utility produced nuclear energy does not have a return on investment like residential solar today or in the future, so why do we continue to make such bad investments?  Solar is not perfect and the short comings are just problems to be solved, but no reason to abandon a system that has significant personal and community impact.  Consumer driven distributed residential solar – what a way to make America great again!

Georgia Public Service Commissioners to Decide on Increasing Costs for New Plant Vogtle Nuclear Reactors

The disruption has started and it is not GLOBALIZATION……I see cheap global labor losing and American ingenuity and labor winning.

We have just ended one of the most engaging elections in the nation’s history and one of the driving globalizationforces behind it was the economy.  Our nation is at a crossroads, there are Americans  with and Americans without and everyone is scratching their head trying to figure out how we got to where we are today.  Are we seeing the effects of globalization and could we be entering the back side of the bell curve and started our downward descent?  Over the past 26 years the median family income in the United States of America has increased a mere $4,000 dollars.   Add in inflation and the median income has gone down.  So much for every policy enacted and every politician elected as Americans are worse off now than they were 26 years ago. It does not mean crap if it does not improve the conditions for every American.  Should we be surprised? I say no as Ross Perot sounded the alarm 24 years ago when he made the infamous statement during the Presidential debates of 1992 that NAFTA would create this great sucking sound.  At the time, Mr Perot was looked at as a crazy nut, but in hindsight Mr Perot was 100% right.  Hanjin Shipping, the seventh largest shipping company in the world, just filed for bankruptcy because of declining volumes and declining freight rates.  A decline in global demand could be and very likely  an indicator that there is a something happening within the globalization model.  Could the benefits of globalization peeked and be reversing?  Are we reverting back to a more local and or regionalized economy?  

True disruptions are driven when economies experience massive shifts in cultural demand and not just “in-industry” innovations.  Industries never disrupt themselves, it always come from outside.  Even whole nations can experience disruptions because of failed policies just like industries are shaken up when outsiders enter a market with a different strategy and execution.  Look how the space industry has been shaken up.  It was not the industry leaders like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and United Technologies but a credit card processor, book salesman and a record salesman.  Who is to say a whole spacex-grasshopper-reusable-rocketcountry could not experience the same radical disruption when a particular strategy fails to deliver.  One’s income or lack of thereof is a mighty force to drive a population or county to disruption as we have seen in the past election cycle.  Americans, those who work or have worked, are at a breaking point in time where they are willing to change course, even encountering risk, in search of a better solution.  Most of those wanting economic change have all seen the effects of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.  Today’s voter saw it first hand with the bubble of 2000, the housing bubble of 2007, and great recession of 2008.  Bubble after bubble saw the average American loosing every time while those on the inside profited every time expanding the separation of the 1 percenters from the rest of the nation.  The pieces of the oncoming wave of the “Local Manufacturing and distribution” revolution have been cast over the past three decades:  direct to consumer distribution, additive manufacturing, clean manufacturing, technology, direct to consumer communications, and social media.

The future of America comes down to our ability to pivot from a global model to a LOCAL model.   We can see just how it will work by examining what it cost to manufacture and distribute a pair of sneakers – 409661nothing more nothing less but the cost of sneakers will move us from a service orientated economy to a manufacturing economy.  A quick analysis of what goes into a sneaker tells us everything about where we have been and where we are going.  According to solereview the average cost to manufacture a pair of sneakers is 18 – 20% of the retail price.  On a 100 dollar pair of shoes, the cost to manufacture is approximately 18 – 20 dollars.  The manufactured cost includes all the labor, materials, overhead for the factory, taxes, profits, while leaving approx 10% in profits for the contract manufactures.  Next we add on approx 4 – 5% for transportation or (4 – 5 dollars) cost to get the shoe from China to the USA.  The shoe now has a landed cost in the USA of 22 – 25 dollars.  The brand doubles the price to 50 dollars to create the wholesale price in order to cover overhead, branding cost (athletes and celebrities), salaries and profits to shareholders.   Now the product is priced for distribution.  The “distribution network” of retailers doubles the price again to cover the cost of transportation to warehouses and retail stores, storage, labor, retail outlets, insurance, and profits.  

The most interesting part of this example is the cost of manufacturing labor as a percentage of the retail price.  Using the assumption labor should not exceed 15 – 20% of the manufactured cost, we are looking at approx $4 dollars or labor cost at just 4% of the retail price based on the current global sourced model.  The coming disruption will consolidate all $100 dollars and redistribute in such a fashion labor can be paid a living wage, profits will be higher and flexibility improved.  Who would not want better choice of labor, located closer to the end users and the fact that labor would be earning a living wage?  redeyefactory2Currently our nation is struggling with the fact that many service jobs do not provide a “living wage”  and the government has moved to force an artificial wage on such businesses by way of a 15 dollar minimum wage in many states and cities.  Problems are not fixed by way of artificially changing what is the free market price by regulations, but by fixing what has caused the problem in the first place.  Our abundance of cheap labor and lack of demand for this segment of the workforce has kept overall wages stagnant for the past 3 decades.  Our government officials and their supporters have profited from this situation while our nation has paid the ultimate price. We can see by the record high stock market compared to the horrible median family income. During the Bush administration 50% of all employment growth was in the construction trades helping to accelerate the housing crisis and encourage the employment of illegals for profit.  Enforcement of our existing immigration laws and the development of localized manufacturing to offset the need for foreign manufacturing will create the demand and environment where workers earn more than 15 dollars an hour because their productivity and their supply warrants such pay based on merit not regulations.  The “Local Manufacturing & Distribution” disruption eliminates the need for external intervention by governments while allowing smaller more nimble companies the ability to compete against multinational companies on their home turf.  

We have seen the distribution side of the model change significantly in the shoe industry by way of Amazon and their newly acquired division Zappos.  The new consumer distribution model does not benefit the manufacturer’s margin but it does change the margins and suggested retail price offered on the retail side.  The online model proves brick in mortar distribution is not required to reach the final customer even when it comes to shoes.  The next step of the disruption is when the manufacture takes over the retail distribution of the product and sells directly from factory to the customer.  More and more manufactures are selling directly to the consumer through many different models most being either direct sales or subscription.  Window manufactures are a prime example of “factory direct” selling of locally or regionally manufactured products.  The manufacturer now has 75% of the retail revenue stream to get the product from the factory to the consumer, a much better position than 50% of the wholesale revenue stream.  Now comes the real disruption that has global implications, the shortening of the actual distance between the site of manufacturing and the consumer.  Under the current globalization model parts and product are shipped around the world multiple times over before a product is purchased by a consumer.  The distance between the factory and the consumer is changing with the invention of new manufacturing processes like additive manufacturing or minimal subtraction allowing for cost effective manufacturing to take place right here in the USA.  Add the growing number of consumers connected directly to the cloud via mobile devices and manufactures have a marketing platform direct to the consumer that is practically free.  Transportation cost is more or less eliminated because local and regional manufactured products benefit from factory direct shipping where the purchaser pays for the delivery cost direct from the factory their home of business.  In addition, manufacturers are able to redistribute cost what would have been used to pay import tariffs to the offset increased labor cost all while being extremely competitive in a global market.  The United States of America is half way through the greatest disruption since the industrial revolution and no one sees it or will admit it is happening.

Disruptions have direct and indirect effects throughout the economy and this disruption is no different.  Beyond the obvious of manufacturing, the real estate industry, advertising, branding and support agencies will all be effected in this changing environment.  The need for these services will be changing as companies consolidate operations into more manufacturing facilities and less office space – all in one facilities will be the wave of the future.  Not a good time to be investing in office space.  Traditional channels used to connect the manufacture with the consumer will also be challenged as mobile devices and social media eliminate whole industries and layers of cost normally associated with traditional wholesale distribution, retail distribution and sales.   The final explosion and driver of the disruption willrendering3 come with the reduction in corporate income taxes and possible implementation of tariffs, on imported goods subsidized by foreign governments, in order to offset any unfair advantage the imported goods may have over locally produced American goods.  The wave will start as companies across the nation world  find it more profitable to onshore, to the United States of America, manufacturing and services that were once off shored, to foreign countries like China, to improve profit margins.  Companies will invest in new manufacturing methods to capitalize on the latest technology and take advantage of government incentives.  Manufacturing jobs will flourish in areas of our nation that have been decimated by globalization.   America will once again be a competitive manufacturing and exporting nation giving any nation across the world a run for their money while providing affordable quality products for consumers here at home.  The “Rust Belt” will no longer exist and it will become known across the world as the “Manufacturing Belt” of America.  Quality and price will once again return to our nation as we rebuild our nation and make it great again.

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