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San Francisco: America’s Greenest City in 2016

October 20, 2016 Bay Area homeowners who have made energy-efficient or other environmentally friendly upgrades to their properties may have some additional leverage when the time comes to sell, as four local cities count among the nation’s 10 greenest this year. That’s according to WalletHub’s 2016 rankings of the greenest cities in America, which ranks 100 communities on a scale of 100 based on four major areas and 20 smaller criteria. Gauges of a city’s overall greenness include air quality, amount of green space, transportation factors, renewable-energy sources, and number of installed solar panels. San Francisco ranked as the nation’s No. 3 greenest place in last year’s study behind New York City and Portland, Oregon. In 2016, San Francisco moves to the top of the list, with an overall score of 75.64. The City by the Bay ranks No. 1 in the country for green lifestyle and policies, including job opportunities, local green-energy programs, and number of farmers’ markets. San Francisco particularly shines in the latter department, tying three other cities for the most amount of farmers’ markets per capita in the nation. San Francisco also scored very high according to the study’s transportation criteria, earning the nation’s second highest bike-friendly rating behind Minneapolis. The city was also the West Coast’s lone representative to rank in the top five for fewest number of commuters who drive. This is in part thanks to San Francisco’s excellent public transportation, which another study ranked as the nation’s second best earlier this year. San Jose, which didn’t crack the list of America’s 10 greenest cities in WalletHub’s 2015 analysis, took the No. 3...

Smart Home Technology Gains Traction With Home Remodelers

Nearly half of all homeowners are adding smart technology upgrades when they undertake a remodeling project, and those who do so are substantially more satisfied with the results. That’s according to Houzz’s 2016 Smart Home Trends Survey, which polled homeowners who had completed a renovation job within the past year or are planning one soon. Forty-five percent of respondents say that they are incorporating smart systems — defined as devices that can be controlled by a mobile device or a computer — in their home renovation plans. Earlier this year, Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of U.S. adults own a smart phone. Home security tops the list for most common smart home feature… Alarms and cameras are the two most popular smart security devices… Roughly three-quarters of homeowners who install smart security devices spend less than $1,500. Entertainment systems are the next most likely to contain smart technology, with an 18 percent adoption rate among those polled. TVs, speakers, and video- and audio-streaming systems are all equally popular upgrades, and nearly one-third of TVs are Internet-enabled… About half of those who opt for smart entertainment systems spend in excess of $1,500. Climate-control and lighting systems were slightly less popular with renovators, with respective adoption rates of 14 and 12 percent. Among all homeowners surveyed, lighting is the most common upgrade… About 70 percent of homeowners with smart entertainment and lighting systems report being very satisfied with their upgrades, compared with about half of those who purchased nonsmart systems. If smart home technologies make for happier homeowners, why are the other half of them sticking to old-school systems? Turns...