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New Davis Square Business Mixes Real Estate and Energy Efficiency Efforts

RE/MAX Heritage Green will celebrate its grand opening on Sept. 12. The real estate office sees a space in the marketplace for energy efficient homes.

A new real estate office in Davis Square is banking on the idea that energy efficiency and real estate make good bedfellows. 

RE/MAX Heritage Green, which has a new office at 20 Holland St., is hosting a grand opening on Sept. 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the public is invited to visit.

The new venture is a partnership with RE/MAX Heritage and inCharge Energy, a Union Square energy broker that works with institutions and businesses to make them more energy efficient and decrease their energy costs.

Craig Foley, managing partner of inCharge Energy and chief of energy solutions at RE/MAX Heritage, said he was excited about the new Davis Square office.

He said the time is right to mix real estate and energy efficiency efforts.

In his work at inCharge Energy, he's seen first hand "the grid stress issues we're dealing with," he said, referring to New England's electrical grid. Utility companies have tried to relieve that stress by working with big energy users—large businesses and institutions, some with monthly six-figure energy bills—to make them more efficient.

"The residential marketplace is the next focus," Foley said.

RE/MAX Heritage Green will work with sellers, for instance, to assess older homes and make them more energy efficient. Utility companies are offering incentives for homeowners to do things like install insulation and efficient windows, and there are no-interest loans available for other energy upgrades, Foley said.

Today's buyers are looking for homes that are energy efficient, he said, and "we feel having the opportunity to market something like that"—a home with energy efficiency upgrades—"makes your [property] stand out in the market."

It's one of the reasons Linda O'Koniewski, Steve Chuha and Eileen Hamblin, owners and managers of the new venture, chose Davis Square. The Somerville and Cambridge market is filled with younger buyers who, beyond being concerned about the environment, are looking to save on utility bills, Foley said.

"Somerville is the right place to do this RE/MAX Heritage Green thing," he said.

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