Category Archives: Environmental

Roland Melted SidingA few times in recent years, I have come across homes with distorted, melted vinyl siding.  The first thought is to ask “how could this have happened?”  The answer is very simple – the neighbors did it!  Well actually the neighbors didn’t do it, at least not intentionally, but when they installed their new low – e windows, the process began (unbeknownst to all parties).

Here’s what’s really happening.  The neighbor installs low emissivity windows because they provide great benefit to him.  The low emissivity windows have a thin layer on the inside of the outer piece of glass of a double paned insulated window.  This keeps out the heat from the infrared rays of the sun while allowing natural daylight to pass through. In the winter time, it also reflects the heat within the room back into the room.  That all sounds great for the homeowner with the energy efficient low – e windows.

But what happens to the heat that is reflected away on the outside?  The window acts like a magnifying glass that directs a “laser beam” of energy towards the next door neighbor.  The position of the sun in the sky can affect the intensity and the worst conditions are winter time when the sun is lower which results in a greater impact.   Traditional siding like cedar shingles or clapboards is not affected.  But vinyl siding is affected and the siding melts and distorts.

If you have a cooperative neighbor, you can ask that he install screens on the outside of his windows that will disperse the energy without affecting the effectiveness of the windows.  This should take care of the problem.

Another option, although more costly, is to install HardiePlank siding on your home.  This is a fiber-cement product, but the cost is 3 times that of regular vinyl siding.

It sounds like the best fix is for the neighbor to invest in a few hundred dollars to purchase screens and hope it does the trick.  Replacing the defective vinyl siding without resolving the cause will only result in it happening again.

For more information about low – e windows to understand the benefit and potential problems, a quick Google search will provide all the information you need to know.

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the author: Roland Spadafora is one of the broker owners of RE/MAX Legacy. You can learn more about him on his website


Heat loan Gale photoMassachusetts has a loan program available to assist with energy efficiency improvements.  The Mass Save® Residential HEAT Loan Program provides interest free loans for up to seven years and a maximum of $25,000 for Massachusetts residential homes and rental properties.  The program is funded by the following program administrators who buy down the interest on the HEAT Loan making it 0% interest to the customer:  National Grid, Eversource, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Unitil (MA), Liberty Utilities, and Cape Light Compact.

Call Mass Save® at (866) 527-7283 to schedule a no-cost Home Energy Assessment or work with a participating Home Performance Contractor.  They will review the results of your assessment and let you know which improvements would be eligible for the special financing.

Go to for a list of improvements that might be available to you. Type in your Zip Code and Source of Heat to get the promotions available.  The following are typical of the improvements you may qualify for:

  • Attic, Wall, and Basement Insulation
  • High Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning/ Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps
  • High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • 7-Day Digital & Wi Fi Thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified Replacement Windows

For a limited time only, take advantage of the expanded HEAT Loan offerings funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources:

  • NEW: High Efficiency Wood Pellet Boilers
  • NEW: Deeper Energy Savings
  • NEW: Expanded 2-4 Family Loan
  • NEW: Grants to Remove Asbestos, Upgrade Knob & Tube Wiring


Once you have your Assessment done you are ready to contact a Participating Lender. The list of Participating Lenders can be found at  Look for your service area to find a lender. There is also information about the maximum loan available at each lender and whether the loan is secured or unsecured.

Business customers, including non-profits and multi-family complexes with five or more dwelling units also have the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans up to $100,000 with terms up to seven years.

The HEAT Loan Program is definitely something that every Massachusetts resident should explore.  For more information go to the Mass Save® website at

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – Gale Spadafora is passionate about the environment and promoting Green initiatives.  She is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at

Wetland julianoWhen someone purchases a home near a wetland area, they usually never know it until an issue comes up.  Believe it or not, being next to these areas can restrict the use of your property.  It is critical that due diligence is used before you purchase the property, rather than finding out after you have closed.

The term “wetland” is a general term but usually encompasses any pond, lake, river, stream, ocean, or any land that is subject to flooding or where the water table is constantly high.  These areas are protected under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Regulations, and local Bylaws and Ordinances.  The purpose of these laws is to protect these resource areas from damage.

If you own property within a certain distance from these areas, DEP and the municipality you live in have jurisdiction to regulate activities in or near wetlands or water bodies by imposing certain measures.  For example, if you live near a wetland and wish to construct a shed on your property, you cannot simply just construct a shed.  You must go before the local Conservation Commission and petition that they allow the construction of the shed.  Their job is to ensure that the construction of the shed will not damage or ruin the integrity of the existing wetland by such construction.   Such petition could cost you money and time.

It is important to do thorough due diligence about the property before you sign the purchase and sales agreement. If the property falls under the jurisdiction of DEP and the municipality due to the property’s proximity of a wetland, it is always better to find out before you have invested time and money into the property.  A good start is to go to the local conservation office in City Hall and ask the conservation administrator about the property.   They will inform you if the property abuts a wetland and if so, if the property is in compliance with all local and state regulations.

Juliano blog headshot photoJames A. Juliano is one of the founding partners of Scafidi Juliano & Hurd, LLP, managing the Woburn office location in Downtown Woburn Center.  He currently has served for the past two years on the Woburn Conservation Commission, and was former chairman of the Stoneham Conservation Commission for 4 years.   Mr. Juliano is currently an active member in the Woburn Residents Environmental Network (WREN) and is a Director of the Friends of the Tri-Community Greenway, Inc. which is a non-profit corporation responsible for the formation and organization of the 6.63 mile bike path and park that will stretch through Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester.  Mr. Juliano is also very active with the Eastern Middlesex Association of Realtors (EMAR) and serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Council of Realtors – Northern Region Massachusetts Chapter.

Mr. Juliano’s present areas of practice include residential and commercial real estate transactions, residential and commercial lending, land use and zoning, and Landlord/Tenant law.  Mr. Juliano can be reached at or by phone at 781-210-4710, Ext. 102. His company website is