OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop


Red Oak Realty is now the first and only real estate company in the Bay Area to announce that all of its offices are green-certified and carbon neutral. This article explains how this was achieved in the hopes that businesses and residents throughout the East Bay take similar measures. 


The California Green Business Network (CAGBN) re-certified Red Oak offices as "green" after a thorough 18-month process of updating every component of its facilities, from faucets to light fixtures, waste collection, and more. Using a checklist on an interactive dashboard, Red Oak explored several variables - including energy, transportation, waste management and water use. 

Most updates were somewhat easy and low-cost to implement. The bigger challenges came with water consumption, irrigation, toilet leaks and low-flow fixtures. In some cases, Red Oak needed to replace bathroom faucets. Luckily the CAGBN provided options for receiving rebates.

By receiving this certification, Red Oak is now classified as a company that minimizes its impact on the environment by using environmentally sustainable resources.


Red Oak is also purchasing carbon offsets through TerraPass in order to further reduce its carbon footprint. Red Oak determined how much carbon its offices were producing each year by using this carbon calculator from UC Berkeley's CoolClimate Network (households can use this calculator). 

For a family of 4, TerraPass costs start at $21.70 per month. As you can see, carbon offsets are not entirely unaffordable. For small businesses, it uses the number of staff to determine offset costs at $5 per month per employee (offsetting the estimated 0.5 carbon metric tons per month that each person uses).

Achieving carbon neutrality means that the company's carbon dioxide output has a net neutral impact on the environment, and it can help stem the effects of climate change. Red Oak's investments help fund local projects like landfill gas capture, which turns garbage into renewable power; displace "dirty" fossil fuels with clean energy from wind farms; capture methane at abandoned coal mines; and make the best possible use of animal waste. Although some may consider these efforts "greenwashing," this initiative is a step in the right direction, especially when combined with its "green" efforts.

Going green and offsetting your footprint are just the beginning. Consider solar energy, drought-resistant landscaping, and encouraging your community of friends and businesses to do their part. And explore other respected carbon offset providers like 3Degrees, Carbon Lighthouse and Zero Foodprint

We all have a profound and imperative opportunity to help build a more sustainable future for the East Bay and the entire planet. We hope that everyone, including other local businesses, will do their part to mitigate the growing climate crisis.




Take a look around the East Bay and it seems a little emptier than usual. It feels like everyone is on vacation. 

The real estate market is also taking its traditional summer hiatus, as the number of listings and transactions is down. But when looking at the July real estate report, we need to remember that we're looking in a rearview mirror. It reflects properties that hit the market in April/May and got into contract in May/June. At that time the market was red-hot, and the key metrics reflect this: The number of sales was up 24% and others were in record territory, with price up 14%, homes selling an average of 20% over list and days on market at 15. (It's interesting to note that almost all of these numbers are down slightly from June.)

Because of the summer seasonal slowdown, we expect key metrics to decline in August. However, we also expect the real estate market to jump back to life right after Labor Day, with new listings and transactions likely hitting a fever pitch. Reach out if you want to see how these predictions might impact your real estate goals.


Bonds continued to rally through the first half of August despite stocks hitting record highs. Concerns about a COVID resurgence and lower than expected inflation figures have resulted in a dip in interest rates. While rates are not back to the record lows seen at the end of last year, they have slowly recovered about half of the half-point spike from early March. All eyes will be on the FED meeting in September where analysts will be watching to see if the board holds to their prior guidance indicating no rate increases until 2023. It is a great time to refinance or to get preapproved to buy a new home. For any mortgage questions, please contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai of CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC at fmz@myccmortgage.com or 510.254.4697.

FMZ TEAM  Crosscountry Mortgage



Personal NMLS342090 | Branch NMLS2020284 | Company NMLS3029


Local businesses are a huge part of what makes neighborhood shopping areas feel so inviting and alive. Be sure to support your little shops because when they thrive, so do our communities. This month's spotlight is Flowerland on Solano Avenue where you can be enticed by the riches that pour out onto the sidewalk and the invitation of life being celebrated within.

Currently, the business's marquee states, "Mental Health is More Valuable Than Gold", a reminder from Carly Dennet, owner of Flowerland (and someone who suffers from depression), that it's important to acknowledge loneliness now more than ever. It was and is important to her that Flowerland be more than a nursery and shop, that it be a welcoming place to find a sense of community.

On most days, the place is full of people sipping Highwire Coffee from the Airstream, absorbing the colors and fragrances of roses, dahlias, lettuces, strawberries, natives, exotics and so much more. Garden furniture, outdoor rugs, ceramic planters, planted gifts, bulbs, and baskets lead to the indoor shop which has beautiful, evolving displays of books, cards, candles, seeds and garden tools to grace your home and garden. 

Please support this, as well as the many other small businesses within our communities. And be sure to take care of yourself, too.

Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471