The movement toward developing environmentally friendly habits is not a trend. At New Direction Realty, we see it as a way of life. The best part of home ownership is the inherent right, and responsibility, to cultivate a pleasing environment, inside and outside our home.
It's not easy to develop new habits- it requires being ever mindful and carefully considering each choice and decision. Here we try to make it easy for you to take a New Direction and go green by changing just one habit a month. By the end of the year, you will have developed a better standard of living, learned to tread the earth with a lighter foot print and become a role model for your family and community. And inevitably, you'll save money, too!
January- Start the year with a commitment to lose 41 pounds- of junk mail! Sign up at www.41pounds.org and for just $41.00 the non-profit organization will contact direct marketers and reduce your junk mail by 80-95%.
February- After the holidays, we always have a little extra time on our hands. Organize your closets, sort through your book cases and garage for things that can be donated to families or charities to reuse, recycle or resell.
March- Gather your spring cleaning supplies. Search out environmentally friendly products, available now in most super stores and on-line. Keep in mind that vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda are "natural" cleaning products which can make your home shine.
April- Can you remember the smell of clean sheets dried outside? The third Saturday of the month is National Hang Out Day when everyone is encouraged to hang their laundry outside to dry! Six to ten percent of a home's energy consumption is used in dryers. Hanging Out saves energy and saves you money!
May- This is the month the local Farmers Market starts in Toms River and in most cities. Learn to be a "locavore" and enjoy locally grown foods. Transportation of food to the grocery stores uses awesome amounts of fuel- whereas a visit to the farmers market might be done by bike or walking allowing you to contribute to fuel savings twice!
June- Water usage becomes exaggerated through the summer months and conservation is green thinking. Deep water your lawn every other day to conserve up to 25% seasonal usage. Consider installing water-saving shower heads. Collect rain water to feed to your plants. Every little bit helps!
July- Planning your vacation? When you service your car for your trip, be sure and check the tire pressure. Under inflated tires can reduce your fuel efficiency by 5%. If everyone made this a priority, nationally we could save 2 billion gallons of fuel a year.
August- If you are spending a fortune on paper products for picnics and bar-be-ques, STOP! Find non-breakable cups and plates that are attractive and reusable. Bring a ceramic mug to work for coffee and replace paper hot-cups. Replace coffee filters with reusable mesh ones. You'll save trees and reduce landfill.
September- School starts and it's a great time to sleuth our home office for eco-violations. A desktop computer uses about 300 watts of power- compared to 45 by a laptop. That's about $350 in annual energy costs. Everyone switching to voice mail from answering machines would save, in energy usage, the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road. Using paperless billing could save 16.5 million trees each year.
October- As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, it's a good time to check your home for ways to keep drafts out and heat in. Insulated draperies or thermo film applied to window areas will cozy up the house and keep rooms toasty. Fireplace flues should be closed except when a fire is in the firebox to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney. Check door seals and replace any that are torn. Change screens for storm doors and consider installing programable thermostats.
November- With the biggest shopping season just around the corner, start by buying something beautiful for yourself- a canvas or cotton tote. Take it with you to stores and when they ask- paper or plastic?- say- No, thanks, I have my own. Nationally more than 110 billion plastic bags are used each year, 98% of which aren't recycled, adding to land fill waste and environmental abuse.
December- With your holiday gifts, you can start someone else on the road to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Use greeting cards made from recycled paper. Gift wrapping can be creative by using recycled and natural decorations. LED lights use 99% less energy for holiday decorating and last up to 100,000 hours. Every little effort will reduce the 25 million extra tons of trash generated at the holidays.