As August begins... man, it is already August, I will be writing my first post as a member of the team of Meyers Realty, a firm that has been selling Hot Springs, Arkansas real estate since 1961. That is a lot of transactions and a lot of collective years under one roof.

BUT!!! This is a synopsis and comment on a headline in the online Realtor®Mag. The article is entitled "Tackling the Environment and Real Estate" and is a very short highlight of the first summit held under the auspices of Green methodology and the National Association of Realtors®

Although, there were some nice quotes, like: "REALTOR® leaders from throughout the U.S. participated in the National Association of REALTORS®’ first environmental summit in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the future and identify resources to deal with changing climate patterns –whether they’re man-made or the result of a natural climate cycle."

Although, that is an eye-cathing sound byte...or print-byte, to me, your basic real estate agent out there is trying to survive in a rather insane market.

I like to read historical naval fiction...historically accurate tales about British warships in the age of sail, and I am reminded of a sailing ship in the vast ocean, churned by high winds and the very thing that powers it can be its destruction...well, that is your basic agent. Too many things control this market and the agents are often being trodden under the herd of headlines...

Not every agent drives a Mercedes, and many of them that do, do so because it makes them "look successful". After all, perception is quite a bit in this marketplace, and that is not a negative remark towards the Mercedes driver . BUT did you know this?? That not everyone that spends buckets of money on all the energy saving bells and whistles gives a hoot about the environment??? There is an entire sector of the green market that is concerned with appearance. Don't get me wrong... green is GREAT, when it is actually GREEN. You see, I was part of the "Eco-movement" back in the 70's. One of the main culprits identified back then was a little thing called population. In my humble opinion if we want to have a greener planet.... well, there needs to be fewer of us using all the resources... far fewer. Does that mean I want myself, my loved ones and friends, or you to go to the "zapping chamber"? Not at all. Just means that we need to reproduce less across the planet... yep... that seems to be a solution to a lot of our woes, and it will have far reaching effects in about 1 and a half generations. OK... I'll get off my sustainable, bamboo soapbox for now.

Many of the people that "do green" are committed to the planet and sustainability. That's wonderful and needed. Should we save energy? Of course, should we use sustainable products? Certainly. But to be honest for a moment??? Isn't the "green" that is a chief motivator in most of the populace the saving of "green" in the wallet???" We buy a car with high gas mileage because we save at the pumps, we buy energy star appliances because we stick it to the utility company and get a tax break. It goes on and on.

Some things to ponder: Bamboo is highly sustainable. Yes. Let's use it because it will make us feel good. RESEARCH!!! Is the glue okay for the environment? Some yes, some no. Are the harvesting practices good for the environment? Some yes and some no. Is this sustainable product shipped thousands of miles using transport that is fueled by fossil fuels??? Hmmmm. It is just an example of shades of Green on green.

Other than researching the particular "shade of green" in a product, as far as protecting the green in your wallet, look at "pay off time" with energy saving items and services. Will buying an electromagnetic induction cooktop help you? You have to possibly buy an entire set of poys and pans that will work on it. It is amazing to watch one boil water faster than a microwave... but there are some cautions about using one and from what I learned, you have to use them a LOT to get payback from them... initial cost vs. savings return over the life of the item. They do however reduce some of the heat that your a/c has to remove... but then it doesn't help your heater heat the home in the winter... so that aspect of the "sale" is a trade off depending where you live.

To save energy (a very green activity for certain), there are a few options, some much cheaper than others. Caulk your widows if they need it. If there is a 1/16 inch space around a window, or even think totally in smaller gaps around ALL your windows, and air leaks slowly through it... a 1/16 inch gap around a large window is the equivalent of having a hole in your wall about the size of a brick. Would that be a good thing on a hot or cold day??

Insulation... well that is pretty much a no-brainer, but do your research and don't pack it. Maybe all you need to do is go into your attic every spring and fall with your leaf rake and fluff it up if it has packed down (loose insul., not bat). It will help.

Save water...there's more to it than you think.Test to see how much water you waste in order to get hot water to a faucet? My family makes fun of me, but I have a large jug that I fill with the cold water that is in the line that has to get out of the way for hot water... over 2 gallons of water down the drain each time I get ready to shower (saved. I use it for other things.) ONE gallon of water is wasted when I heat up the water for the kitchen sink. My house is on a slab and was built WITHOUT insulated pipes in the slab, so I am not only heating up the pipe with my hot water, I'm also heating up the concrete around that pipe!! It's not just the water itself you save... it is every pump and aerator in the city water system and sewer system that got it there and took it away and treated it after you wasted it... 

Save the city some fuel and the air some exhaust.Do you make that big trash truck stop every week to pick up a partial load of trash in your garbage can? Why not let him go by and not brake and acceleratentil you have a full can to pick up. 

I know...these are some small things, BUT if everyone did them in a large city, how many thousands of gallons of water would be saved? How many gallons of fossil fuel??? How many puffs of black smoke from a big deisel motor?

I could go on, but you get the picture. Sometimes it can be something simple...all it needs to have is a start.