Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fifty Shades of Green (Cont’d): More Ways, Big & Small, to Go Green



[Published 26, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]


A couple weeks ago, I listed 17 ways to “go green.”  If you missed that column, you can read it below or at www.JimSmithColumns.com.  As the title suggests, I owe my readers another 33 ways.  In the first installment I focused on home improvements, and, while there are more of those, we can’t overlook the benefit of daily lifestyle changes.  So here we go:

18) Reuse shopping bags.  Some cities have gone so far as to ban single-use shopping bags, or at least plastic bags. Since most of us drive to the supermarket, it’s so easy to keep canvas or cloth shopping bags in the trunk or back seat and take them into the store. If you choose not to do that, at least save your plastic shopping bags for recycling at the store.
 
19) Reuse trash bags. This one isn’t as obvious. We’re all used to tying these bags and putting them in our trash cans, but the trash companies actually prefer that we put loose trash in our trash cans. I’ve started dumping my trash bags into my trash cans, rinsing out the bag and reusing it several times.

20) Don’t be a puffer. Experts say that the best way to warm up a gasoline engine is to drive moderately.  Beside being illegal, it is not good for your engine to warm it up by idling.  Put on a jacket and go!
 
21) Break the single-use water bottle habit. We use a Brita pitcher to fill our water glasses. When going out, we use refillable water bottles. It’s great how the Golden Community Center and other places have installed water fountains that are designed for refilling water bottles. Rita and I are hooked on it!
 
22) Recycle those toner & ink cartridges. All the office supply stores pay $2 per cartridge to bring them back to the store. Now, that’s what I call a no-brainer!
 
23) Buy American, buy local! Transporting products from afar is a significant component of their carbon footprint. That’s why suggestion #12 was that you buy produce at farmer’s markets.  This suggestion applies even more to hard goods, such as countertops. Corian, quartz and concrete countertops are manufactured in the United States, including here in Denver.  Granite and other stones are shipped from distant countries.
 
24) Compost your food and organic waste, such as grass clippings.  The resulting compost is great for use in your garden or flower beds.
 
25) Try induction cooking. It saves lots of electricity, gas or propane, and is safer for children who can’t burn themselves on the heating elements. You can buy portable single-burner units or multi-burner cooktops. Google it to learn how it works.
 
26) Use reusable plastic food storage containers instead of single-use plastic bags.           
(To be continued)

Send me your own “green” ideas at Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com.  I welcome your help in writing the next 24!


Panel Urges Licensing of Home Inspectors, But Legislation Fails



[Published Feb. 26, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section]


When I was first licensed in real estate back in 2002, we and appraisers were the only real estate professionals to be licensed.  Back then, a person fresh out of prison could become a mortgage broker—great for practicing identity theft.  Now they are licensed and fingerprinted.  Last year legislation was enacted requiring professional HOA managers to be licensed.  Now, all four professions require schooling, the passing of state examinations, fingerprinting, and continuing education.

The “last frontier” is the licensing of home inspectors. Colorado was one of the last states to license mortgage brokers and community managers, and remains one of the only states not to license home inspectors.
 
The Department of Regulatory Agencies, like other state entities, is required to be reauthorized every few years, and part of that process is a “sunset review” report, in which existing regulations are re-evaluated and other functions are considered for implementation.
That review process took place last year and the resulting report suggested that home inspectors should be licensed and regulated.  Currently, inspectors are totally unregulated, although there are professional organizations that certify inspectors.
 
Legislation in support of that recommendation was introduced in this session of the General Assembly, but unfortunately died on a party-line vote in the state senate. Hopefully new legislation will be more successful.


Big Price Reduction on Fabulous Applewood Home



[Published Feb. 26, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]



3400 Braun Court, Golden
$625,000
Video tour at www.ApplewoodHome.info

Backing to a lake is this 5,128-sq.ft. mansion at 3400 Braun Court, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, a 5-car garage, and an in-ground swimming pool — all on a half-acre lot. Listed earlier this month at $654,900, I expected it to be under contract by now, but consider yourself lucky that it’s not only still available but the price has been reduced! The quality of construction, the new kitchen with slab granite counters and stainless steel appliances, the epoxy floor and finished walls in the garage, the multi-zone hot water heat — they all make this house a great value at only $122 per square foot.  Take a narrated video tour of this home at the website above, then call listing agent Chuck Brown at 303-885-7855 for a showing.  The buyer gets free use of our moving truck, even if they have their own agent. Don’t have an agent? Then we’ll provide free labor and gas!