Heritage Restoration, Inc.

2013 New Year’s Revolution

There is one thing many profess but yet cannot find the time or gumption to do: New Year’s Resolutions. I propose we switch it up a bit and make it something with a bit more impact, and maybe easier: A New Year’s Revolution. This is not a political thing. I don’t mean a sword and a club type of Revolution where someone loses their head, but one where we all make an effort towards change. The change can be one or many, big or small, but all with the intent of making a difference. My Revolution, surprisingly enough, involves buildings. Not just care, but consumption and reduction. I try to do my part at home by shutting off lights or making my house less drafty. There is more we can all do together, using the trades, design and products, and make an impact to literally change our town, our state, our country and our world.

You may say I am an optimist, thinking if everyone brought reusable bags with them everywhere and filled a reusable water bottle we would eliminate waste and the growth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But what I am suggesting is smaller, and bigger. It can be as simple as saving a gallon of oil a day, or 1 KW of electricity a day, saving us money, resources, our children’s future, and the planet.

So here are 5 items on my year’s New Year Revolution list.

Use Locally Owned Businesses
This is a common theme amongst many communities, but this is especially important when it comes to building products. A locally owned store can be a national chain but it is locally owned. Small, local stores have to stand apart. They do it with service and quality materials. Local businesses can be a hardware store, general building supply, lumberyard, specialty supplies like electrical, plumbing, ductwork, paint, and other specific products. The difference is keeping money local, maintaining a source for good products, and insuring a diversity of local products and services (especially if a large chain disappears).

Buy Only The Best
I don’t need to look at statistics, market research or laboratory results to know that good, more expensive materials are CHEAPER than buying low quality. HUH? Well, wood with knots will rot faster than vertical grain, heartwood. Paint with less expensive pigments will take more coats to cover, and is formulated to fail faster. Stainless steel has many grades, and cheaper ones will rust. Aluminum gutters come in different thicknesses, where thinner, cheaper ones wear out faster. Cheap LED lights last 20,000 hours and burn out if they trap heat even faster, good ones last 50,000 hours.

Buy Green
Green is green, but also consider the greatest longevity, durability and to pass the test of cradle to cradle. The idea of cradle to cradle is: create it, reuse it, recreated it. Green is organic, since organic growing principles consider a balance of nature. Green can be obvious, although there are levels of green. A label saying green does mean it is responsible, so stay aware.

Refuse, Reuse, or Recycle
This spin of the common saying should gives me pause. Refuse a product if it is not responsible. One and dump is my least favorite thing, like water bottles. There are water filters to make tap water as good as your bottled water, and reusable containers. Make coffee or bring a mug. Put old stuff on a local share website, sell it at a yard sale, or put a free sign on before you throw it away. Go to a used furniture place, scratch and dent or reuse store. Save good building parts and donate them, give them away, or resell them. Wait to find a recycling bin.

Turn off the Electronics and Hang with Your Family
This is the hardest thing. Not only will it save energy, it may be more interesting. Of course I say this as my daughter is patiently waiting for me to finish typing, but we will soon be off to breakfast with Santa. So please, be sure to connect in person, and enjoy the holidays with people that make you feel good. Share. Give. Be present. It may be the best gift of all.

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