Saying Goodbye…and Hello!

Twenty Eleven…it’s hard to believe another year has past!  It seems like only last month I held a workshop at a national conference for Innkeepers on making their hospitality properties greener, attracting eco-minded guests and cutting their operating expenses.  Returning from the conference at the end of January, I learned my father had been admitted into the hospital for an abnormal level of potassium leading to medications which resulted in another condition that led to his passing on St. Patrick’s Day.  Losing a parent or loved one certainly can lead one to re-evaluate life, purpose and goals.  My Dad’s passing made me more passionate about how I wish to live the remaining days and years of my life.

February found me immersed in a dispute between a Homeowners’ Association Board and a couple who had submitted plans to make their yard “Florida Friendly” to reduce their use of pesticides, fertilizers and most importantly, water!  Trying to shed light on the values of and for a community embracing Florida Friendly Landscaping principles fell on deaf ears.  As the year ends mediation continues while the homeowners have a beautiful, drought-tolerant yard which reduced their water bill by 40%! 

On Earth Day one of my projects, adding green data fields to my local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), went “live” in St. Johns County and the US.  After working on this project for one year, the green MLS fields will be a valuable benefit for anyone selling or searching for a home with upgraded energy features and sustainability.

Throughout the rest of the year I continued on the Board of Directors of the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) and developing Green Guidelines for retrofitting existing homes with the rest of the task force.  Participating in three green energy expos I helped “spread the word” about reducing utility costs, saving water, energy and improving a home’s indoor air quality.  Continuing with education and support I found myself helping other homeowners attempting to install FFL yards and meeting with opposition from their HOA boards.  In an attempt to learn about others with similar FFL issues I created a Facebook group, Homeowners For Florida Friendly Yards, and found this issue to be statewide.  As more homeowners decide to do their part for water conservation and pollution this will remain an issue into 2012 and beyond.  Awareness is the answer, so help spread the word!

As the year was winding down I added one more credential to my list – instructor! Even though I have been conducting workshops and seminars for several years it was necessary for me to take a Master Instructor course to be able to teach classes to other REALTORs.  Finishing with an “audition” I am set to enter 2012 as an instructor.  I guess you won’t be surprised to learn my subjects will be energy and sustainability related 🙂

Finally, yet foremost, I am a Real Estate Broker with several green designations. My business is helping folks buy and sell houses which I have been doing for  twenty one years!  I appreciate any and all referrals to help people with their real estate transactions and am able to add even more value with my experience and knowledge of energy efficiency and sustainability.   Please pass my name on to anyone you know looking to buy or sell a house in St. Johns County in 2012.

I will be continuing my efforts to raise awareness about healthier homes and environments through as many means as possible in 2012!  Wishing each and everyone a happy, healthy and greener 2012!

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