Remodeling? Build in Energy Efficiency

Are you planning a home renovation? It’s a great chance to remake your energy bill as well. From lighting to appliances to building materials, the choices you make can help improve the comfort and efficiency of your home.

  • Adding new appliances? Purchase an ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator and dishwasher; they use less energy than standard models.
  • Install high-efficiency, LED fixtures and lamps for under-cabinet and ceiling lighting. LEDs use 75 percent less energy than conventional lamps and last a lot longer.
  • Install WaterSense labeled low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to conserve water and reduce your water heating costs.
  • Seal air leaks and install the appropriate insulation in the walls behind tubs and showers.
  • Control moisture and save energy by installing ENERGY STAR qualified ventilation fans.
  • By finishing your basement, you can add living space without adding to your energy budget. Insulate basement walls and crawl spaces based on recommended levels.
  • Seal air leaks around plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls.
  • Replace older, single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR certified high-performance windows.
  • Replace your old clothes washer and dryer with new, ENERGY STAR models.
  • A bigger home doesn’t necessarily mean bigger energy bills. Ask your contractor about advanced framing techniques. Advanced framing can help improve the insulating value of your new walls, while reducing material and labor costs.
  • Make sure all new windows, skylights and doors are ENERGY STAR qualified.

If you’re not planning a major renovation, you can still improve the efficiency of your home. Hire a qualified energy auditor to assess your home. You’ll receive a customized list of energy-saving recommendations that will improve comfort and efficiency all year long.

Have you recently remodeled areas of your home?  What products have you incorporated to save energy and MONEY?  

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group

How to Keep A Gratitude Journal

If you’re like me on most days, you’re thinking ahead about what you need to do, where you need to go, and what you want to achieve.  That’s okay, of course.  We have to think ahead, plan and have goals or we wouldn’t accomplish anything.

My Gratitude Journal Circa 2011

However, I started a practice that has helped me tremendously in keeping what is most important at the top of my mind and even more so, in my subconscious.

Someone suggested I keep a “Gratitude Journal” back in 2011 and it’s something I continue to do now.

Gratitude is a powerful emotion. It can transform your life and open up incredible opportunities for love, joy, and success. It shifts your perspective and helps you find the good in each and every moment. When you’re overcome with grief, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, or anger, it’s hard to see what’s going right in your life.  This is when you need gratitude the most.

Here’s a simple formula on how to keep a gratitude journal:

Pick a quiet time in the morning, afternoon or evening and reflect on what is happening in your life in that moment.

First write down three things you are grateful for.

In the beginning you most likely will be generic and write something like:
1. I’m grateful for my health.  2. I’m grateful for my family.  3.  I’m grateful for a career I love.

But, when you do this more often, you’re going to need to get more specific so as not to repeat yourself. Reflecting on all the positive things in your life in the moment you choose to write, you elaborate and it might look something more like this:

1. I’m grateful that I took time for myself yesterday to go on a bike ride. 2. I’m grateful my kids had a great first week of school and my Husband and I had a wonderful conversation last night. 3. I’m grateful my colleagues and I worked together on the presentation to our prospect and we secured their business.  

When you do this every day, you will start to dial down to specific and thoughtful aspects of your life that you are truly grateful for that you might not take the time to notice during the busy-ness of life.

Second write down three things you are grateful to receive.

This is when you put those good vibes out there, visualize and get specific about what you want.  Again, in the beginning you may be generic -because this takes LOTS of practice. You might start out saying:
1. I’m grateful to receive continued good health.  2. I’m grateful to receive my friends and family stay safe. 3. I’m grateful to receive a promotion.

As you continue to think about what you want to receive in your life, you get more and more specific. And every day is different.  You can ask for WHATEVER it is that you need to receive in your life at that moment in time:

“I’m grateful to receive a good night sleep tonight; I’m grateful to receive patience as I drive to work in rush hour traffic; I’m grateful to receive peace and forgiveness in my heart; I’m grateful to receive that tomorrow I’m going to try harder to be in the moment with whatever I’m doing; I’m grateful to receive will power to save for the vacation I really want to take with my family; I’m grateful to receive time to finish this project that’s important to me .”  

You’ll also notice there will be days in which your gratitude journal is not about YOU at all.  You will begin to write about others and what you are grateful for about them, and what you’d like to receive in relation to THEIR life, health, well-being, achievements, etc:

“I’m grateful for Jack passing his test and feeling successful; I’m grateful Pat had a fun golf trip with his friends; I’m grateful my Grandma still drives and feels independent; I’m grateful to receive a successful surgery for my friend this week; I’m grateful to receive that my neighbors sells their home and are able to retire to their dream home on the beach; I’m grateful to receive my kids teachers don’t feel too overwhelmed this week with back to school activities; I’m grateful to receive my in-laws have safe travels to Ireland.”

I could go on and on 🙂

Be Specific.

Most important to this exercise is don’t just go through the motions.  First make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful with where you are in your life and elaborate in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful and for which you’re grateful to receive.

I promise it will change your life!

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?  If so, how often do write in your journal?

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group