My Rearview Mirror Goal.
My name is Marius (MJ) Smook, and my passion is to do whatever I can to make a difference by promoting sustainability and helping others to live a green lifestyle. By profession, I am a Home Energy Rater and LEED AP for green homes, as well as a Real Estate Eco-Broker in Florida, USA. My businesses are Green Home Leasing, Florida Green Home Consultants and Florida Green Home Brokers.
I became a green home consultant because I thought that it would be the best way for me to help homeowners to go green, and by being successful at it, I would have achieved my rearview mirror Goal.
I was wrong! My consulting services are of interest to homeowners who value saving a couple of hundred dollars every month in energy costs, and who can also afford to pay for the green home improvements that can make that happen. Unfortunately for many people who fall into that demographic, saving a couple of hundred dollars is not life changing, and therefore often not worth the effort.
While I am immensely passionate about it, my rearview mirror goal is a simple one: When I reach the end of the road of my life, I want to be able to look back in my rearview mirror and see that I left something behind in the road that will make a difference to those who are still driving. It wasn’t happening!
One day I was called to consult with a family from a completely different demographic, a low income family that wanted to reduce their energy costs. My immediate thoughts were not to go because I knew that they would not be able to afford the required energy saving improvements to their home, but I went any way.
The father was a laborer during the day, and his wife took care of the home and their four children. They were just a nice everyday hardworking family, but very worried about a newspaper report of an impending hike in energy costs which they would not be able to meet. The electric bill for their modest home was already averaging $600 per month, and if it went any higher, then they would have to default on their mortgage because you can’t live in a home without electricity.
Now this is the sad part: Low income family homes are often much less energy efficient than more expensive homes. They don’t include features like energy smart construction, high efficiency appliances and advanced insulating methods and materials. As a result, low income homeowners pay as much as two to three times more for energy than owners of more expensive but proportionately similar size homes. And because of inferior construction, low income homes deteriorate and become less energy efficient faster, with energy bills quickly becoming unaffordable. This can become a major cause of families spiraling further into the cycle of poverty and losing their homes to foreclosure.
I was excited; this family needed what I had to offer: insulation, high performance windows, air sealing, energy efficient air conditioning and water heating plus solar panels, and their electric bill would vanish. They could then take the $600 that they were spending on energy and instead put it to work in a college fund for the kids, and thereby almost guaranteeing their deliverance from poverty.
Of course, the problem was that the family could not afford what I had to offer them, and I left them with a heavy heart. I was doing this to make a difference but couldn’t do it for those whom it could make the biggest and most meaningful difference.
That’s when I started to think about how I could come up with a win win solution for this problem. In the true spirit of sustainability, I had to come up with a triple-bottom-line action plan that would make it possible for me to put my training to work to help families that needed it the most and in so doing help me to meet my rearview mirror goal. I had to find a way to give them all the energy improvements that they needed to be able to completely eliminate their electric bills without it costing them a dime, in return for them agreeing to use the savings to establish a college fund for their kids.
Enter Switch it Green, Switch it Forward. If I could ask green minded consumers to, without changing their lives or asking them to spend any extra money, simply switch their purchasing to a different green product store, and then get the store to pay referral fees into a fund that could pay for energy improvements for low income families, then I would achieve the ultimate triple bottom line, everyone wins scenario:
- Consumers win – they get a more convenient, one stop, competitively priced green shopping experience.
- Consumers win – they feel good knowing that their purchases are helping the fight against poverty and climate change.
- Consumers win – for supporting a sustainability cause, they get recognized on this website.
- The store wins – they get extra business.
- The store wins – they also feel good knowing that their sales and referral fees are helping the fight against poverty and climate change.
- The store wins – they get recognized and receive publicity for helping a worthy cause.
- The homeowners win – they get to afford to stay in their homes when energy costs rise.
- The children win – they get a college fund, and will one day get an education and be lifted out of poverty.
- The planet wins – receiving less pollution and lessening climate change.
- My businesses win – they receive marketing and publicity benefits from the press coverage.
- Switch it Green, Switch it Forward wins – also from the press coverage.
- I win – my green home training is properly used, and my rear view mirror goal is met.
So that’s what I and my Switch it Green, Switch it Forward movement is all about. I hope that you will join me in making a difference.
Our phone number is: 1.800.893.9240. Our fax number is 1.800.940.6035
Our address is 3030 North Rocky Point Dr., Suite 150, Tampa, FL33607
Please visit our FAQ page for more information.
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