New to town? Or possibly been here for decades and suddenly getting that sense of civic pride and environmental duty? Here's your cheat sheet for light, local living.
Congrats! Your new—er, existing?—home is beautiful! But boy do we have work ahead. Changing billing addresses—utilities, mobile phone service, insurance, cable internet and TV—is at the top of the list. Skip the trip to the post office and change your mailing address online. Once you have proof of residency, get to the to sign up for a library card (ebooks have arrived!)
While you're there, grab your Voter Registration form—you really can't impact your community without exercising your voting rights. Or download here, but don't delay—the deadline is 21 days before an election.
Oh, and while PSEG will be your electricity delivery service, you can find a cheaper electricity supplier by shopping around—start here.
You'll need to know your trash collection and recycling pickup schedules. Reference the site, or place a call if need be. The blue bin is for paper and cardboard, the yellow bucket for bottles and cans and paper cartons—review this for the nitty gritty.
And get to know your . These folks truly make the community run. Located at 1601 Union Landing Road, this facility is your drop off point for paint cans, vehicle tires, and old electronics like TVs and printers (can't leave them !).
Getting cozy in the new digs? Don't relax too much; we have a house worth of energy issues to explore.
The most obvious may be the lighting. Did the prior owners choose incandescent bulbs, despite their inefficiencies? The old-school Edison bulb uses 200 to 300 percent more electricity than compact fluorescents and runs much hotter, inflating your home cooling bills as well. If the whole planet made the switch, we'd save 2.5 percent of our total electricity consumption! (Oh, and if you have the cash to front, LED bulbs are an order of magnitude better in efficiency and longevity.)
How about your walls—stark white, or a fading hue that's crying for coverage? Consider a to ReStore in Cinnaminson where unused paint is donated, or else make sure to buy low-VOC or no-VOC paint, keeping your inside environs breathable and safe. Check out in Cinnaminson or Moorestown Hardware for options.
Your appliances are another major energy hog, especially if not kept in shape. Is the air conditioner condensing unit blocked (or filter clogged), restricting its air flow? Are your ceiling vents open and clean? A yearly service call can pay for itself in watts saved.
And what's your plan for the lawn? Those gas-powered riding mowers get the job done quick, but spew an astounding amount of noxious emissions: one hour of mowing is the equivalent of driving 200 miles! Electric mowers run quietly and don't rely on foreign sources of fuel. And cordless versions offer an hour plus of runtime (running out just in time to replace your cold beverage, this author has found!)
The list of course goes on, but once your satisfied with your home's footprint, make your voice heard in town. Heard of Sustainable Jersey? It's a state-based certification program to educate your neighbors about the virtues (and financial sense) of clean power, self-sufficiency and a low-impact lifestyle. Cinnaminson's leadership hasn't yet seen the value, unlike more than 350 other New Jersey townships. Let the Township Committee know it's a priority worth pursuing.
Even better, make your way to township committee meetings (held the first and third Monday of the month at the municipal administration building, 1621 Riverton Road; next is April 16, 7:30 p.m.) to stay up on the latest haps—issues swirl around town continuously, and the informed resident is our most valuable asset.
Also consider getting a home energy audit. This service—usually under $200—will flesh out those areas of your home where air (and energy dollars) are flowing right out the window (or doors, floors or fireplaces). The remedial work is an upfront investment, but pays back in as little as 18 months for a project like insulation upgrades.
So even if you're a Sweet Water mainstay, you can learn a lot by applying the mindset of a fledgling Cinnaminsonite. Take a ride around town with new eyes—there's a natural bounty worth appreciating. It's the neighborly thing to do.