Filed under: LIVING GREEN
By Paul Golini Jr.
I have to remind myself that going green isn’t mainstream yet, but sometimes that’s hard to do. Lately, I’ve been feeling like Green technology, Green products and Green ideas are everywhere. This could be the result of my participation in the largest Green building conference to hit our city – Greenbuild. The US Green Building Council’s annual conference brought 25,000 people from the global Green industry to Toronto back in early October.
Or, it could be the result of our continued efforts to Green BILD. The Association headquarters has been retrofitted with energy-efficient windows, and we did a complete lighting overhaul with the installation of motion sensors, timers and setbacks throughout the building.
Earlier this year, we installed 80 solar PV panels on our rooftop, and since then, 8,000 kilowatt hours of electricity have been generated and fed back into Ontario’s power grid. And just last month, we had all of the carpet replaced with a new one manufactured with 20 per cent recycled content. The new carpet also received a Green Label Plus designation, which is a program that tests for, and certifies, low emissions from carpet and adhesive.
BILD has a proven track record of leading by example, and for that, the Association was recently recognized as the EnerQuality Leader of the Year. The Association has undertaken a number of pro-active Green initiatives, including Green education and training partnerships, as well as demonstration projects such as the Archetype Sustainable House.
Our members have also been increasingly keen to get involved with green initiatives. We have a Green Leadership Committee, which has established a Green Renovation Task Force and our Renovators’ Council has a Green sub-committee. Through those forums, there is a sharing of information and access to support Green projects.
One recent example was when our Green Leadership Committee members received first access to a call for submissions by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). The Authority was looking for a general contractor and project manager for its Green Home Makeover as part of its Sustainable Neighbourhoods Retrofit Action Plan in a Brampton community. One of our RenoMark contractors and BILD member companies, Keystone Interiors, was selected and the project is now in its final stages.
At the last Renovators’ Council meeting, Shannon Logan from TRCA and Emilio Cosentino from Keystone, explained all of the new technologies and products installed in the 1980s single-detached home such as new insulation, low-flow fixtures, an efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, water-smart landscaping and much more. Key to their presentation was that any of the retrofits could easily be done to upgrade an existing home. For the next two years,
TRCA will be monitoring the energy and water consumption in the home so that they can share real results with the homeowners, neighbours and anyone who will listen.
I know our members are listening, and it sure seems like consumers are listening. Now all we have to do is continue to spread the word, and before we know it, going Green will be mainstream.
Paul Golini Jr.
Paul Golini Jr. is chair of the Building
Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and can be found online on
Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta), Youtube
(youtube.com/bildgta) and BILD’s official blog (bildblogs.ca).
December 28, 2011
Consider these energy efficiency upgrades prior to buying or constructing your new home:
1. Choose Ennergy Star-qualified windows and doors.
2. Upgrade the attic insulation.
3. Install electronic thermostats.
4. Seal window and door cracks from air leakage.
5. Upgrade the insulation of exterior walls and foundation.
6. Use the furnace or boiler with higher-efficiency equipment such as one with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) greater than 90 per cent.
7. Add a heat pump to your home heating system (air or ground source).
8. Work with an energy advisor to get energy efficiency upgrade recommendations for your new home in order to achieve higher EnerGuide rating.
9. Build or buy an Energy Star-qualified or R–2000 certified home.
10. Build or buy a net zero home that does not require any energy from an outside source.
Natural Resources Canada has more tips on energy efficiency at home on its website at newhomes.nrcan.gc.ca NC
April 27, 2011
Between designing rooms on HGTV and running after two toddlers, Sarah Richardson still makes having an environmentally friendly home a priority for her family.
Here are some tips from Sarah for keeping your home Green:
Go for the front: If it’s time to replace your old washer and dryer, consider investing in the front loading versions. They save energy while still getting things clean.
Tow the line: When the weather is nice, hang your clothes to dry for a fresh scent that can’t be beat.
Stay natural: When Sarah is cleaning, she looks for plant–based formulas like Green Works cleaners “that can tackle toddler–sized messes without harsh chemical fumes or residue”. With at least 95 per cent naturally–derived ingredients, they are a great choice for keeping things clean.
Check out more great tips from Sarah on how to make your home a green space at trygreenworks.ca NC
April 22, 2011
With today’s rising energy costs, improving your home’s energy efficiency is good for both your wallet, and the environment.
In older homes increasing energy efficiency could reduce your energy costs up to 40 per cent. So if you’re thinking about renovating, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has a wide variety of tips that can help you improve your comfort and health, improve durability and cut your monthly energy bills.
» Before you start, get a free copy of CMHC’s Renovating for Energy Savings to find ways of upgrading your home.
» Furnaces typically last about 15 to 20 years. When you’re ready to replace your older heating system, consider upgrading to a highly energy-efficient Energy Star-qualified model. It could reduce your heating bill by up to 20 per cent.
» Have your heating system regularly serviced to ensure energy efficiency and longevity.
» Install and use a set back thermostat to reduce energy use when you are not at home.
» Draft proof everywhere, including foundation walls, attic hatches and doors, around window and door frames, at ceiling penetrations, around light fixtures and wiring, and around service penetrations through exterior walls. Plus, seal the joint between the window frame and wall, and keep weather stripping and storm windows in good repair.
» If you own a fireplace or woodstove, replace any leaky dampers and repair chimney flues. Also consider switching to more energy-efficient options such as an electric fireplace insert, EPA-rated insert unit or direct-vent natural gas fireplace insert.
» Consider upgrading to more energy-efficient windows to prevent heat loss, greatly improve comfort levels and reduce maintenance needs.
» Replace and recycle older clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, electric ranges and dishwashers with newer Energy Star rated models, and switch to energy-saving fluorescent, compact fluorescent and task lighting where possible.
CMHC is one of Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing expertise. For more information or a free copy of the Before You Renovate guide to planning your next renovation project, call 1-800-668-2642 or visit cmhc.ca
February 10, 2011
If you are in the market for a new laundry pair, chances are you’ve heard a lot of new terms as you walk the floor of your local appliance retailer: high-efficiency, top-load, front-load. Without a lot of information, it can be hard to navigate and even harder to be sure that you’re making the right laundry choice for your family.
What is high-efficiency (or HE) laundry and what can my family expect?
• In the past, if you were looking for a high-efficiency laundry pair, a front-loading machine was the only option. A number of Canadians prefer top-loading laundry but have had to choose between high-efficiency or the easy-to-load ergonomic format of a top-load washer manufacturers have listened. You can now have a high-efficiency laundry pair in the style that suits you best – top-load or front-load.
• A high-efficiency washer uses a lot less water, energy and detergent to clean clothes. With a high-efficiency laundry pair such as the Maytag Performance Series Front-Load Washer, there is 70 per cent less water to heat, compared to conventional washers, so costs are cut right from the start.
• High-efficiency washers do not have an agitator to move clothes through the washing cycle. Instead of an agitator, clothes are tumbled through a much smaller amount of water. Because of this tumbling motion, the water level doesn’t need to cover the entire load, so your clothes get completely clean while using less water.
• High-efficiency washers and their matching dryers have larger capacities, so you can get more clothes into a load. New models from Maytag such as the Bravos High-Efficiency Top-Load can hold up to five cubic feet of clothes in the washer and 7.3 cubic feet of clothes in the dryer, so you can clean all your laundry in less loads each week, saving you time and money.
High-efficiency laundry pairs are the new standard when it comes to laundry choice, whether you’re a front-load laundry fan or prefer a more traditional top-load team. Choosing a high-efficiency laundry pair, you can be sure you are making the right choice for your family, your wallet and the environment.
We tried it!
The new Martha Stewart Clean line of premium natural cleaners offers products for laundry, kitchen, bathroom and general household or office use. This is great news for consumers looking for effective, Green household solutions.
Starting from $5.
Available at most major grocery stores.
“Everything came out looking clean and I liked that it did not have fragrance. I always use natural products for the wash and this was just as good as anything else I have tried. I would definitely buy this again.” – Tammy from Toronto
February 4, 2011
Canadian Otterbottle Inc. has launched new chic and stylish food containers, insulated beverage containers and insulated tote bags. Since the successful launch of its first stainless steel water bottle – the original Otterbottle – the demand for more eco friendly products that are style conscious has proliferated. Eco-chic Otterbottle Inc. continues their mission to create stylish products with the new uniquely designed containers and food totes.
Otterbottle Insulated Tote Bags. $19.99
Save money and the environment in style with these new insulated tote bags. From storing your lunchtime munchies, toting around snacks, drinks or bottles for the kiddies to picnics in the park – these totes keep you stylin’ on the go!
Otterbottle Insulated Drink Container. $23.99
Pop your favourite java inside and take it with you on the go, stir up a shake after your workout or simply sip your favourite cool bevvie in style. It comes in six brilliant styles from purple dragonfly, metallic orange owl to metallic blue OM.
Otterbottle Stainless Steel Waterbottles. $17.99-$21.99
100 per cent 18/8 grade stainless steel bottles (inside and out and 100 per cent recyclable), have no BPA (which is officially toxic to your health), no aluminum, no lining and are dishwasher-safe – making them a great choice to help protect our water, health and environment.
Otterbottle Insulated Food Containers. $21.99
These food containers will have your lunch buddies drooling. 350mls of pure stylish eco-friendly hotness that promises to keep your favourite nosh toasty until lunch time! It comes in six stunning patterns and eye-popping colours.
Visit otterbottle.ca to find a dealer near you.
February 1, 2011
By Kim Carlton
In this month’s issue of Home Décor and Renovations we talked about how in Ontario you can make money by putting solar (Photovoltaic or PV) panels on the roof of your house and sell energy back to the grid. However, there are other ways to take advantage of the power of the sun. You can also use solar power to heat your hot water and pool – saving big bucks and reducing pollution.
Solar water heaters preheat cold municipal water to use in your home. Rooftop solar panels heat water in a tank, which would run through faucets and showerheads. According to Summerhill Impact and the Ontario government’s Go Solar information book, heating water with a solar water heater can save a four person household approximately $200-$300 per year. These systems cost approximately $4000-$8000 to install, and generally supplement gas or electric water heating systems. Using a solar water heater can eliminate two tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Solar pool heaters preheat water for your pool. Many families can meet all of their pool heating needs with solar pool heaters. A typical pool heating system for a 16 by 32 foot pool would cost approximately $3000-$6000 to install. Replacing a natural gas or propane heater with a solar heater could stop three to 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.
For more information about opportunities to use solar panels to your home’s advantage, go to www.gosolarontario.ca.
October 23, 2010
By Susan Legge
Are you looking for ways to help save the environment and also save money on your utility bill?
Some companies are taking notice of the demand for water saving fixtures and are creating new products with conservation in mind. Companies like Price Pfister, who was one of the first faucet companies to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program out of the U.S., are catering to those looking for ways that they can help be more environmentally conscious.
Here are some tips on how to conserve water in the home by just making a few changes:
· Installing water efficient faucets can save 2,500 gallons per month.
· Installing water efficient showerheads can save 500-800 gallons per month.
· Fixing leaky faucets or plumbing joints can save 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.
· Turning off water while brushing your teeth can save 3 gallons each day.
· Shortening showers can save 700 gallons per month for every minute
By switching to water efficient plumbing fixtures, the average household can save $170 every year on its water bill. You can use the EPA water saving calculator http://www.epa.gov/watersense/calculate_your_water_savings.html to see how much money you can save each year by changing your faucets and shower heads.
Price Pfister’s traditional water-pump inspired Ashfield model can reduce water consumption by approximately 30 per cent without compromising your water experience
July 29, 2010