Growing Local to Feed the GTA
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threats” on the streets. From the large local investment in this world meeting, it seems that the lessons to learn are personal.
It is said that what cannot be measured cannot be managed. While government leaders convened to deal with some very large numbers over n June 21, I was privileged to attend Our Common Future 2.0, a symthe very short term, those of us who believe that environmental, social reposium hosted by Corporate Knights magazine, chaired by the environsponsibility needs to take its place alongside profit, pleasure and personal ment policy pioneer Maurice Strong. It marked the 20th anniversary of the enhancement in society’s permanent value set—we have one major G20 founding of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) takeaway. Until environmental “replacement value” is monetized and the and recognized the achievements of many environmental veterans, inbig stacks of environmental poker chips look like others on the table, the cluding Jim MacNeill, who introduced the term “sustainable development.” environment will be treated as a government policy luxury.
Despite the vigorous enthusiasm of George Smitherman, Galen Weston, and Elizabeth May, it was noted that civil society’s effect on policy is slipping. While Sylvia Ostry decried the “exhilaration of pessimism”, Maria Ivanova, Director of the Global Environment Governance Project at the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, cited the struggle to determine “what we need to change and what it needs to change to.”
Policy that doesn’t take sustainability into account is in fact incomplete policy. Look no further than the Gulf of Mexico: the overriding concern in government response to the crisis is commercial: lost income to fishermen, tourism and in fact other oil companies. Environmental degradation and damage to marine life appear secondary.
Business activity that doesn’t take into account the entire life cycle of its There was no unanimity between the participants. However, a voice from environmental impacts is irresponsible practice. To accept that environthe private sector, Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operamental considerations are a luxury that we cannot afford is no more credtors Group, counselled academics and policy makers to MAKE ITSIMPLE for ible than saying we can’t afford to make cars with seatbelts. business to act in response to the potential devastation of climate change. So it’s up to us—the consumers—to support companies that take the So as Toronto contemplates the aftermath of the G20, where the word “en- environment seriously. They need to further the cause that their visionary vironment” was scarcely uttered, we must wonder what real difference it owners embrace. When we demonstrate that we’re spending money on will make to take a sustainable approach in managing our homes. Even if green energy, smarter building, sustainable agriculture and responsible protesters tried to impose planetary sensibilities on visiting world financial travel, and there’s a dollar value on our green economy, then maybe our leaders, their voices were displaced by the attention paid to the “security “common future” will be noticed by those in charge.
It’s just, good business.
If we had our way, there wouldn’t be any other kind. Corporate Knights Magazine has been holding Canadian business to account with fearless reporting for over 8 years. You can get behind clean capitalism too with an annual subscription of 22$. Go online at: www.corporateknights.ca/subscribe
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 3
Is your money going out the window? Imagine cartoon eyes rolling with dollar signs as you pay for the air escaping your home By Jeff Ranson Get an audit:
It’s true that old windows
An ecoENERGY home audit is the best way to learn where you’re losing heat and the most cost-effective way to deal with it. As a bonus, the ecoENERGY program offers grants of up to $10,000 for energy efficiency improvements but only if you complete the home audit. If you’re borrowing for home repairs, it’s also worth talking to your bank to see how they can help.
are a source of heat loss, but before you spend thousands on state-of-the-art energy efficient windows there a few things to consider for the best environmental bang for your buck. Photo provided by Altius Architecture Inc.
Altius Architecture used Heatmirror TC88 Krypton Windows from ECO Insulating Glass on their off-the-grid Cliff House. Seal them up: “Homeowners believe that windows and doors themselves are the culprits for energy loss,” saysTracy Chong, Vice President of GreenSaver, a leading Ontario home energy focused non-profit. “GreenSaver’s experience has been that many times this isn’t the windows and doors—it’s usually the lack of proper air sealing around those areas.” Proper sealing is a low cost way to guarantee a return on your energy investment and plenty of online tutorials make this an easy do-it-yourself project. It might not be the windows:
Don’t throw your money out the window!
Heat loss can come from poorly insulated walls, floors and basements, as well as un-insulated cavities where plumbing, lights and power outlets come through the drywall. When choosing between upgrading windows and insulating walls, remember that windows only make up 10-20 per cent of the exterior surface area of a typical house. An investment in the other 80 per cent will go a lot further.
• Reduce winter heat loss by 80% • Reduce summer heat gain by 70% • Reduce outside noise pollution • Reduce your carbon footprint Around 50% of the money we spend on heating or cooling our homes flies right out the window. Dress your windows to provide the best insulation from the elements. Take advantage of the latest technology, 4 layers of engineered fabric maximizes protection from the outside temperature throughout the year. Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) eligible.
4 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
416-633-3043 1-800-665-4858 firstname.lastname@example.org
“A growing number of Canadians want to improve energy efficiency in their home and one of the best ways to start is with an energy audit,” said Gord Kerr, Head of Marketing for Home Equity and Lending at RBC Royal Bank. An RBC Energy Saver mortgage or loan, for example, offers a rebate of up to $300 or $100 respectively on the cost of an energy audit to help homeowners create a more energy efficient home faster, while saving on borrowing costs. What kind of windows should I buy? Any good green home designer will start with a tight, well-insulated envelope. ENERGY STAR certified windows are a good baseline, but pay attention to R-value which indicates the insulation value (better windows are typically around R-4 or R-5). If you want to avoid vinyl consider fiberglass window frames instead. Cathy Garrido, a Partner at Altius Architecture recommends wood frames for added beauty but suggests clad wood windows—wood on the inside, fiberglass on the exterior—for reduced maintenance. While Altius used high-end R-9 windows on their off-the-grid Cliff House, she says that other approaches should be tackled first. Proper shading in summer and maximizing winter sunlight will save more off heating and cooling bills than a better R-value and choosing windows that open can save you hundreds of dollars on air conditioning.
Jeff Ranson is a sustainability consultant with the Innovolve Group in Toronto and a manager with Sustainable Buildings Canada.
Green Roofs: Enviro and Mental Benefits By Angela Loder
Green roofs do more than clear the air and cool the city. Researchers have found they calm the mind too. The numerous environmental benefits associated with green roofs are undeniable. Especially considering the City of Toronto planted their own green roof atop City Hall that promises to shrink the building’s energy consumption by 10 per cent. Likewise, Toronto has passed some of the most stringent green roof legislation in North America. However, recent research has shown that green roofs may provide health and well-being benefits to those who look out on them. In a study, researchers found a majority of office workers in Toronto and Chicago who overlook green roofs from their workplace felt the sight of greenery amid concrete and glass gave them a mental break from the workday. This mental breathing space was described as calming and peaceful, and helped office workers gain perspective and clarity about the problems facing them during the day. This was particularly true if the green roof was accessible and provided a space for participants to take a break from their desks. Green roofs also gave many office workers a sense of hope about our ability to address environmental problems and pride about the organization responsible for the green roof - both of which influence well-being. The scale and aesthetics of green roofs were found to influence the perception of their associated health benefits,.
Chicago City Hall green roof:
Chicago’s award-winning green roof mimics the long-lost prairie native to Chicago and hosts birds, butterflies, and bees. Many participants found the roof beautiful, though colour and detail was lost if viewers were too far away. The “messy” aesthetic of prairie-style vegetation will be popular with environmentalists, but might need explaining to your lawn-loving neighbours.
401 Richmond green roof, Toronto:
Green roof on 161 North Clark, Chicago:
Incentives for green roofs in Toronto:
This sedum green roof on a parking garage in downtown Chicago met the minimum requirement of 50 per cent coverage, but participants found it looked half-finished and was aesthetically unappealing. If choosing a light-weight sedum green roof, try to add colour and variation for more aesthetic appeal.
Currently, the City of Toronto offers an Eco-Roof Incentive program aimed at encouraging green roof implementation in industrial, commercial, or institutional buildings in the city’s designated employment districts. The program provides funding for green roof retrofits on existing buildings, or for industrial and commercial and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of over 2,000 m2. The incentive provides $50/square metre up to $100,000. For more information see www.toronto.ca/livegreen.
Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) green roof, Toronto: One of the first green roofs in Toronto, MEC’s prairie-style vegetation was also sometimes described as “messy,” but participants appreciated its ecological benefits and seasonal variation. The small wildflowers do not tend to be visible from a distance, so you might want to experiment with some border colour or patterns if it will be seen from afar. Robertson Building green roof, Toronto: Employees can take a break from their desks to have lunch on one of two accessible green roofs that overlook the skyline. Because employees were on the roof, colours and flowers were more visible and employees loved the
This popular green roof combines an accessible gardenstyle roof with potted plants, along with a more traditional, and inaccessible, sedum green roof. It is a good example of a multi-purpose roof that combines social and environmental benefits.
Return on Investment: Green roofs can reduce the cooling costs for the upper floors of buildings, insulate against sound, and, if done properly, can reduce the size of the ventilation system required for the building. For more specific information on the benefits of green roofs, please see www.greenroofs.org.
Angela Loder is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto studying green roofs and health.
o Nursery • Installation • Maintenance Serving Your Community Since 1984
416.815.8080 www.rosedalelandscaping.com OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 5
Paid Information Supplement Phantom Screens Solves the Screening Dilemma For years, home owners have struggled with finding ways to allow rejuvenating fresh air into their homes without detracting from their home’s beautiful design. But it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Phantom Screens - North America’s leading provider of retractable screens - has changed all of that, with practical and aesthetically pleasing retractable screen solutions.
Renewable energy saves m How going green at home pays you By Jim Harris
Phantom Screens offers a beautiful alternative to traditional insect screens. Manufactured in Canada, these functional, attractive screens disappear when not in use and come in a variety of colours to match virtually any décor, allowing them to blend perfectly with door trim to maintain the home’s architectural integrity. There when you need them, and completely out of sight when not in use, Phantom’s retractable screens are wonderfully functional, while preserving the view and beauty of any home. When installed on a double French doors, a formerly problematic application to screen for many homeowners, Phantom’s Screens glide silently into place whenever a cool breeze or protection from flying pests is required. Then, Phantom Screens retract out of sight onto either side of the door frame when not needed. This makes an easy task of walking through the doorway while carrying an hors d’oeuvres tray out to the deck, or while holding the hand of a toddler. Phantom’s Screens offers discerning homeowners an alternate approach to providing their home ventilation, reducing home cooling expenses and dependency on air conditioning systems, all while maintaining their home’s inherent beauty. For more information, call 1-888-PHANTOM or visit www.phantomscreens.com
Photo provided by Arise Technologies
This 7.65kw building integrated photovoltaic grid-tied system was designed and installed by ARISE Technologies for its CEO, Ian MacLellan’s home.
By Jim Harris
With the launch of an energy program that pays homeowners for solar power, it’s the best time ever to make green energy choices. Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) microFIT (Feed-in-Tariff) program pays 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar power over a 20-year contract and has been inundated with applications since its inception. Installing the largest system possible costs $70,000 and pays the homeowner $10,000 a year, which means the system pays for itself in seven years.
But before installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, homeowners should make sure even faster payback items are completed first. Energy efficiency is the cheapest means of power generation. The average Canadian homeowner can save $17,000 of energy over five years with an average of three and half year paybacks, claims Godo Stoyke’s in Carbon Busters’ Home Energy Hand Book. The first step to becoming more efficient is to get an energy audit from an independent certified energy advisor. Three experienced Toronto auditors are GreenSaver, Enwise Power Solutions, and the Windfall Ecology Centre. An audit costs up to $360 and the provincial government will rebate half of this amount up to $150. Energy advisors recommend energy efficient improvements for your home from
Jim Harris is a bestselling author, National Post columnist and management consultant, email@example.com.
6 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
money and the planet For more information visit: microfit.powerauthority.on.ca toronto.ca/livegreen marsdd.ca windfallcentre.ca ourpower.ca least cost to more expensive options. Typical improvements include: draft proofing, increasing insulation in your attic and walls, replacing old appliances with new energy efficient ones, switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and installing efficient windows. Once you’ve done this, your heating and air conditioning demands may be cut in half, so you could get a newer, smaller, more efficient furnace when it comes time to replace your old one. In terms of appliances, you could be saving $800, $1,300, or $700 over the life of your refrigerator, washer and freezer respectively. And, as electricity rates rise in the future, these savings will increase. Homeowners can get a rebate of up to $5,000 from the province of Ontario for energy efficiency improvements and Toronto residents can get another $1,000 under the Home Energy Assistance (HEAT) program. Reaping the rewards of your newly retrofitted, energy efficient home, you’ll have some extra money to invest. While an investment of $30,000 to $70,000 for solar power is sizeable, Tom Rand, the MaRS Discovery District’s Cleantech Advisor, makes the economic case: if the energy savings combined with what OPA pays you are greater than your debt servicing requirements, your investment is cash flow positive from day one. So, you’re making money while adding to the value of your property. Assume you invest $20,000 to retrofit your home for energy efficiency and $30,000 to install solar PV. If you take out a $50,000 mortgage on your house at four and a half per cent interest for a fixed five-year term with a 38-year amortization period and
monthly payments of $228, you’d make $248 a month from the OPA payments alone, and your energy savings would add to this figure. There are community buying groups which streamline the process for home owners, while achieving lower pricing through bulk purchasing. Toronto city councilor, Joe Mihevc and Earth Day Canada President, Jed Goldberg were both part of the West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy (WISE) along with Ken Traynor. Together they went through the myriad choices the group had to agree upon: the solar PV supplier, the installer, and the contracts details. Following the experience, Traynor founded Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative, which guides community groups through the process. There are now eight Toronto buying groups and another five throughout Ontario. For a list of groups see OurPower. ca. If you do choose to try the microFIT program, you will have to wait three months to have your application processed. Some 13,500 microFit applications flooded into the OPA, far exceeded expectations, says Ben Chin, OPA Vice President of Communications. More than 99 per cent are for solar PV.
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A rooftop Solar Power System installed by EfstonScience can earn you $2000 to $10,000+ annually Selling your solar power through the OPA’s MicroFIT program helps Ontario achieve a greener future while generating an income stream that’s guaranteed for 20 years. Now is the time to invest in solar energy. To learn more: • Drop by the EfstonScience SuperStore and see our hands-on eSolar Resource Centre • Call one of our Renewable Energy Specialists and discuss your options • Visit www.eSolar.ca for informative guides, case studies and to request a FREE solar assessment
financing available CALL FOR DETAILS
Of course, there are many other home power generation options, including solar hot water system, micro wind turbines, geothermal or air sourced heat pumps such as the Acadia, which can be installed with 70 per cent less capital cost than geothermal.
The Solar & Wind Power SuperStore
And to top it all off, you can buy 100 per cent green electricity from Bullfrog Power, which produces power only from wind, solar and low impact hydro.
www.eSolar.ca Member, Canadian Solar Industries Association
Member, Ontario Sustainable Industries Association
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 7
New Energy Future t h e e n e r g y c h a l l e n g e a n d e n v i r o n m e n ta l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y
A special information feature, presented by Shell Canada
Gas works Natural gas is a chemical building block or energy source in many products we use in everyday life. Here are just a few of them. 5 p.m. Your mission is to make dinner before there’s a mutiny. You turn on the stove. 5:05 p.m. Next it’s the refrigerator for cold and frozen foods. 5:10 p.m. You toss a couple of steaks on the barbecue and potatoes into pots and pans with nonstick surfaces. 5:15 p.m. You stir and mix a salad with plastic and rubber utensils, while your teenager uses a mixer with a plastic bowl and a plastic shell over the motor, to make a salad dressing. 6 p.m. You put the leftovers into the refrigerator, wrap the kids’ lunches in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and place them into reusable nylon lunch bags. 6:15 p.m. Finally, mutiny averted and family well fed, you place all the dishes, pots and pans into a dishwasher powered by gas-fired electricity.
Setting the injury target for ‘zero’
ith more than three decades of experience behind him, Louis Auger wears many hats: safety fanatic, professor, teacher… and magician? As operation manager for Shell Canada’s southern Alberta natural gas plants, a large part of his responsibility is mentoring and coaching a new generation on the finer points of safety, production and environmental management. When it comes to injuries or near-misses, the goal is zero, period, in his teaching of Sour Gas Safety 101.
As for the magician part — he once made a sulphur block the size of a low-rise apartment building disappear when folks near Shell’s Caroline gas plant requested it be moved. Auger found a way to have the product shipped off-site when produced, without a storage phase. An engineer by training, he conceived and later oversaw construction and operations of what is still the world’s longest, high-volume, molten-sulphur pipeline, carrying Caroline sulphur to an existing rail spur, some 40 kilometres away, for transportation to market — a “technological solution to an industrial problem.”
Today, Auger’s area of responsibility includes two of Shell’s biggest and oldest gas plants — Waterton in southwest Alberta, and Jumping Pound west of Calgary. Jumping Pound has just recorded a remarkable safety record:10 years and more than two million employeehours without a lost-time incident. “They’re both still big producers and excellent places to develop the people who’ll help Shell build a much bigger natural gas business in the years ahead,” he says.“It’s about instilling Shell’s values, keeping people safe and having fun while you do it.” Rapid growth in gas production is a primary strategy for Shell, he says, because gas is vital for meeting increased demand for clean electricity. Shell believes clean-burning natural gas is a big part of the solution to climate change because it has half the carbon content of coal. This means that increasing gas production could be a giant step toward meeting North America’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 17 per cent by 2020 and much further by 2050.
“A lot of resource development today is about community engagement,” Auger says. Over the years at Waterton, he has participated in scientific studies and community planning committees related to grizzly bears, big horn sheep, air, water and land use, access management in remote areas, emissions management, emergency response planning and reclamation. “The quad and snowmobile people like the roads, but the environmentalists want to prevent vehicle access to sensitive ecosystems. “Shell listens to all sides but we have a duty to the environment, so we pull up the roads when we leave and reseed the roadbed with indigenous plants. If we can grow our business and do it in a safe way and an environmentally sound way, then I think everyone will benefit,” Auger says. “We know our work can affect people’s lives. If you’re the one who’s impacted by development, it’s very personal to you. We have to approach every project with that understanding.”
( ( NATURAL GAS — A GROWING PART OF SHELL’S BUSINESS
Photo by Don Molyneaux
Shell Canada’s Louis Auger advocates safety as a core value.
The world is starting a shift towards a new, low-carbon energy future. But it will take several decades to get there. Shell is taking steps today to help build the energy system of tomorrow: producing more cleaner-burning natural gas; working to deliver advanced fuels and lubricants and lower-carbon biofuels; and building a capability in carbon capture and storage. Natural gas may not be a renewable energy, but it is clearly a lower-CO2 energy source than other fossil fuels. It will be very important as a bridge to a low-carbon energy future, and remain a vital part of that future. By about 2012, Shell will be producing more gas than oil. Gas can play an important role in cleaner power generation. With Shell’s leading position in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and new technologies in recovering natural gas from tight formations, we can supply natural gas to replace coal in power generation, which for many countries is the least costly solution to achieving longer-term CO2-reduction targets.
New Energy Future t h e e n e r g y c h a l l e n g e a n d e n v i r o n m e n ta l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y
A special information feature, presented by Shell Canada
Outdoor enthusiast helps reduce impacts to playground
Gas works 6:15 a.m. The alarm on your iPod jolts you awake to the latest by The Gorrilaz. 6:17 a.m. You extract yourself from your sleeping bag wondering how your visiting brother talked you into surrendering your comfortable bed last night. 6:18 a.m. You take a good long pull from the jug of orange juice in the fridge, hoping that might perk you up. 6:20 a.m. You kick the trash bag you forgot to take out last night. 6:22 a.m. It’s time to hit the shower. Thankfully there’s warm water, but you realize you’re out of shampoo. 6:40 a.m.You grab your glasses off the nightstand and your lunch in the Tupperware from the fridge. 6:44 a.m. You’ll never make it to work by 7 a.m. in this weather, even with your new all-season tires. 6:55 a.m. You call into work on your cellphone to let them know you’ll be late today, as you sit, safely stopped, in traffic gridlock.
ylvie Tran understands the value of deep, fluffy powder and a fast, single-track trail. And that is why the avid snowboarder, mountain biker and hiker dedicates her work not only to managing some key assets in Shell Canada’s portfolio, but also works to reduce industry impacts in the very
places she plays. Her expertise is natural gas. Tran is the development manager for Shell’s Foothills business, which encompasses several areas spanning from Waterton to British Columbia. Shell has operated in the Foothills for almost 60 years in some of the country’s most spectacular natural environments. “Like many Canadians, I love the outdoors,” the engineer says with a laugh. “It brings me a lot of satisfaction to know the company I’m working for is
Photo by Carl Patzel
Shell Canada’s Sylvie Tran — an avid mountain biker, snowboarder and hiker — wants to maintain the places where she plays.
committed to responsible development.” Tran’s passion for knowledge and adventure led the young, multilingual adventurer into the field of petroleum development with a career as a drilling engineer in Canada, Australia, France and Northern Africa before heading to the United States to earn an Ivy League MBA. “I wanted my career to have a wider impact in the world, and I knew a better understanding of the business aspects of the industry would help me to do that,” says Tran. “After I earned my MBA, I had a lot of options at that point, and I decided to return to Canada.” She was drawn back to Calgary’s “energy and entrepreneurship.” “Calgary is a great place to be if you want to explore innovation in your career, including innovation in the field of sustainable development,” says Tran. She turned her professional attention to natural gas, an important part of Shell’s North American business. The company has increased production of natural gas by more than 30 per cent during the past decade, in both conventional and unconventional gas. Tran works in the conventional Foothills business, in operations dating to the 1950s.
The company’s long history in the region has given Shell significant insight into responsible development, especially when seeking input from neighbours and relevant organizations in environmentally sensitive areas. “Input from stakeholders, such as the members of the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group and the Panther Advisory Group, has been instrumental in determining how development would proceed,” says Tran. “And working with community members is truly rewarding. It makes you realize that working together, with meaningful engagement and open dialogue, will result in a much more successful project by everyone’s standards.” Natural gas is undoubtedly going to play an important role in meeting environmental targets, and this means Alberta can be expected to lead the country, as about 80 per cent of Canadian natural gas production comes from this province, according to the Canadian Gas Association. “It’s definitely an exciting time to be working in the energy industry — particularly in natural gas,” says Tran. “And I’m glad that I have an opportunity to play a role in determining how development will evolve.”
NATURAL GAS — A BRIDGE AND FOUNDATION FUEL
The world is starting a shift toward a new, low-carbon energy future. But it will take several decades to get there. Shell is taking steps today to help build the energy system of tomorrow: producing more cleaner-burning natural gas; working to deliver advanced fuels and lubricants and lower-carbon biofuels; and building a capability in carbon capture and storage. Natural gas is both an ideal bridging fuel to a new, low-carbon energy future and a strong foundation for it. A modern gas-fired power plant emits half the CO2 of an equivalent new coal-fired plant for the same amount of electricity produced, and up to 70 per cent less CO2 than an old coal plant. It is also up to 40 per cent more energy efficient. Natural gas is abundant and cost-effective. The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes enough recoverable gas resources exist to supply the world for 250 years at current production rates; and a modern gas plant produces electricity at lower cost than any other newly-built source of electricity such as coal, nuclear, wind or solar power.
New Energy Future t h e e n e r g y c h a l l e n g e a n d e n v i r o n m e n ta l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y
A special information feature, presented by Shell Canada
Jet fuel: In the future, gasto-liquids (GTL) technologies will make it possible for longhaul airliners to burn natural gas and cut oil demand. A flight from London to Doha, Qatar, by Qatar Airlines Oct. 14, 2009, demonstrated the feasibility of gasbased jet fuel production, and Shell and Qatar Petroleum are currently building a GTL refinery in Qatar. Power: Gas-fired electric power generation will be downsized for local applications, while waste heat from these pocket generators produces steam that is circulated to heat nearby homes and businesses, providing low-emissions electricity and zero-emissions heating. Already in use in Scandinavia and Germany, studies show it could be one of the most effective and practical ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. Bricks: Plastic bottles made from gas-based petrochemicals could be routinely recycled into building bricks on a large scale, eliminating a major landfill stream. Proponents of the three-story EcoARK exhibition hall built in Taiwan in 2010 say it’s strong enough to resist typhoons and earthquakes but light enough to be easily moveable. Gas hydrates: New technologies will access enormous subsea deposits of previously inaccessible natural gas hydrates (gas and water), dramatically increasing global reserves of low-emissions energy.
Engineer builds people bridges
ndrew Dahlin always wanted to build bridges – big, complex, steel-and-concrete marvels of modern-day engineering connecting people and places. Today, he is indeed building “bridges.” They’re the metaphorical kind, connecting people, communities and the environment with unconventional gas development. Dahlin is the production operations manager at Shell Canada’s Groundbirch operations in northern British Columbia, managing the kind of unconventional natural-gas production that is helping to transform the North American energy market. “I’m proud of the way we are engaging all the stakeholders, including First Nations and local residents, and we have done so by listening and also sharing publicly our plans and talking about what
that means to them and to us,” says Dahlin. “We’re looking ahead to both the short and long terms, and keeping the communities and stakeholders informed is helping to open up new possibilities for partnerships.” Dahlin, a native of Norway who has lived on four continents and has spent most of his career travelling the world, says his work in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, B.C., is helping him understand how a company can develop new projects while limiting the environmental impact, and also benefiting nearby communities. An example is Shell Canada’s recent groundbreaking partnership with the City of Dawson Creek, one that’s setting a precedent in North America for turning waste into good use. Pending a successful negotiation, the City of Dawson Creek will build a Shell-funded reclaimed sewage water facility, and Shell will use the resulting “clean” water in its development of the field, starting in 2011. As part of this innovative project Shell will build a 50-kilometre pipeline to transport the
reclaimed water to the field, keeping up to 85 trucks off the road. Shell will also build water-recycling ponds in the field in an effort to re-use the already reclaimed water repeatedly. “The reclaimed water idea was formed and brought to life by Mayor Mike Bernier and his team in Dawson Creek, and Shell added to it,” Dahlin says. “The facility and pipeline, along with recycling as much of the water as possible, will go a long way to finding a sustainable solution for our water use in Groundbirch, and importantly it reduces the impact our development has on the environment and the community.” Dahlin speaks with pride about other Shell initiatives to minimize effects to the environment while pursuing the promising business of these “tight” and “shale” gas plays collectively known as unconventional natural gas. These plans fit with Shell’s belief in sustainable development – balancing the impact of its operations on the environment with the needs of the communities, and maintaining the long-term viability of the business. “We’re exploring ways to reduce
our CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and environmental footprint in the field,” Dahlin says. That includes possibly bringing in electricity to reduce the use of gas-fuelled generators/engines; and increasingly moving from single-well leases to drilling multiple wells from pads so as to drastically minimize land disturbance and access-road construction. “We are already today drilling and producing up to 10 wells from a well-pad, and we will shortly have as many as 24 wells on one single pad — with only one access road and one pipeline, says Dahlin. He has a deep appreciation for Canada, including the easy access to great skiing. The Dahlins already have their five-year-old and sevenyear-old swooshing down the slopes in Kananaskis, Alta., and their preschooler will be strapping on the skis next season. “This is a beautiful country, and my work gives me the freedom to enjoy my surroundings, help take care of the environment by operating responsibly, and to engage with people — be it with my team at Shell or the many great people I meet in northeast British Columbia.”
( ( SHELL’S CONTINENTAL APPROACH TO NATURAL GAS
Photo by Don Molyneaux
Andrew Dahlin, of Shell Canada, says his favourite pastime is spending time with his family: Zara, 3, Aurelia, 5, Jonah, 7, and wife Nicola.
The world is starting a shift toward a new, low-carbon energy future. But it will take several decades to get there. Shell is taking steps today to help build the energy system of tomorrow: producing more cleaner-burning natural gas; working to deliver advanced fuels and lubricants and lowercarbon biofuels; and building a capability in carbon capture and storage. It is Shell’s goal to join the upper tier of North American gas producers. We are aggressively pursuing natural gas prospects with integrated operations in multiple onshore basins continentwide. We are constantly increasing production efficiencies and building new supply positions, targeting both conventional and unconventional gas resources. Shell is producing and exploring for new natural gas supplies in Alberta, B.C., Wyoming, south Texas and Louisiana. We have a Canada-U.S. onshore gas business that operates like a single organization with teams in our production, technology and exploration departments responsible for operations and projects on both sides of the border.
A special information feature, presented by Shell Canada
Gas works Natural gas is a chemical building block or energy source in many products we use in everyday life. Here are just a few of them. 4 p.m. Starving teenager arrives home from school and goes directly to a refrigerator. 4:10 p.m. With 1,000-calorie snack in hand, the teen moves to a computer that’s powered by gas-fired electricity, and sends vital communications to a dozen friends, including three in other countries. 4:40 p.m. After weighted “suggestions” from parents, teenager opens a nylon backpack and takes out a binder, picks up a cellphone and consults with a friend on homework. 5:30 p.m. Teen packs a soccer bag with special quickdrying shirt, shorts and socks, a pair of shoes with rigid plastic cleats and jams in a multicoloured, synthetic soccer ball that, in the 21st century, no longer even pretends to be made of leather. 6:30 p.m. Family jumps into a car, ensures proper interior safety components are fastened and rolls to practice on synthetic rubber tires.
Enviro-engineer has whale of a career Brian Burton
hell’s Rebecca Nadel knows the difference between a volcanic eruption and a subsea nuclear test by the sound waves each sends out. And she knows what kinds of noises upset whales. An electrical and acoustical engineer, she worked as a contractor for the United States Navy, where she was involved in submarine activities, analyzing sonar waves sent out by sub-hunting surface vessels. Seeking a career change, she took a master’s degree in business administration along with one on environmental studies. Then she persuaded Shell Oil in Houston to hire her to study how sound waves affect whales and other marine life as part of the company’s broader sustainable development agenda. Today, Nadel is a long way from the ocean. She divides her time between Calgary and the rolling hills of northeast British Columbia, at
Shell’s Groundbirch project between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. A U.S. citizen, she works in Canada as part of Shell’s global strategy to expand natural gas production because of its lower emissions and its smaller physical impacts on the landscape than some other energy sources. “Shell wants to move to a less carbon-dioxide-intensive fuel mix, with more than 50 per cent of our portfolio coming from gas production by 2012,” she says. When it comes to electricity, natural gas-fired power plants, for example, have lower air emissions than coal-fired plants, can receive fuel through underground pipelines and can be sized for local needs and located close to consumers. “We believe natural gas will serve a growing market alongside alternative fuels in the years ahead.” Nadel’s job is to ensure Shell is good neighbour. “It’s about working with our
technical and non-technical people to understand the broader socioeconomic context our projects will fit into, so we’re not just designing to get the gas out of the ground.” Nadel has to learn about all the social and environmental issues related to Groundbirch, where Shell has some 777 square kilometres of drilling rights in the larger Montney gas play. The gas is trapped in tight rock formations about 2,500 metres below the surface. It is liberated by high-tech, horizontal drilling and fracturing of the “tight” rock formation, and in this case will require numerous wells to be directionally drilled, fanning out from a single ”pad” to minimize surface disturbance. “Production can last for several decades and that’s why it’s so important to be a good neighbour. We intend to be there for quite a while,” Nadel says. Shell alone plans to drill about 60 wells in the area this year, and it’s just one of several oil and gas operators in the region. “Oil and gas is now bigger than forestry in this area and people see opportunity in the form of wages, contracts, royalties and local taxes,” she says. “But they also have expecta-
tions that issues will be addressed.” These include water use, road traffic and First Nations’ concerns. “I’ve always had a huge affinity for environmental issues and the outdoors, but the corporate world is where I believed I could make the greatest difference. So I took my degrees at the University of Michigan, at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, combining business and the environment. Shell came on campus and I felt like they were really committed to being a responsible operator, so I decided to talk to them. “I went to school with a lot of people who work on the NGO side or as activists, and you need that because that’s what challenges us to do better. But I’ve learned to be skeptical of simple solutions or black and white analysis. For instance, an amazing amount of really good environmental science is being done in industry, and people need to know about that. “I want to help the company balance people, planet and profits, and Shell has taken a very proactive approach to that. It attracts people who want to be proud of what they do and tell their neighbours about it.”
( ( TIGHT GAS – ANOTHER TYPE OF NATURAL GAS
Photo by Carl Patzel
Shell Canada’s Rebecca Nadel loves the science behind Mother Nature.
The world is starting a shift toward a new, low-carbon energy future. But it will take several decades to get there. Shell is taking steps today to help build the energy system of tomorrow: producing more cleaner-burning natural gas; working to deliver advanced fuels and lubricants and lower-carbon biofuels; and building a capability in carbon capture and storage. Tight gas is natural gas held in hard, low-porosity rock formations such as shale and sandstone. In the past decade, advances in drilling and production technology – many developed by Shell – have made producing such gas economical, opening vast new resources across North America and elsewhere. In 2009, Shell’s production of tight gas in North America rose over 60 per cent and we plan to continue to grow the business significantly in line with our global drive toward producing more natural gas. At our Groundbirch Venture tight gas field in BC, Shell is implementing innovative technologies and applying best practices to produce gas with lower environmental impact. For example, the wells are drilled directionally from single locations to link up small reservoirs of gas. Drilling vertically down to tap each reservoir would have taken many more wells and caused greater impact on the surface.
Avia Eeks and Jamie Reaume, Executive Director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association at Eeks Farm. Photos By Cynthia McQueen
By Robert Furtado
The Ontario Greenbelt: The green fueling the concrete jungle
Your morning shower was brought to you by the Greenbelt By Cynthia McQueen
very locavore knows farmers feed cities. And, they fly their “I eat local” flags high. But do they know why eating local in Ontario is a very unique experience?
And, it does all this while protecting more than half a million acres of lakes, wetlands, river valleys, forests, and habitat for wildlife and endangered species.
Local food producers supply Toronto’s 30 farmers’ markets by taking advantage of one of the largest and most diverse greenbelts in the world—the Ontario Greenbelt.
At the same time, the Greenbelt purifies our water. Farmland, wetlands, forests, and natural areas allow rainwater to trickle into the ground where it follows the aquifers, results in springs, and feeds the rivers and lakes.
The Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt has become a model for the world in keeping the grey green. With 7,100 working farms, including world-class vineyards, the international community has taken notice. Wildlife, habitat, land, water and air are all benefiting from this five-year-old experiment that Wayne Roberts, Toronto’s former Food Policy Project Coordinator, calls an unusual thing.
“But if you have asphalt, the water will collect; it will pick up dog sh-t; it will pick up cigarette butts; it will pick up bubblegum; it will pick up oil that was spilled from cars and other stuff, and it funnels it into a sewer system,” explains Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
“It’s a greenbelt that protects both farming and at risk Before the city installed tanks to contain rainwater overflow, landscape and at risk plants and animals. It’s what we call a the constant rain Toronto experienced in early June would working landscape” says Roberts. have closed the beaches due to E. Coli contamination from the accumulation of animal feces in the storm water. PreAnd, the landscape works hard. Ontario’s Greenbelt main- venting problems like these from recurring, Mausberg says, tains more than 50 per cent agricultural land use while is why we need more open spaces. saving 1.8 million hectares of environmentally sensitive land from development and urban sprawl. The Holland Marsh, just 50 kilometres north of Toronto, 12 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
is one of those open spaces and an essential part of what makes the Greenbelt class 1 farmland—the highest class. Every year, enough carrots and onions are grown in the peat-moss-like soil of the marsh for every man, woman, and child in Canada to eat four pounds each. “We like to call ourselves both the soup and salad bowl of Ontario,” says Jamie Reaume, Executive Director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association. He calls the marsh a gift to Ontario. In order to maintain that gift, 40-50 per cent of those onions and carrots, go to soup and salad bowls in America’s northeastern seaboard. Because local consumers do not pay the true cost of food production, many farmers struggle to make a living. Food at supermarkets is cheap because farmers are competing in global markets with food produced on the other side of the world by people who are not paid a fair wage, says Lori Stahlbrand, Founder and President, Local Food Plus. By supporting your local farmers, you pay more of the true cost of food up front, which makes the food seem more expensive. “We don’t pay the true cost of food at the supermarket, we pay for it down the road in terms of long
To find farmers’ markets selling fresh produce near you, visit www.tfmn.ca
distance transportation, environmental degradation, and our health,” explains Dr. Lauren Baker, Director of Sustain Ontario. But local doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. If something is grown locally, but uses pesticides, that’s just as problematic as buying sustainable food shipped in from thousands of miles away. Reaume says getting food from places we can’t locate on a map is not sustainable. For whatever reason a locavore chooses to eat food grown nearby, in Ontario, when you eat locally, you help maintain habitat for over 60 endangered species of plants and animals, while curbing urban sprawl, and purifying our water. It may seem, to some, like a costly investment, but to others it’s an investment in the future. Roberts sees the cost this way: “I would eat locally for the same reason I would buy life insurance—I hope to live and if I don’t live I’d like to have my family well looked after.” In the same vain, Mausberg relates the Greenbelt to our health as a system and an organic social network. He suggests the Greenbelt is similar to OHIP. “Fifty years ago somebody said, we should have OHIP and people sort of looked at this as odd. But look at how health care has defined us as a culture. In 50 years, we’re going to look at the Greenbelt with the same lens and say, ‘How smart were we to put that land aside.’”
Map courtesy of Greenbelt Foundation Cynthia McQueen is a freelance journalist and the copy editor of Corporate Knights Magazine in Toronto - firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 13
By Melissa Shin
Eggs The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals estimates that 98 per cent of Canada’s 26 million egg-laying hens are kept in battery cages. These cages are generally 16” x 18”, and hold four to six hens each. Each hen has less living space than a sheet of paper, which means they cannot spread their wings or move freely. To prevent cannibalization, each hen is de-beaked, itself a painful process. If these conditions disgust you, large and small grocers alike are offering other options. “Cage free,” “free range”, “free run”, and organic eggs are starting to enter the mainstream; in GreenHomesSummer 6/4/10 PM Page 1 Europe, many major retailers such4:05 as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer only sell and use cagefree/free-range eggs in their products.
What is the difference between free-range and free-run? Free-range eggs are produced by hens that can roam freely outdoors and return to sheds or henhouses at night. Free-run eggs are produced by hens allowed to roam around an enclosed barn with nesting boxes for laying. Because of our cold winters, most Canadian hens can only be free range for the warmer parts of the year, and are free run the rest of the time. Free-range and free-run eggs are more difficult to gather, so the costs are higher than that of regular eggs. Some
Certifications and Labels
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International Organization for Standardization
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Bullfrog Powered USDA National Organic Program
California Certified Organic Farmers
(1 block w. of Chester subway)
thebigcarrot.ca • firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-9:00 • Sat 9:00-8:00 • Sun 11:00-6:00
14 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
Learn more about our methodology and different grocery certifications at ourgreenhome.
Quality Assurance Interntional
studies have shown uncaged hens are exposed to higher levels of bacteria, parasites, and viruses than their caged counterparts, but animal rights groups argue that battery cage conditions are inherently unsanitary. Organic eggs are eggs produced from hens allowed outside, weather permitting. Also, the hens that produce organic eggs are fed organic (pesticide-free) feed. This is the distinct difference between organic and free-range/run eggs. As well, organic eggs are certified. The terms “free-range” and “free-run” do not denote certifications, and the definitions are not subject to industry verification. In British Columbia, the BC SPCA has created a BC SPCA Certified designation and audits henhouse conditions. While there is no conclusive evidence, some small studies have suggested that eggs from genuine free-range hens-hens that forage daily on a grass range—are nutritionally better than regular eggs because of higher levels of Omega 3, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, as well as lower levels of fat and cholesterol. Also, egg yolks from free-range eggs may be more orange since the hens eat more insects and greens-but this orange colour can also be achieved through feed additives. In short, when choosing eggs, be sure to read the label and even go to the producer’s website to understand how they treat and feed their hens. Some eggs, including the Burnbrae Farms Free-Run Omega 3 we evaluated, bear the Health Check logo. This logo means that the product has met “nutrient criteria developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s registered dietitians based on Canada’s Food Guide.” However, since participation in the program is voluntary, other healthy egg choices may not bear the symbol.
President’s Choice Organic Free Run Eggs These eggs are laid by hens fed an organic diet of corn, wheat, soybeans, and soybean meal. President’s Choice also states that the hens are free run. They are packaged in cartons made of non-recycled plastic, but the packages are recyclable. These eggs are only available in Loblaw Companies Ltd. chain stores such as Loblaws, Zehrs, and No Frills.
Natureegg Free Run These eggs are packed in recyclable post-consumer plastic cartons. Burnbrae, who owns the Natureegg brand, has put a monitoring system in place to ensure that only eggs produced by the free-run flocks are packed in free run cartons. While these eggs are labelled as free run, their feed ingredients are not specified and are not organic. These eggs are produced in Ontario.
Melissa Shin is Managing Editor at Corporate Knights
Burnbrae Farms Free-Run Omega 3 These eggs are labelled as free-run and are produced in Ontario. The hens are fed a multi-grain diet with added flaxseed, corn and alfalfa, but this feed is not organic. The eggs bear the Health Check symbol, which means that the eggs’ nutrition information meets the standards developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s dieticians. These particular eggs’ production is also bullfrogpowered with 100% renewable energy.
Organic Meadow organic free run eggs Organic Meadow, owned by an Ontario farmers’ cooperative, is typically known for its milk-but it also produces free-run eggs. The farm says that chickens are fed “free choice-meaning they are left to eat the feed that satisfies them. Our hens are never force-fed.” Their feed consists of organic flax and corn, and they’re housed in open-concept barns that give them access to fresh air and sunshine.
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 15
Drinking responsibly takes on a whole new meaning when you consider the environmental impact of wines. Organic wines are becoming more popular. Organic refers to the method of growing the ingredients within the wines-without the use of pesticides. Organic wines contain no added preservatives, which can mean less severe hangovers the morning after. However, that doesn’t mean that organic wines don’t contain sulfites, which occur naturally in all wines (more in dessert and white wines). Some eco-
Pelee Island eco trail Wine While this wine is not organic, Pelee Island tell us they have planted some organic vineyards and are waiting for Canada Organic certifications. In the meantime, they maintain their vineyards using a protocol for integrated pest management developed with support from World Wildlife Fund Canada that minimizes the spraying of pesticides. Pelee Island Winery is actively involved in preserving its local Carolinean habitat. 2007 EcoTrail White Tasting Notes: The group was disappointed after attempts at three different LCBO locations failed to find a bottle of eco-trail. We assume that’s because this affordable, ecologically responsible wine is finding a larger green market that Pelee Island’s production can supply.. Available at: LCBO Vintages, Direct Online
friendly wines contain organically-grown grapes, but are not wholly organic since they do contain added preservatives. A sulfite-free wine would quickly turn to vinegar.
Santa Julia - Organica
A study of Californian wines finds that eco-certification leads to better
The grapes of this Mendoza, Argentina wine are grown organically, but there are still traces of sulfites. According to the producer, the vineyards are planted on land which was originally desert “but has come to life thanks to pure Andean mountain water.” It is likely, then, that the vineyard is an unusually high consumer of water due to irrigation practices. 2009 Malbec
wines, since growers devote more time and attention to organicallygrown grapes, but eco-labelling removes the price premium associated with a better wine. This could be because consumers are confused over the difference between wine made with organically-grown
Tasting Notes: Red cherry was the overwhelming note recorded in our tasting, supported by hints of raspberry and red licorice. From sauce laden pasta to the backyard grill, this is a versatile red for summer fare. Available at: LCBO Vintages Direct from Agency (Dionysus Wines)
grapes and organic wine, which has a reputation for spoiling faster. As a result, two-thirds of Californian vintners who use organically grown grapes do not label their wines as such for fear of turning off consumers. Another environmentally friendly production method is biodynamic winemaking, which promotes biodiversity and biological activity in the soil. All wines labelled as biodynamic must meet the Demeter Association’s standards. Critics of biodynamic agriculture say that
Frogpond Farm Wines Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Frogpond Farm is Local Food Plus certified and 100% bullfrogpowered. It’s also the only certified organic winery in Ontario, but its wines do contain small amounts of preservatives. The winery’s name is derived from its pond, which supports local biodiversity. 2007 Cabernet Franc Tasting Notes: With well-structured balance of black fruit with a firm grip, classic attributes of cabernet franc, Frogpond demonstrates that Ontario organic production can deliver big bold locally grown reds at humble prices. Available at: Frogpond Farm Wines Online (www.frogpondfarm.ca), LCBO
farming organically produces virtually the same quality as practicing biodynamics.
A spectacular selection of organic, biodynamic and sustainably produced wines - 416 538 0212 - enter promo code OurGreenHome for free delivery on your first order. 16 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
CJ Pask C.J. Pask Winery in New Zealand is one of four wineries to achieve a world first ISO:14001 group accreditation. The winery also employs several environmental management practices, including composting, mulching, waste minimization, and fuel minimization. All winemaking, bottling, labelling, and tasting are done on-site to minimize transportation costs. While this wine is not organic, the vineyard does use integrated pest management. 2007 Gimblett Road Merlot
Beef That’s Well-Fed – not well-travelled
Tasting Notes: Black cherry and oranges up front, revealing layers of herbs and spice, give this one some air to let the astringency settle and you’ll be rewarded with some subtle earthy complexity. Good with cheese or the big red meat dishes, maybe even better in a few years. Available at: LCBO Vintages, Direct from Agency (Dionysus Wines)
Snoqualmie - Naked Snoqualmie practices water conservation, uses biodegradable natural pest control agents, and plants cover crops to reduce soil erosion. The grapes in this wine are certified organic by the USDA, though it does contain sulfur dioxide. The vineyard, located in Washington State, U.S., is also a certified organic winemaking facility. 2008 Chardonnay Tasting Notes: The tasting team picked up a full fruit bowl: pear, green apple, honeydew melon, apricot and peach topped with nutmeg, cashews and vanilla, this is a summer party in a glass. Drin k whenever the sun is shining. Available at: LCBO Vintages, Direct from Agencies
L O CAL LY- G ROW N, F R E S H F O O D is better tasting, better for your health and better for the planet. And now it’s easier to find than ever, with greenbeltfresh.ca. This online database has a cornucopia of local fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and more. With maps, directions and inventories it helps you to find farmers’ markets, pickyour-own farms and on-farm markets close to you. So if you are looking for a stress-free way to find delicious local food, look no further than greenbeltfresh.ca. Visit greenbeltfresh.ca – Now available on your mobile phone.
All of Parducci’s vineyards are certified organic, and the winery is the U.S.’s first to be declared carbon neutral. Sustainable farming practices include composting, using 100% green energy, and encouraging natural pest predators instead of using pesticides. The winery also uses biodiesel to power winery equipment such as vineyard tractors and water pumps. Parducci’s labels are made of recycled paper and are printed with soybased inks. Packing boxes are made of recycled, chlorine-free corrugated cardboard. 2007 Chardonnay Tasting Notes: When the apple and licorice subsided this chardonnay landed the group in the vegetable patch; broccoli, parsnips, beets and brussel sprouts. A robust white that will partner with roast fowl, pasta with cream sauce and goat cheese salads. Available at: Direct from Agency (Wine Online)
Ontario’s Greenbelt is a world-leading law that preserves prime farmland and green spaces around the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It gives us clean water, healthy local food and is the largest greenbelt in the world.
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 17
Pedal power in the city By Christina Bouchard You can see it. You can sense it out on the roads and the trails. More and more people in Toronto are cycling. In fact, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, commuting to work or spending a day on the trails with the family, more people are using bicycles than ever before. A City of Toronto survey recently found more than half of all adults in Toronto are cyclists . They may not ride every day, but the majority of people in Toronto who own and use bikes, out-number people who don’t ride at all. A third of cyclists use their bicycles for practical purposes—for work, school, shopping, and other errands and thirty-six percent of residents in downtown Toronto cycle for practical, day-to-day purposes. What does this trend mean for the future? All road users stand to benefit from the increase in cyclists. In fact, Toronto needs bikes to keep
our population moving. The GTA is the fastest growing region in Ontario, with its population projected to increase by 3.1 million, or 51.7 per cent by 2036 . As Toronto’s population increases, the amount of road space remains finite. For this reason, bikes are an important part of Toronto’s overall transportation mix. For distances up to 10 kilometres, cycling is often the fastest mode of transportation from door to door in urban cores . They park well too—10 bikes can easily fit in the space necessary for one car. Looking at major urban centres around the world, it is likely this trend will continue. Evidence suggests, when it comes to cycling, there is safety in numbers. While the number of cyclists has increased every year, the number of collisions has not . The more bike riders using the road, the safer our roads are becoming for pedal-powered people.
The “safety in numbers” trend can be attributed to road-user awareness. Motorists who also ride are more aware of cyclists on the road, expect to share the road with bikes, and are more cautious. Expanding cycling infrastructure is the most effective means to encourage more cycling. Toronto’s Bikeway Network has grown from 166 kilometres in 2001 to more than 420 kilometres by 2010. Although 72 per cent of Toronto residents feel that cycling infrastructure has improved, they also want more bikeways. And the growing number of cyclists on the road and trails supports investments in new cycling infrastructure. If you want to discover Toronto’s Bikeway Network of multi-use trails, dedicated lanes, and suggested routes to plan out a bike ride, you can obtain a free cycling map by calling 311 Toronto, or view the online version at www. toronto.ca/cycling Christina Bouchard works for the City of Toronto, Transportation Services.
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Toronto Hydro Summer Programs Manage your electricity costs Toronto Hydro is committed to providing you with conservation programs that will help you save energy, money and help the environment. Here’s a snapshot of some of the programs available to you. Learn more about other energy-savings tips and tools at torontohydro.com. Free in-home Refrigerator Pick-Up Old fridges and freezers are energy guzzlers that waste heaps of money. Save up to $150 per year in electricity by getting rid of that old, inefficient second fridge idling in the basement. We’re picking up these fridges to take them off the electricity grid. Call us today and we’ll come and take it away FREE of charge. We guarantee that we’ll dismantle and dispose of appliances in an environmentally friendly way, ensuring harmful chemicals stay out of landfills and metal is recycled. To take a look at our recycling process, visit torontohydro. com/fridgepickup Fridges and freezers must be at least 15 years old, 10-27 cubic feet in size and in good working order. Book an appointment today and we’ll pick up your old fridge from inside your home and recycle it for you, visit everykillowattcounts.ca or call 1-877-797-9473.
18 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
Sign up for peaksaver and get a credit of $75 or more
Do your part to lower demand during critical peak times this summer. Sign up at torontopowershift.com. * You must
Join over 60,000 Toronto households and businesses by signing up for our peaksaver® program. With peaksaver, we’ll install a small device near your central or roof-top air conditioner to reduce the amount of electricity used during peak times. This is usually on hot summer afternoons when air conditioners are running at a maximum. A signal is sent to the peaksaver device to temporarily cycle down your air conditioner. You likely won’t notice any change in temperature in your home or business.
be a peaksaver customer to enroll for PowerShift.
Enroll at toronthydro.com/peaksaver or 1-877-487-8574. Once the device is installed, you can receive $75 off your electricity bill! Take peaksaver one step further—sign up for PowerShift PowerShift® is a program that shifts some of your air conditioner use to off-peak hours. Think of PowerShift as peaksaver plus. The peaksaver device automatically cycles your air conditioner into conservation mode when temperatures reach 27ºcelsius or higher. PowerShift is a “set it and forget it” way to reduce air conditioning usage on hot days. PowerShift will only be activated on weekdays and never on weekends or holidays.
You decide with time-of-use rates! With smart meters and Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, you can better manage your electricity costs and help with conservation efforts across the province. Time-of-Use rates are based on off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak periods, so you decide when and how to best use electricity. If, for example, you run your dishwasher or do your laundry after 9 p.m. and on weekends, you’ll pay a lower rate. Be in control and learn how to shift your usage to lower cost periods. Manage your costs by tracking your personal usage at torontohydro.com/tou
Cycling your way to a green getaway By Charlotte Yun
The arrival of summer, the warm weather, and longer daylight hours certainly mean spending more time outdoors. Whether you have vacation time ahead or are simply looking for fun-in-the-sun, consider recreational cycling as a greener, healthier, and cheaper activity for your summer escape. Toronto offers numerous locations to getaway locally, but the best in the city are not always on the mainland, notes Manuel Cappel. As the owner of Cappel Custom Carts, he has been a resident of the bike-exclusive islands since the 1950s, and has been building custom bikes and trailers for more than a decade. Cappel notes that recreational biking is ideal on trails that lead away from the hectic streams of traffic. And the Islands—known for being the largest car-free community in North America—can provide just that.
Kids 12 and under are FREE!
Tour de Greenbelt 2010. On your Mark. Get Set. Meander.
“Anywhere on the islands is great: there are no vehicles. You have to share the road, but you generally have the whole place to yourself.” Cappel recommends riders to visit Hanlan’s Point, located on the west side of Centre Island. It has a number of paved trails by the waterfront, and offers bicycle rental services as well as a picturesque park view, including the historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse along the lakeshore. More than 10 picnic areas provide ample space to rest tired legs and refuel with seasonal treats from local snack bars. Centre Island’s main boardwalk also makes for a pleasurable sojourn, despite more cycling traffic. The road running 1.5 kilometres from Ward’s Island to Centre Island provides equally beautiful scenery and a bustling, historic bicycle culture. If leaving the mainland isn’t your preference, downtown Toronto’s Martin Goodman Trail by the waterfront runs 20 kilometres from the Humber River west to the Beaches Park east. Sights along the trail include the wildflower meadows at Humber Bay Park, Exhibition Place, the CN Tower, Toronto Music Gardens, and the Distillery Historic District. Additional information about Toronto’s many bike trails can be found at toronto.ca/parks.
Experience rural hospitality, savour fresh, local food and explore all that Ontario’s Greenbelt has to offer—natural beauty, cultural diversity and engaging recreation. Re-discover the joy of a leisurely bike ride and come explore the possibilities of Ontario’s Greenbelt, 1.8 million acres of protected land wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe. Register today at TourdeGreenbelt.ca!
A fresh air festival on wheels. Saturday, September 11
Sunday, September 12 Saturday, September 25
St. Catharines/Niagara Newmarket/York
Sunday, September 26
Use promo code 784569 to save $5 off registration
For the more ambitious, explore the lush and pastoral Niagara Wine Trail, nestled between the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario for a tour of 12 award-winning wineries. Wineries along the trail are open year-round for tastings, and registration is not required. Take a look at niagarawinetrail.org for more information about trails and prices. And, if you’re looking for a beautiful rural ride, the Tour de Greenbelt, with three different route lengths—10 km, 20-30 km, and 40-55 km—is a fresh air festival offering riders a chance to stop and smell the Greenbelt. For more information visit tourdegreenbelt.ca.
Charlotte Yun is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor.
Register now at www.tourdegreenbelt.ca Possibility grows here.
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 19
What you walk on is more than just a floor A Guide to Sustainable Flooring By Albert Kwon Renovating your floors can be a quick and cost-effective way to update your home or increase its resale value. While the main factors are usually cost, durability, appearance, and ease of installation sustainability is often overlooked. Solid hardwood Pros: Long lasting; Can be refinished; Greatest added value to resale of home; Can be sourced from sustainable suppliers Cons: Expensive; Not a simple D-IY project; Prone to shrinking and swelling; Caution needed when looking at FSC certification Solid wood flooring is the more expensive choice for flooring. Depending on the source of the timber, the environmental cost may be even greater; local is better. Despite comparable costs to exotics, choosing North American wood reduces your environmental impact. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label offers consumers assurance the wood comes
from a responsibly managed forest. Michael Boulger of Nadurra Wood Corporation suggests asking flooring stores if they have FSC Chain of Custody (COC) certification. This means that the store purchases from FSC certified forests and suppliers. Worth noting: FSC Mixed Sources label indicates the supplier buys and sells FSC products, but not every single product is made with FSC certified wood. Salvaged or Re-claimed Pros: Environmentally friendly; Embedded character and history Cons: Can be expensive; Blemishes may be undesirable Wood suppliers and flooring specialty stores will often carry salvaged or re-claimed wood. This type of wood can come from old buildings, timber cleared for land development, and even discarded wood products that are re-manufactured. Many people find the marks and blemishes part of the charm of salvaged wood.
Pros: Less expensive than solid hardwood for material and installation costsDimensionally stable; Can be refinished (but not as often as solid hardwood)
Pros: Least inexpensive in material and installation costs; Long lasting
Cons: Adhesives can off gas volatile organic compounds (VOC); Commonly certified with FSC Mixed Source which may mean there is no certified wood in the product This is a durable and inexpensive option since it is made from plies of low grade wood while the top layer is a veneer of higher quality wood. The glues used to bond the layers together may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which off-gas into the atmosphere.
Cons: Medium-density fibreboard for core layers may contain formaldehyde; Adhesives in manufacture and installation may contain VOCs; Cannot be refinished Laminate flooring is the best compromise between price and long life. Environmentally however, it is the most questionable. The core layers of laminates are typically made of medium or high-density fibreboard (MDF or HDF) which may contain formaldehyde. Another concern is the use of melamine plastic resin or aluminum oxide which increases the durability of the top or wear layer.
Cons: Comes from China so transportation impacts are a concern; Adhesives in manufacture may contain VOCs Bamboo is another affordable and durable flooring option. It’s touted as harder than oak but that depends on how it’s manufactured. Carbonization forms the bamboo under high pressure steam but weakens the bamboo. Strand woven bamboo is stronger but may have formaldehyde or VOC in the adhesives. Bamboo’s main advantage over wood is that it takes about three to nine years for the grass to mature while oak can take 120 years. Almost all bamboo comes from China so the environmental impact of transportation is a consideration.
Bamboo Like solid wood, the source of the top layer and core layers is important to consider. FSC Mixed Sources certification is common with engineered flooring which may mean that none of the wood comes from sustainable sources.
Pros: Bamboo matures quickly (3 to 9 years as opposed to 120 for oak); Can be as hard as oak, depending on how its made; Inexpensive in material cost and possibly installation costs
Some alternatives are cork, palm wood, coconut timber, or cocowood. Albert Kwon is an industrial designer with a passion for sustainability.
Where beauty, quality & taking care of the environment go hand in hand
www.nadurrawood.com 20 . OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010
FSC Certified Flooring
A biodiverse paradise
By Tara Anderson As I stood on a rickety old platform ready to embark on the longest zip line in the Arenal region, one that would propel me above the forest canopy at a speed of 60 miles per hour, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would make it to the other side. I was attached to a single steel cable 315 feet above the ground with three carabiners and a harness—my eyes half shut. I had come to see the lush rainforest from a bird’s eye view, yet could not summon the courage to look down. It wasn’t until the guide screamed to me, “Are you ready?” That is when I knew, I had no other choice but to jump, we had come too far to turn back. We were in Costa Rica. Comprised of active volcanoes, a rich costal ecosystem, lush jungle flora, and an abundance of exotic animals, Costa Rica is as close to paradise as you can imagine. It is home to approximately six per cent of the world’s biodiversity, but only covers 0.3 per cent of the earth’s surface. There are more types of butterflies in Costa Rica than in all of Africa, over 1,500 types of orchids, and more bird species than in the U.S. and Canada combined. It is no wonder over two million visitors arrive each year. However, Costa Rica was not always a tropical paradise. In fact, the nation was previously considered a world leader in deforestation. Between 1950 and 1990, over half of the forests were destroyed. Vast stretches of rainforest were burned to create cattle pasture and fruit plantations, owned by multinational corporations and the wealthy. This left much of the land in environmental ruin and caused the near extinction of the squirrel monkey, Mono Tiki.
set aside as protected land. The Monte Verde eco-lodge has enabled tourists to visit the cloud forest with minimal impact and efforts have been put towards the protection of the Leather Back Turtles’ nesting grounds. None the less Costa Rica continues to face obstacles: an increasing number of foreign owned mega resorts, a steadily rising number of tourists and a lack of industry regulation. This allows any business, regardless of practice, to endow itself with the eco-friendly title. As a traveller to Costa Rica you have the choice to go above and beyond the old adage, “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.” Play your part, do your research before go, ask questions while you are there, and make a conscious choice as to where you travel, spend, eat, sleep, and tour. Most importantly, keep your eyes open because it is the things we cannot see that have the greatest environmental impact.
Over the years Costa Rica has transformed its track record of deforestation into one of conservation. Today over one quarter of its land is Tara Anderson is a yoga teacher, traveler and the owner of Creative Spirit Yoga.
OUR GREEN HOME . SUMMER 2010 . 21
The Toronto Homeowner’s Guide to Rebates and Incentives There’s help for energy saving renovations if you know where to find it!
So you’ve decided to make your home more energy efficient. Fortunately, retrofits are becoming more affordable thanks to a variety of grant and incentive programs. Ontario Home Energy Audit and Retrofit Rebates : These two programs provide homeowners with up to $150 towards the cost of a home energy audit and rebates of up to $10,000 for retrofits that address the energy issues identified in the audit. www.homeenergyontario.ca 1-888-688-4636 $100 rebate for each toilet you replace with a low flush or dual flush toilet $500 for replacing your domestic hot water system with an
instantaneous gas water heater Up to $60 for replacing your exterior door with an ENERGY STAR model $60 for installing a minimum of five electronic thermostats for your electric baseboard heaters $600 for replacing your wood burning appliance with a model that meets the wood burning appliance standards or a wood pellet stove $800 for installing an ENERGY STAR qualified air source heat pump $40 rebate for a window air conditioner $1200 for replacing your heating equipment with an ENERGY STAR qualified oil or gas boiler $1200 for replacing your oil furnace with an ENERGY STAR rated furnace $200 for sealing your basement heaters with an insulation value RSI 3.5 (a measure of thermal resistance) $800 for insulating 100% of your crawl space total wall surface $300 for improving the air tightness of your home and reaching the target amount that is in your energy efficiency evaluation report. Go 20% over and add a bonus rebate of $150 $600 for certifying a Home Ventilating
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Institute heat recovery ventilator $2800 for replacing the heat pump unit for an existing earth energy system $7000 for installing an energy efficient CAN/CSAC 448 compliant earth-energy system COOL SAVINGS REBATE PROGRAM $25 rebate when a program-registered contractor installs a programmable thermostat $125 rebate for replacing an existing furnace with the purchase of a mid or high efficiency furnace $250 rebate for the replacement of an existing central air conditioner, heat pump or ductless split system $400 rebate when you have an existing CAC replaced with the purchase and installation of a stand-alone CEE “tier 2” level CAC system or heat pump (Must already have CAC system or furnace) www.everykilowattcounts.com/residential/coolsavings 1-877-797-9473. ADDITIONAL REBATES AND MONEY SAVING INCENTIVES CAN BE FOUND AT: www.ontario.ca/additup 1-800-565-4923 www.gogreenontario.ca 1-800-565-4923
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Choose the Smarter Way To Save On Home Energy with EnWise.
We know you have a choice when it comes to making energy saving upgrades in your home. That’s why the EnWise group of companies offers guarantees that ensure you satisfaction and your energy savings. The EnWise one-stop-shop approach provides you: • The most affordable purchase, rental or financing plans on our line of ENERGY STAR® Furnace & Air Conditioners, Whole-Home Insulation, Tankless Water Heating & more. • Licensed Home Energy Audits conducted by our sister company EnWise Building Science. • Access to over $5,000 in limited time rebates and incentives.
Take advantage of our limited time “NO-HST” promotion on Heating and Cooling upgrades during the month of July. Please call for details. Mention this ad and save $25 on your Home Energy Audit!
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30/06/2010 6:43:27 PM
Electricity guzzlers. Air conditioning can account for up to 50% of your electricity use in the summer. Now that Time-of-Use rates are here, if you limit your air conditioning use during weekday peak period (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) you won’t pay as much. Other tips: • Turn up or turn off your a/c when you’re not home. If you have central air conditioning you can program the thermostat to turn on your a/c just before you get home. • Use ceiling fans to supplement your air conditioner. • If you have central air conditioning look into the benefits of our peaksaver ® and PowerShift ® programs. • Old fridges are also energy guzzlers. You can save up to $150 per year by getting rid of that old inefficient second fridge provided that it’s at least 15 years old, 10-27 cubic feet in size and in good working order. Call us today at 1-877-797-9473 and we’ll pick up your fridge FREE of charge. Go to
torontohydro.com for information on Time-of-Use rates and conservation tips.
OPA, Every Kilowatt Counts, and Ontario Power Authority are each official marks of the Ontario Power Authority. peaksaver, PowerShift and the figure and star design are trademarks of Toronto Hydro Corporation used under license. All programs are subject to terms and conditions, which can be viewed at torontohydro.com.