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SPRING

2010

The Evergreen Brick Works Transforming Toronto’s historical industrial space into a green urban utopia. Page10

Rooftop Solar

and Ontario’s MicroFIT Program - Page 7

Win a Costa Rica Eco-Tour for Two Details on Page 15

also inside:

Highlites of our brand new online resource “The Green Grocery Guide” - Page 8 Spring Reno Tips: Painting - Page 10 Gardening with Native Plants - Page 14

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DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO GET UP TO $5,000 IN PROVINCIAL GRANTS! GREENSAV E R I S A N OT- F O R - P R O F I T D E D I CAT E D TO ENVIRONM E N TA L E N E R GY E F F I C I E N CY T H R O U G H :

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. Home Energy Audits . Insulation & Draft Proofing Services . Solar Solutions . Energy Programs CONTACT U S TO DAY TO STA RT S AV I N G M O N E Y AND THE ENVIRONMENT!

416 203 3106 1 888 855 3106 info@greensaver.org . www.greensaver.org 2 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 3


FROM THE EDITOR

Paid Information Supplement

“I know this--a man got to do what he got to do.” - John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Spring 2010 Editor: Toby Heaps Publisher: Paul Cassel Ad Sales: Donna-Lee Bolden-Kerr Ad Sales: Tara Anderson Designer: Gord Naunton Mascot: “Susty”, the Sustainability Squirrel info@ourgreenhome.ca Advertising Information:

416.850.8787 1. 877.850.8787 sales@upmarketing.com www.up-marketing.com/media Follow us on Twitter: @Our_Green_Home Printed on 100% recycled newsprint, milled in Ontario. www.ourgreenhome.ca

Solar Belongs Your Roof Solar Belongs ononYour Roof

Coca-Cola has some amazing properties. Besides being popular with a demographic as diverse as Antarctic polar bears to Paula Abdul, it is an excellent substitute for Drano. I am not kidding. Last year, when our bathroom sink clogged up, the more eco-friendly drano, Bi-O-Kleen, was not proving to be up to the task. So remembering my childhood experiment of denying the tooth fairy by putting my tooth in a glass of coke, I thought I would see if the beverage’s formidable dissolving powers could be brought to bear on whatever was clogging my drain. It worked like a charm.

There’s been much fanfare about Ontario’s commitment to green energy. Large companies are commitment flocking to theto province to take There’s been much fanfare about Ontario’s green energy. advantage of the new market, new jobs are being created and many Large companies are flocking to the province to take advantage of the new market, Ontarians are pursuing the opportunities provided by the new Green new jobs are being created and many Ontarians are pursuing the opportunities Energy and Green Economy Act introduced last fall. provided by the new Green Energy and Green Economy Act introduced last fall.

But several months later, the clog was too much even for coke. So I went to the Home Hardware around the corner, and asked them what to do. They advised Drano, which was $4.49. When I asked about its environmental properties, the reply was “not that good.” So for the next few weeks I shaved at the gym and brushed my teeth in the shower, avoiding the sink.

Under theand province’s new and highly acclaimed Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Under the province’s new highly acclaimed Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, you you too can participate revolution. too can participateprogram, in the green energy revolution. inIf the yougreen are a energy home or building If you are home or building owner you could havegenerating the real estate owner you could have theareal estate needed to install electricity solar needed to install electricity generating on your roof, panels on your roof, allowing you to sell green power tosolar the panels province. allowing you to sell green power to the province.

Finally, I broke down and went back to Home Hardware. As I was searching out the Drano, I came across something called a snake or drain auger, a coiled spring around a plastic contraption, that promised to unclog the most viscous of clogs. The price tag was only $10.99. I took it home, fed it down the drain, and ten minutes later, my drain was fixed like brand new. The best part: the snake is reusable.

The Ontario Power Authority will pay you 80.2 cents for every unit of solar electricity Authority pay you 80.2 cents you produce - andThe thatOntario price isPower guaranteed forwill twenty years. This canfor beevery quiteunit an solarhow electricity produce of - and thatassuming price is guaranteed for opportunity if you of know to takeyou advantage it, and you have the twenty years. This can be quite an opportunity if you know how to right roof. take advantage of it, and assuming you have the right roof.

Now, if journalism fails me, at least I have one marketable skill with which to earn a living in the green economy. Toby Heaps

Head Office and Showroom Location: 170 Esna Park Dr., #7, Markham, ON (905) 475-5460 • (416) 491-2275 Out of Town: 1-888-PERMAWD

Underground Productions Inc. Client:

Permawood

Project: New Home Works Ad.

1-124 Milner Ave., Toronto, ON M1S 3R2 T 416·289·6649 F 416·289·2812 studio@undergroundproductionsinc.com www.undergroundproductionsinc.com

Docket # 06-0000

Date: Feb. 6, 2007

Size: 5.5" x 5.25"

UPC: N/A

PLEASE CHECK CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING.You are responsible for its final approval so check all copy, check all dimensions and check colour separation. WHAT YOU SEE HERE IS WHAT WILL BE PRINTED.

Signature:

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“Not everyone has a good roof for solar,” admits Ken Traynor, the Our Power everyone has a good roofCooperative for solar,” admits Ken “Loads Traynor,ofthe Coordinator at the“Not Toronto Renewable Energy (TREC). Our Power Coordinator at the Toronto Renewable Energy Copeople are interested, but they often don’t know where to begin,” says Ken. operative (TREC). “Loads of people are interested, but they “That’s why we created the Our Power program, to help them sort it all out.”often don’t know where to begin,” says Ken. “That’s why we created the Power program, helpresources. them sort itMost all out.” The ourpower.ca Our website has a lot of to solar importantly, for a

nominal fee individuals can get an online roof assessment. The assessment shows The ourpower.ca hashow a lotmuch of solar resources. Most and how a solar PV system could fit onwebsite your roof, money you’ll make, importantly, for a nominal fee individuals can get an online roof how many emissions you’ll offset. assessment. The assessment shows how a solar PV system could fit on your roof, how much money you’ll make, and how many Once your assessment is complete, an Our Power advisor will call you to go emissions you’ll offset. through it and to answer any questions you may have. If and when you are ready to make a purchase, the advisor will connect you with a reliable vendor in your area. Once your assessment is complete, an Our Power advisor will call you to go through it and to answer any questions you may have. “One of the reasons that people like to get an assessment from us is that we’re an If and when you are ready to make a purchase, the advisor will independent third party that doesn’t inflate the numbers” asserts Ken. “We don’t connect you with a reliable vendor in your area. actually sell any systems and our production estimates are based on information from real world monitored systems.” “One of the reasons that people like to get an assessment from us is that we’re an independent third party that doesn’t inflate the There is also an option to lease your roof if you don’t want to deal with numbers” asserts Ken. “We don’t actually sell any systems and maintenance or put up the capital, however you make more money if you purchase our production estimates are based on information from real world your own system. monitored systems.” A $20,000 2kW system generates an average annual income of $1,740 for 20 There is also an option to lease your roof if you don’t want to deal years, a 6.8% return on your investment. with maintenance or put up the capital, however you make more money if you purchase your own system.

Solar on your roof is a great investment • Reduces carbon emissions • Earns a competitive rate of return • Payments guaranteed for 20 years

Ask us - we’re here to help • Get a personalized online solar assessment • Analysis based on real world results • Get connected to reliable vendors

We give you independent advice • We’ll answer all your solar questions • We’ve helped install over 100 systems

Request an online roof assessment today!

Get involved in Ontario’s solar revolution today. A $20,000 2kW system generates an average annual income of $1,740 for 20 years, a 6.8% return on your investment. A message from the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative

Get involved in Ontario’s solar revolution today. A message from the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative

4 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

OUR POWER .CA OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 5


Capitalizing on a solar opportunity

Paid Information Supplement

Toronto Hydro Spring Programs

 

Toronto Hydro’s new Take A Load Off Toronto campaign helps Toronto residents stop washing their money down the drain. Between April 1 and June 30, 2010 you can receive up to $140 when you purchase an ENERGY STAR® qualified washing machine at any Torontoarea Caplan’s Appliances or The Home Depot.* You will also receive a free drying rack with purchase! * ENERGY STAR® qualified clothes washers use 35 to 50 per cent less water and at least 30 per cent less energy per load than other washers. Visit torontohydro.com/wash for more details. * $140 incentive based on $80 instant rebate plus a $60 City of Toronto mail-in rebate on a new high-efficiency, front-load washer. Drying racks available while quantities last. Excludes Miele appliances at Caplan’s.

Trade in five incandescent bulbs for five free CFLs at The Great Exchange This spring, with The Great Exchange, we’re taking in air conditioners, dehumidifiers and incandescent

DON’T MISS OUT Up to $2,740.00* IN HEATING AND COOLING GRANTS AND REBATES STILL AVAILABLE

light bulbs at all Walmart, The Home Depot and Rona retail locations throughout Toronto. You can trade in up to five incandescent light bulbs in exchange for the same number of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs use up to 75 per cent* less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs so they’re a great way to cut down on electricity usage. You can also exchange your old room air conditioners for a $25 gift card and old dehumidifiers for a $10 gift card. Visit torontohydro.com/exchange for more details. *Source: NRCan (nrcan.gc.ca)

Free in-home Refrigerator Pick-up Residents can save up to $150 per year in electricity by getting rid of their old, inefficient second fridges idling in their basements. Call us today and we’ll come pick it up FREE of charge.

How to get paid for letting the sun shine on your roof

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 at everykilowattcounts.ca or 1-877-797-9473.

Twice as nice - help the environment AND get a $75 credit on your bill Sign up for our peaksaver ® program and once the device is installed, you can receive $75 off your electricity bill! With peaksaver, we’ll install a small device near the central air conditioner to reduce the amount of electricity used during peak times. A signal is sent to the peaksaver device to temporarily cycle down your air conditioner.

Enrol at torontohydro.com/peaksaver or 1-877-487-8574.

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

Invest in energy efficient systems today and protect yourself from rising energy costs. REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

.FURNACES . HOT WATER HEATERS .AIR CONDITIONERS .TANKLESS CLEANERS .DUCTLESS AC .AIR HEPA FILTERS .HEAT PUMPS .HUMIDIFIERS .BOILERS .IN-FLOOR RADIANT HEATING

“Oh Mister Sun, Sun. Mister Golden Sun. Please shine down on me.” Now your financial planner can sing along too with Ontario’s promise to pay 80.2 cents per kWh (about 13 times the going rate for electricity) for all the solar power you can harness on an average-sized roof and feed into the electricity grid over the next 20 years. Ontario gets a lot of sun, similar to Miami. The Ontario government’s goal is to get to 100,000 rooftop solar installations, which would provide a little over one per cent of overall installed power capacity in the province. Why is the Ontario government doing this? It does make the electricity grid more resilient, but the more likely reason is that it democratizes green energy by allowing passive electricity consumers to become active electricity producers. Hundreds of thousands of solar panels gleaming across Toronto’s rooftops will raise awareness, and inspire us to take more power over our electric power in matters of making it, appreciating it, and conserving it. Some opponents of solar PV electricity claim that it takes more fossil energy to make solar PV panels than they produce during their lifetime, but with production efficiencies and material recycling the ‘energy return on energy invested’ for solar panels is now 1.5-3.5 years, and the panels can last as long as 40 years. So who wants to exploit the labour of the sun and receive a regular cheque from the power company? If your home or condo roof is in good condition and free from the shadows of trees and other structures during the sunniest hours of the day (10am-3pm), then you are a prime candidate. The other matter is money. If you can pay in cash, installing a 2kW Solar PV system on your roof (at a cost of $20,000 all in) will reap a 20-year annualized return of 3.4 per cent ($1,684 per year), compared to 2 per cent from a Canada Savings Bond. A crude rule of thumb is that for every installed kW you are looking at about 5 panels, $10,000 up front to do the complete install, and about $1000 per year in cheques sent to you from your local utility--not to mention displacing about 250 kg of greenhouse gases per year. Select banks and credit unions are offering mortgage re-advances, renewable energy home renovation loans and other financing options applicable to solar projects. Once you decide you want to become an energy producer, the first thing to do is consult Ourpower.ca, which has local groups all over Toronto and can provide crucial references to help you navigate everything from getting permits to credible installers (that meet the 40% Ontario domestic content threshold) and access to bulk buying discounts.

Serving our community cedarwoodheating.com

By Toby Heaps

Regarding taxes, PV systems qualify for a federal capital cost allowance, which eliminates any obligation to pay tax on the earnings from the system until the capital costs is fully repaid. A Retail Sales Tax (RST) rebate is also available with the purchase of any solar energy system, and while a solar system will increase the resale value of your home, going forward this increased value will be exempt from property tax re-assessments. Here’s to sunny days ahead.

Call 416-299-3300 today and don’t pay HST *AMOUNTS OF GRANTS AND REBATES MAY CHANGE. PLEASE CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION. 6 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

Toby Heaps is editor of Corporate Knights. Please write us with your solar adventures at editor@ourgreenhome.ca

OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 7


practical benefits to consumers as well. Native plants, which can thrive in poor conditions, don’t require watering or chemical fertilizers to survive. Growing native plants can also stop the spread of unwanted, invasive species. After a decade of seed planting on the site, in the fall of 2002, Evergreen submitted an unsolicited proposal to the City of Toronto to redevelop the Industrial Pad at the Brick Works into a large-scale native plant nursery. Two years later, it concluded a Memorandum of Understanding, unanimously approved by City Council, which gave Evergreen the option to lease the Industrial Pad for $1 per year for 21 years, once the organization had raised the funds needed for the adaptive reuse of the buildings.

Bricks work, seeds grow, and sustainable urban development germinates By Robert Furtado

Though muddy, ramshackle, and only beginning to assume its architectural identity, Evergreen Brick Works is nevertheless ripe for metaphor. Built in a defunct Toronto brickyard on the Don Valley network of ravines, the Brick Works was brought back to life when Evergreen began stewarding the land in 1991. Since then, through careful adaptive reuse, over 95 per cent of the brickyard’s 16 remaining structures have been converted and will once again contribute to Toronto’s development. This time the development is radically new, but no less fundamental. In its way, the Brick Works intends to rebuild Toronto and serve as a paradigm-shifting model for sustainable urban development worldwide.

T

he words “Toronto Brick Company” stamped into a brick of one building at the Brick Works are some of the only remnants of the third and last major brick company to occupy the site since 1880. Ravines, like bricks, are equally well made for metaphor. On a floodplain between Mud Creek and the Don River, amid a variety of waterways and river valleys left behind by the last Ice Age, the Brick Works, like the ravine system itself, unites eclectic forces. The people, ideas and ambitions gathered around the project are so staggering in their diversity that it can be difficult to describe the overall idea in a word. Perhaps, local author Robert Fulford’s notion brings us closer to what the Brick Works could mean, certainly to what it hopes to accomplish, in the coming years. Lamenting Toronto’s inability to recognize the richness of its own unique topography, he wished the presence of ravines would “force Torontonians to redraw the mental picture of the place they live.” 8 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

The germ of the idea for reuniting the industrial facility with our public ravines began with seed planting. The Gardening and Greening portfolio is one of four projects tucked into a larger, more ambitious undertaking. Alongside Innovation and Discovery, Food and Community, and Natural and Cultural Heritage, according to Evergreen, these projects are designed to educate visitors about the origins of food, plant life cycles and food preparation through gardening, kitchen and eating experiences. Native plant cultivation is among the centre’s more unique community-building strategies and part of the Gardening and Greening portfolio. The program aims to spread plant species that have originated locally, as these are best adapted to the local climate and soil, and have the best chance of increasing biodiversity, creating a local seed source, and connecting green spaces that provide migration corridors for urban wildlife. The Native Plant Database includes, by region, species of wild flower, trees and shrubs which have grown and evolved in North America since European settlement. The program offers

Gardening and greening initiatives are now supported in those buildings by an infrastructure of locavoredream-proportions: food gardens, indoor and outdoor teaching kitchens, bake ovens, greenhouses, composting, beehives, food and gardening education space, multipurpose gardening rooms, Marché community pavilions and the local Farmers’ Market. The Farmers’ Market first opened to the public in 2006, and has since become de rigueur among the city’s celebrity chefs, as well as its environmentally conscious shoppers. Brad Long, the Brick Works’ resident chef, is no slouch in the kitchen himself. He appeared on the Food Network’s hit TV series Restaurant Makeover, and made sustainable food both elegant and profitable at Veritas, his former King Street restaurant.

Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market Hours Saturdays, 8am–1pm. Starting May 29th.

Inspiration and change will be the Brick Work’s primary operating mechanisms.

CEILING

If the space is going to transform the city on a large scale, its visitors will have to translate educational interactions with the facility into sustainable food action in their homes, backyards and gardens.

The food gardens, located in the Children’s Nature Playground, Welcome Court, the Garden Centre, and in various nooks and crannies throughout the site will be used to teach gardening methods suitable for urban spaces, such as trellising, espalier, permaculture and companion planting. The indoor and outdoor teaching kitchens will house cooking and food preparation demonstrations for schools. Approximately two classes are expected to pass through per day, as well as summer camps, families and the public. There’s no telling whether or not Evergreen Brick Works will satisfy Fulford’s wish to redraw the mental picture of the place we live. What mark it leaves on Toronto and the psychology of its residents, of course, remains to be seen. But there’s promise in the city’s willingness to support an experimental project of such size and breadth. Already, before the doors open on the new facilities, the Brick Works has taught us that a deep love of the land does not imply a rejection of the city.

WALLS

Robert Furtado, a Toronto-based writer, blogs for Toronto Life.

FOUNDATION

From earth to plate, part of the locavore dream, is topped off at Marché — a 14,000 square foot garden nursery and sustainable food hub, which will house food businesses year-round, whetting Toronto’s appetite for accessible local fare. Marché will be important to the Brick Work’s self-sustaining operating model. By May, 2010, when the centre is scheduled to open, Evergreen will have sunk roughly 75 per cent of the money raised through its capital campaign - over $41 million dollars into site redevelopment.

HEAT & SAVE! Receive up to $1,000

when you upgrade your home insulation

Don’t throw your money out the window!

Make your home more energy efficient with new insulation and receive up to $1,000 from Home Energy Assistance Toronto (HEAT).

•  Reduce winter heat loss by 80% •  Reduce summer heat gain by 70% •  Reduce outside noise pollution •  Reduce your carbon footprint

Reduce energy costs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and access even more funds from the provincial government.

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.

Learn more at livegreentoronto.ca or call 311 416-633-3043  1-800-665-4858  sales@londeninc.com 

warmwindowcoverings.com OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 9


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. 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.

SPRING RENO TIPS

By Beatrice Olivastri

Paint the green way

When spring fever hits your home and you’re looking make a change and paint, it’s not only the colour you’re going to have to live with. Paint can have a big impact on the environment and your health, for months, and even years, to come.

Most paints give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – chemicals that evaporate in the air, worsen indoor air quality and contribute to smog. Exposure to certain chemicals in paints and other coatings can cause eye, throat and lung irritation, headaches, dizziness, and vision problems. The good news is that after a decade of discussion the federal government has regulated VOCs in paints and other coatings. New standards limit interior flat paints to 50 grams of VOCs per litre (g/L) while gloss paints can contain up to 150 g/L. The bad news is the federal government has also implemented a two year “sell off provision” that allows retailers to sell the higher-polluting paint already in stock.

Buyer beware.

The regulation does not apply to small containers of one litre or less of specialty products like faux finishing or quick drying enamels and varnishes.

For more information, call 1-888-PHANTOM or visit www.phantomscreens.com

Dark pigments added to the paint base can greatly increase the emission rates of VOCs.

Choose your colours wisely.

The rule of thumb is the darker the colour, the higher the VOC content. But here again, there are new offerings of low or no VOC pigments – an important choice if you are already buying low or no VOC paint. When the job is done, what do you do with the leftovers? Take it back to where you bought it. The Ontario Government has mandated new measures for disposal of paint, considered a hazardous waste when surplus. You can find retailers who take back surplus paint and special collection events in your community by going to Stewardship Ontario’s website www.dowhatyoucan.ca. Ever wonder where all that waste paint goes? Boomerang paint is one Canadian company that collects unused and reclaimed paints and reformulates it into a low cost recycled paint low in VOCs (90 g/L). Some retailers offer their own brand of recycled paints.

Boomerang Paint on the web www.boomerangpaint.com

Paid Information Supplement

If you don’t recycle properly, we can’t either. We all want to recycle what we can, but some items just don’t belong in the Blue Bin. The City of Toronto has launched Waste Wizard to help residents learn how to manage their waste materials. This new database, available on the Solid Waste Management Services website at toronto.ca/recycling, lists more than 1,500 items and is an easy way to check if an item can go in your Blue Bin or if it needs to be disposed of in another way. For example, propane tanks or canisters of any size - small camping canisters, small and large BBQ tanks and helium tanks - should never be put in with your recycling or garbage and must be disposed of properly. Even when empty, these tanks are considered dangerous hazardous waste. Incorrect disposal of hazardous waste increases the potential for injury, damage to processing/sorting equipment, work delays, lost time and contamination of the recycling stream. In the City of Toronto, hazardous waste can be dropped off at depots in various locations. There are also Reuse Centres at the depots where you can donate useable but unwanted materials, including oil and latex paint. Donations are sorted and reusable materials are set aside for other residents to pick up for free. Propane tanks and other materials can also be taken to local Community Environment Days. These events run from April to October throughout Toronto and allow you to dispose of or donate unused and unwanted household items and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. To find a Community Environment Day near you, check toronto.ca/environment_days or call 311. Another option to help you get rid of household hazardous waste is the Toxics Taxi. This service provides free pick-up from Toronto residents with a minimum quantity of 10 litres and a maximum quantity of 50 litres. Call 311 to arrange for pick-up. So remember, when you are cleaning out your basement, attic or garage, if you don’t recycle properly, we can’t either. Check Waste Wizard at toronto.ca/recycle to learn more about the ins and outs of your bins.

While painting has the biggest impact and lowest cost as far as renovations go, choose your new paint carefully for the lowest impact on the environment and your health. Beatrice Olivastri is Chief Executive Officer of Friends of the Earth Canada which does not endorse products nor services. However, Bea, herself, is an old house enthusiast and serial renovator. More tips at www.foecanada.org

10 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

Special message from City of Toronto Solid Waste Management Services.

OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 11


Milk and Cream Once touted as the essential liquid of life, milk is now the subject of criticism from environmentalists and nutritionists alike. Producing milk puts stress on both cows and the environment: a typical dairy farm milks its cows about 300 days per year, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cattle emit about 5.5 million metric tons of methane per year. Consuming milk has also been linked to increased incidences of heart disease and hormone-related cancer.

By Melissa Shin With this issue, we launch our new online resource for Toronto shoppers, the Green Grocery Guide, a guide to shopping for environmentally friendly and socially responsible products. We present the various labels and certifications to look for and the ingredient, process and packaging concerns on a category by category basis. Our sampling of products within each category is not exhaustive, but rather is meant to examine the attributes of some of the available products. In each future issue of the magazine, we will present some highlights of selected categories, while the complete range of surveyed products will be available at www.greengroceryguide.ca, We invite you to suggest other green, sustainable and socially responsible GreenHomesFinal Page 1 products to help us 3/31/10 grow our 3:38 guide.PMideas@greengroceryguide.ca

E

very product is going to have an impact on the environment. In our introduction to each category, we include information about the overall concerns and challenges faced by the producers and distributors. Some of the products have done a better job of mitigating these concerns than others. Our rating system, therefore, is relative. Green means going above and beyond the typical production and procurement process; yellow means that there are some sources, processes or ingredients of potential concern - or that some information is unavailable; and red indicates a warning that, in some manner, the product is not up to the “green” grade. We base our ratings on the information that the producer provides—we are unable to verify every claim. But that’s why we refer you to the organizations who have done the work for us: third party certifiers such as Local Food Plus and Canada Organic. An eBay Canada study finds that that 64 per cent of Canadians wish there were more green options in the marketplace. Our research reveals that there are lots of products out there – you just need to know where to look. Check out the entire guide online at ourgreenhome.ca. Melissa Shin is Managing Editor at Corporate Knights

Evaluation Criteria: Ingredients CANADIAN WORKER CO-OP • SPECIALIZING IN ORGANICALLY GROWN, NON-GMO AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE PRODUCTS

Natural Food Market

416.466.2129 info@thebigcarrot.ca Organic Produce • Bulk & Grocery • Locally Raised Meat Organic Dairy & Eggs • Fridge & Freezer • Vegetarian Deli Appliances • Body Care Department

Wholistic Dispensary

416.466.8432 dispensary@thebigcarrot.ca Vitamins & Minerals • Vibrational & Homeopathic Remedies Herbal Remedies • Professional Staff • Professional Product Lines

Organic Juice Bar Free Nutritional Store Tours • Free Evening Lectures New Cooking Classes

348 Danforth Ave. (1 block w. of Chester subway) thebigcarrot.ca Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-9:00 • Sat 9:00-8:00 • Sun 11:00-6:00

Organically-produced milk is not free from these concerns, since the term “organic” applies to the type of feed the cows ingest, not the milking process. Organic cows consume feed that was grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The milk is also free from traces of antibiotics, since “sick” cows can no longer be used for milk. Research shows that organic milk has about 71% more Omega-3, 50% more Vitamin E, 75% higher beta carotene, and three times the antioxidants than conventional milk. Drinking organic soymilk eliminates the health and ethical concerns associated with dairy milk, but some soybeans can be genetically modified, and aren’t always grown nearby. Soy beans can contain estrogen-like compounds as well as high levels of aluminum, since the beans often need to be processed in an acid bath in aluminum tanks to remove anti-nutritive substances. This means that our overall scoring is relative—we acknowledge that there are potential concerns with both types of milk.

Packaging

Evaluations: Warning Caution Pass Learn more about our methodology and different grocery certifications at ourgreenhome.

So Nice Original Organic Soymilk All of So Nice’s organic varieties, which are clearly labelled with the Canada Organic label, contain more than 95% organic ingredients and GMO-free soybeans. Its 1.89 L carton packaging is SFI and FSC certified. The company claims to be the only soy producer to have manufacturing facilities in both Eastern and Western Canada, and its Western facilities undergo annual energy audits. So Nice’s soy extract plant is located beside its manufacturing facility to minimize shipping and travel distances.

Hearkening back to the days of the milkman, Harmony Organic milk and cream come in reusable glass bottles. Each bottle is expected to make 15 to 20 trips before being recycled, and the bottles are cleaned using hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. The milk is also available in cartons. Harmony Organic treats its cows with “love and respect”—cattle reportedly graze on “lush pastures” in the summer and perform daily outdoor exercises during the winter. Local Food Plus certified.

Disposability

Distance Traveled

Organic Meadow’s 1% milk has just become available in reusable bottles, but its cream still comes in a carton. As its brand suggests, both products are organic. Organic Meadow requires all of its farms to go through a fouryear transitional phase in order to be certified organic. Farmers also choose livestock species that are adapted to the local environment. The company is owned by an Ontario farmers’ cooperative, and the biography of each farmer appears on the company’s website.

Harmony Organic 1% milk

Availability

Production Method

Organic Meadow 1% milk

Natrel Nature 1% Pure Organic milk Natrel’s Pure Organic milk undergoes a filtering process that removes over 98 times more bacteria than milk that has only been pasteurized. Its organic plants are inspected once a year. This milk is produced in Quebec, where organic milk is pooled with milk from other dairies, just as non-organic milk is, then sent to manufacturers where it is processed.

TM

Organic Meadow is a farmerowned Co-operative made up of over 100 farm families across Ontario. Our farmers work with nature to create healthy soil, healthy plants and healthy animals, bringing you locally-produced organic foods of the highest quality.

Look for these and other Organic Meadow products in your local grocery or fine food market.

info@organicmeadow.com 1-866-767-9694

www.organicmeadow.com

12 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

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Go native for the ecological and economical garden

Cost Rica, an exploration of trail-blazing incentives

to unite nature, economy and community. 

By Cynthia McQueen

By Paul Cassel

Go native in your garden and get cozy with the butterflies, the birds and the bees. It’s low cost, low maintenance and highly sustainable to invite native species of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals into your garden landscape. Planting native species means you’re gardening with the good knowledge that you are helping preserve Canada’s rich seed resource, while creating a landscape that requires as little maintenance as a wildflower meadow.

There are economic benefits to thinking ecologically too.

Photo by Linda Read: Native plant species are plants that were indigenous to North America before European Settlement. A Black Eyed Susan is a common native perennial

The difference between native plants and non-native plants is also a question of economy. Nancy McPhee, Garden Centre Manager at Evergreen said, “Replacing non-native plants that did not over-winter each year can be costly. ”Non-native plants are not acclimatized to the extreme temperature and moisture variations in Ontario and are therefore more costly to breed and more difficult to keep alive.

hybrid plants sold at conventional garden centres, meaning less fertilizing and watering.

The list of economic benefits goes on.

As for bringing non-native species into your native plant garden, they are a welcome addition to any garden, but some can be invasive. According to the Royal Botanical Gardens, it’s hard to know the exact number of invasive species or “garden escapees,” but many can do severe damage. In the Southern United States, the infamous kudzu vine has run amok and can grow so fast as to overtake homes.

According to Kennedy, native plants are generally cheaper because the growers are usually the sellers, meaning no franchises or big box stores inflating the prices. 

McPhee went on to list the virtues of native plant gardens. They are more resistant to diseases and bugs. They grow quickly and are low maintenance compared to most

Because native plant gardens do not require what Doug Kennedy, Native plant nursery owner at Green Side Up Environmental Services, calls life support they’re a money saver. “Native plants do not require any chemical or mechanical treatment, can be left out all year and do not need watering,” Kennedy said.

Before you start planting consider if your garden is marshy or dry and plant according to your ecoregion or ecozone. Plant flowers and shrubs in clumps and clusters like they would appear in a forest. With the right finesse, some mature native plant gardens can resemble old growth forests. In order to become the green Snow White, remember evergreen and coniferous species provide food and shelter for wildlife through the winter. Hyssops provide food for several insects and are successful at drawing wildlife in. Ants eat wild ginger and spread the seed and berry-producing shrubs provide food for winter species of birds.

From the beginning, Costa Rica has gone its own way. When the Spanish conquered the “Rich Coast”, the natives refused to submit to slavery, leaving the settlers to till their land themselves. On this foundation, this remote country evolved into one of the only egalitarian colonies in the Spanish empire. It has fiercely defended its independence ever since. With volunteer civilian fighters against American soldiers of fortune. With trading smarts, by-passing South American processors to ship coffee directly to Europe. With workers challenging the American controlled United Fruit Company, its practices of deforestation and labour abuse and its monopoly of the banana trade. With political action by overthrowing a complicit regime and dissolving the military, taxing the wealthy, introducing welfare and installing a democratic constitution. By developing eco-tourism as an export, when coffee prices collapsed. With Costa Rica as a reluctant host to a secret CIA airstrip supplying the Nicaraguan “Contras” funded with an illicit drug trade, demonstrations succeeded in evicting the American military. The US ambassador quit. School children planted trees on the airstrip. President Oscar Arias won the Nobel peace prize. When a Texas-based oil company with ties to George W. Bush pursued drilling rights in ecologically sensitive areas, a broad coalition of environmentalists, activists and citizens’ groups won a court imposed moratorium on oil exploration and open-pit mining.

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small impact, big adventures

Today, tourism is the biggest export and almost one third of the country is under some form of environmental protection. But the ``Ticos`` face a new threat. In a resort-owned jungle preserve, our guide points out the “May bugs”, which mark the beginning of summer. It was mid-March. “Everything is changing,” she said. “Our weather. Our rainfall patterns. We don’t know what is going to happen now.” How can the Ticos defend their homeland against climate change? Their only hope lies in helping to change our definition of ``home``, linking the distant jungle preserve with its visitors’ ``home`` countries, industries and governments, uniting their actions with their consequences, wherever they are felt.

Have a low impact holiday and get a little Intrepid! Intrepid Travel is committed to a style of travel that’s environmentally, culturally and socially responsible. We have designed our trips in a way that limits the physical impact on our planet and the places we visit so they may be enjoyed for generations to come.

Win a trip to Costa Rica on the Intrepid tour

a taste of costa rica enter at ourgreenhome.ca

Travel to Costa Rica, hike the nature preserves, snorkel, swim, see quetzals and monkeys, be awed by the scenery, meet the Ticos, enjoy their cuisine and celebrate – the green home we share.

intrepidtravel.com 1 866 360 1151

Visit ourgreenhome.ca

to learn how you could win a Costa Rican eco-tour for two and for great green Costa Rican travel tips.

Photo Credit: Celeste Cassel de Camps

LOCAL ENHANCEMENT AND APPRECIATION OF FORESTS

ORDER NOW: 416-413-9244 or www.yourleaf.org 14 . OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010

Paul Cassel is Publisher of Our Green Home and president at Up Marketing.

Contest sponsored by: OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 15


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OUR GREEN HOME SPRING 2010 . 17


Our Green Home, Spring 2010