Sustainable thinking is beginning to permeate the publicís psyche. Many hope that Green / Sustainable consciousness will become a staple in everyday life. If the media continues to report the subject and public demand continues to increase its want for sustainable products, sustainable home retrofitting and sustainable housing developments a real difference can be made.
There are many little things that we as home renters and homeowners in Toronto can do to make a difference. Listed below are but a few everyday things that can make a big difference in you carbon emissions footprint and the many chemicals we buy that are then released into the ecosystem.
- Shop for local produce. On average our food travels 3000 kilometers to get to our dinner table. (Reference: Natural Capitalism)
- Purchase biodegradable soaps, shampoos, creams, and hair products. These are now available at many large grocery stores.
- Walk, bicycle, car pool or take public transportation to work, entertainment and shopping. The average North American commutes a total of 30 miles to and from work a day (Reference: Greenpeace). Think of the saving incurred by decreasing your usage of gasoline, auto maintenance, auto insurance (let alone carbon emissions) if you consider a more environmentally friendly means of getting to work and play! If you must drive, which is a reality for many (including real estate agents) consider offsetting your carbon emissions. The average automobile driver releases 5 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere a year. (Reference: zero footprint)
- Replace all of your incandescent light bulbs with CFL Bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs), the savings is immense, the quality has improved dramatically while prices have dropped for the consumer.
- Plant a tree! This is natureís air conditioning in the summer. If you have the space consider planting a deciduous tree on the southern portion of your property (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere), the leaves will shade your home in the summer; once the cooler weather moves in the leaves will be shed giving your home more sunlight light (heat) for the winter (less stress on your heating system). A coniferous tree is best planted at the northwestern corner of the property; it will help block some of the cold artic winds from the northwest of Canada. The City of Toronto offers many free trees to residents in the City of Toronto.
Thinking Of Renovating Your Home?
- Flooring: Cork flooring is a great alternative to new hard wood flooring, as it can be harvested without damaging the tree! There was a rumour many years ago about a shortage of corks (untrue). Bamboo, this is a fast growing non-tree species (almost like a weed in terms of growth speed), so it can be grown and harvested in a short period of time. Reclaimed wood is a beautiful alternative as well. Think old English Cottage styling, this wood can look very beautiful.
- Carpeting: Consider a textile which has used less chemicals in the manufacturing process, these gases can release throughout the life of the carpet (a term called off-gassing). A company called Interface has some fantastic alternatives.
- Painting: Consider a paint with low (or no) VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), please note that even if the paint states no VOCs there may have been chemicals used to produce the paint, so be sure to ask lots of questions. Two more environmentally friendly paints are: 1) Farrow & Ball; 2) Benjamin Moore's Aura
- Heating and cooling your home: A programmable thermostat is an easy and affordable start, simply buying a digital thermostat can save a lot in energy (previous thermostats are incredibly inefficient). Your local utility provider will likely offer a rebate for such a new purchase for your home. Weather-stripping, a regularly cleaned furnace can also go a long ways to saving you money on your energy bills. New windows are more expensive, but also make a big difference to your inside environment comfort level. Double glazed windows are a great place to start, argon filled windows are more expensive, but make for a very efficient insulation for your home. Insulating your basement can improve the average heat loss by 30% in the winter. Insulating your homeís attic/roof can account for another 30% increase in efficiency of your overall energy retention.
Consider looking at the Green links at the left tab for further sustainable education.
House related environmental rebates
Would you like to know energy efficiency ratings for cars, appliances, windows, etc.? Click here: Natrual Resources Canada - The Office of Energy Efficiency
Ryan Roberts is a residential real estate agent in Toronto who has a genuine concern of the environment. Sustainable living is a goal he strives for. If you are looking for a real estate agent who understands sustainable developments and re-sale homes with sustainable retrofits please contact him directly at email@example.com
Ryan Roberts is constantly learning more about sustainable real estate development and retrofitting as he believes everyone will begin to include theses elements in their Toronto homes.