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3 Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

3 ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint

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3 ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint

More people than ever are realising the impact of human activity on the planet and are trying to find ways to minimise it. And one of the things that can be done is to reduce our carbon footprint. The issue is that many people try to focus on the wrong things without noticing the small ways that they may be leaking energy. This is why you have to monitor how you consume energy closely and make changes at multiple levels. Here are a few ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Go for Net-Zero building

The best way to make sure that your home has a minimal carbon footprint is to build it with energy efficiency in mind. Net Zero homes are homes that can produce as much energy as they consume. Net Zero homes are not only able to generate energy on-site but are also built to be as energy-efficient as possible.

But you have to make sure that you work with the right team to get the results you want and end up with a true Net Zero home. You could get net zero homes with Effect Home Builders, for instance, and they’ve been building net energy homes for over a decade and received various accolades. Working with a reputable team will ensure that they build a home you’ll love, be comfortable in, and will allow you to save both energy and money in the long run.

Go tankless

It’s still surprising to see how many people have no idea about tankless water heating systems and how they work. But depending on your household, this could allow you to significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Traditional water heaters spend unnecessary energy keeping the water in the tank hot for hours. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, automatically heat water coming from your water supply using heating elements. Not only does it mean that you only spend energy when you need it, but you also don’t have to worry about running out of hot water.

Seal and insulate

One of the simplest things that you can do to reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint is to make sure that your home is sealed as tight as possible. Not only is this a cost-effective method, but it is one you can do yourself as well.

While many people will concentrate on spots like under-door spaces and windows, there are many places where your home may be leaking energy. These include electrical receptacles and outlets, mail slots, space around pipes, fireplace dampers, and more. Also, note that attics are a common area for leaks as hot air rises. So, make sure that it is properly insulated, and call in a professional if you’re unsure of whether you can do the job alone.

Bottom line

Now that you know how to improve your home energy-efficiency, make sure that you do everything you can to follow through. Not only will you be able to sleep better knowing you did something for the planet, but you’ll have a nice surprise when you look at your next energy bill.


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Markham City Hall

Markham commits to becoming Canada’s largest net-zero emissions city

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Markham commits to becoming Canada’s largest net-zero emissions city

 Markham City Hall

The City of Markham has set out to become a net-zero emissions city by 2050, as a result of a collaboration with Mattamy Homes Canada and Enwave Energy Corp.

The partners have announced an arrangement to research and design a pilot of about 300 homes in the Berczy-Glen neighbourhood, serviced by a community-scale distributed geothermal energy system for heating, cooling and domestic hot water.

“This is first major step to achieving our goal of becoming net-zero water, waste and emissions community by 2050, and this one of many innovative initiatives you will see with development partners,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Markham is a municipal leader in energy conservation and management. This project will set the standard for a new way of thinking about how we generate and distribute energy in North America.”

Model community

“This forward-thinking business model, where the burden of optimizing advanced heating and cooling equipment is transferred from the home owner to a private entity, will contribute to job creation and drive innovation adoption in the housing industry,” adds Brad Carr, CEO of Mattamy Homes Canada. “Mattamy has a long history of leadership in home building innovation, and we see this partnership as clearly aligned with our sustainability and innovation strategy.”

Read more: Markham, the city has grown up

Read more: 6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

To achieve Markham’s target, the Municipal Energy Plan – Getting to Zero includes strategies for increasing and improving energy efficiency through implementing green technology, energy conservation and efficiency in all sectors of Markham.

Grant funding has been provided by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) for design activities.

Located in north Markham, the community in Berczy-Glen will utilize deep wells up to 250 metres, allowing the community to tap into geothermal energy. Heating and cooling will be delivered at the neighborhood level, through a single common ambient pipe buried underneath the community and connected to each home, similar to that of an electrical grid. The system will be maintained and operated by Enwave’s team of engineers, who will ensure the system is efficient and reliable.

Consumer benefit

This community scale model boasts several benefits to consumers, including: Greater energy efficiency through optimization; increased energy savings; reduced maintenance burden and costs; and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. All of these benefits will increase comfort and convenience for residents.

Upon completion of the pilot, the model may be applied to future phases of the Mattamy development. The best practices and lessons learned from this partnership will help advance geothermal community energy systems across the GTA and beyond.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

How the geothermal system will work

  • Geothermal energy supplies space heating and cooling, as well as hot water, to each home
  • A closed loop piping system is installed 600 to 800 ft. underground, creating a ground heat exchanger
  • In winter, heat is extracted from the ground by circulating fluid through the pipes
  • The heater water is then circulated throughout the community and into individual homes
  • After the heated fluid is delivered to each home, the cooled fluid circulates back to the ground



Markham: The city has grown up



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THE MARKETER: Innovative technology a game changer

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THE MARKETER: Innovative technology a game changer

Innovative technology a game changer
By Vicki Griffiths
Vicbar Marketing

Imagine building a house as easily as you connect Lego pieces. Granted, the pieces are much larger, but Quebec company BONE Structure has made building a snap with its innovative steel construction technology. And that’s just part of the beauty of BONE Structure; its houses can be designed to fit on any lot, can be reconfigured and readapted to fit homeowners’ changing needs, and are highly energy efficient.

BONE Structure was founded in 2005 by Marc A. Bovet, who had worked in upper management at aerospace and transportation manufacturer Bombardier. While having his own house built, he found conventional building methods lacking. He figured there was a better way to build and recruited engineers, architects, industrial designers and interior designers to develop the BONE Structure system, which combines the advantage of post and beam building system with superior energy efficiency.

Similar to the technology used to make parts for cars and airplanes, the 11-gauge steel components are designed using 3D software and laser cut with surgical precision. The homes don’t have any interior load-bearing walls, so each home offers great design freedom. The high-performance integrated design thermal building envelope is an excellent integrator when building Net Zero Ready or Net Zero homes and the houses can easily achieve LEED or PassivHaus certifications.

While there are examples of BONE Structure’s work in Ontario (the company also has buildings all across Canada and in California), most have been one-off custom home projects. Now that Fourteen Estates, an award-winning Pickering builder best known for luxury custom homes, is moving into the production home realm with its Eden Park development in Newtonville, it recruited BONE Structure as its building partner. The 28 luxury contemporary homes on three-quarter-acre lots at Eden Park will be a hybrid between custom and production homes. With BONE Structure providing the production work, the homes will be completed in a much shorter time frame than with conventional home building methods. Fourteen Estates will put the finishing on the homes with its signature craftsmanship and attention to detail.

“This is likely the first modern-design and high-performance subdivision of its kind in Ontario,” said Bovet. “The homes will have large open spaces, will be very energy efficient, thanks to our high-performance building envelope and patented steel structure construction system.”

The Eden Park homes will be Net Zero Ready, potentially saving homeowners up to 90 per cent in energy costs and with the addition of solar panels and can become fully Net Zero (producing as much energy as they produce). The steel system makes it easy to reconfigure the homes to adapt with homeowners’ changing needs, including adding more rooms, removing or moving walls, or modifying a floorplan.

The system has benefits for builders, too, who want to stay within budget. The integrated design, production and construction approach takes the guesswork out of what costs will be and each component of a BONE Structure house, down to the number of screws, is itemized. Construction is not complicated and there is no cutting, piercing or welding required. The technology is patented in 42 countries and Bovet wanted to develop a system that could be used in almost any country around the globe and could be assembled even by workers without in-depth construction knowledge.

With a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly building, BONE Structure is ahead of that curve, too. It uses non-toxic building materials to ensure indoor air quality, it’s just-in-time delivery system results in minimal waste on job sites and the steel frames are fully recyclable. Is steel the new wood? It just might be.

Vicki Griffiths is the co-founder and director of Vicbar Marketing.


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