Environment File

November 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Green guide for homes

A former city resident is giving a free talk this weekend on how to make your home greener using a chainsaw.

Former city resident Stuart Fix of ReN Building Science is giving a talk at Grant MacEwan University this Sunday on how to do a chainsaw retrofit of a home.

A chainsaw retrofit is a process where you rip off a homes exterior and replace it with something more energy efficient a process that often involves a chainsaw.

The talk is part of the universitys first-ever Buy Build Reno Retro conference on green construction, says Chantal Beaudoin, head of sustainability at the university. The conference is meant to help residents learn how to build green, and features speakers such as Carbon Busters Godo Stoyke and net-zero home designer Peter Amerongen.

Fix says hell talk about his experience with doing a chainsaw or deep energy retrofit to his 1940s-era Edmonton home.

Retrofits can be far less expensive than building or buying a new home, Fix says, especially if you do it yourself (as he is).

He and his wife are about six months into their retrofit and hope to be done next summer. When theyre finished, they will have added more insulation to the roof and walls, upgraded the windows to triple pane from single, and added a high-efficiency boiler and ventilation system, cutting the homes heating needs by about 80 per cent.

If you need to re-side or re-shingle your home anyway, Fix says, why not bulk up the insulation on it while youre at it? You can end up with a significantly more energy efficient home than what you had, all without touching the inside.

The City of Edmonton will also launch its new Green Home Guide at the event, says fellow speaker Mike Mellross, which is meant to give residents tips on how to buy or find an energy-efficient home. Were looking at creating demand in the market for greener products.

The guide includes numerous tips on insulation, water use, solar energy and heating, as well as lists of questions to ask when buying a home or condo.

Free copies of the guide will be available at the event or at edmonton.ca/greenbuilding.

Making your home energy efficient will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and make you healthier and more comfortable, Fix says. And it saves you money in the long run.

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Nov. 17 at MacEwans Robbins Health Learning Centre on the corner of 109 St. and 104 Ave.

Retire tires at depot

City residents can now keep old tires out of the dump by dropping them at the St. Albert recycling depot.

St. Albert solid waste programs co-ordinator Christian Benson announced this week that the citys recycling depot would now collect used tires for recycling. Its a service weve been eyeing for a couple of years, he says, and its meant to give residents who change their own tires a place to take their wheels. (Most tire shops already accept used tires.)

The depot now has a large steel cage in which residents can toss used tires, including bike tires, vehicle tires smaller than 19.5 inches wide, and off-road tires smaller than 39 inches. If you want to throw in the tire rim, go ahead. The only thing we wouldnt take would be large farm equipment (tires), he says, as well as ones from semi-trucks.

Edmontons Alberta Environmental Rubber Products will then shred the tires and turn them into landscaping, roofing and other products.

The service is free, Benson says, as its backed by a levy put on all tires by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority, and will be available during regular depot hours. The depot gets a lot of traffic, so he predicts it could collect about a cages worth of tires a month.

Recycling a tonne of used tires prevents about 0.43 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency equivalent to what youd get from burning a barrel of oil.

Call Benson at 780-418-6699 for details.

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