Living Green includes the 7Rs plus additional ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment. There are many. Here we focus on water conservation, green cleaning, eating for the planet, and green building/renovations.
The Earth's surface is mostly water, but not the kind you can drink or use to water plants. Fresh water isn’t always available and what is available can easily be overused, so we need to use this precious resource wisely.
In Canada, almost 90% of the population lives in the southern parts of the country and 50% of the country's freshwater flows into the Arctic Ocean or Hudson’s Bay. This means that 90% of the population is drawing on roughly half the supply of freshwater, putting strain on a limited resource.
You can make a difference by finding ways to conserve water.
A useful list of common places where water leaks happen in the home and how to address them.
It has come to be known as "green cleaning", but not too long ago this was the only cleaning there was. Green cleaning uses products that are not harmful to the environment. Using them means: a safer home, money savings, less waste, and simplified cleaning.
This database provides easy-to-navigate hazard ratings for more than 2,000 cleaning products.
Eat for the planet
Eat delicious and nutritious food while saving the planet? Absolutely. The goal of eating for the planet is to produce the least amount of carbon and waste while creating better tasting meals. How do you do this?
Choose local options. This decreases our reliance on fossil fuel transportation that carries our food long distances from the source.
Eat more plant-based food. This decreases the associated carbon effects of animal production.
Decrease waste. Avoid packaged foods, reduce your food waste and compost.
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council, savethefood.com shares many ways to reduce food waste. This is a great green choice.
Green building and renovations
A green home uses and disposes of fewer natural resources and has good indoor air quality. It's easier to make a home green during its design stage because environmental factors can be factored into the design process, including where the home will be located, what materials will be selected for building, where the house will get its energy from, the types of appliances it will have, and more. But built homes can have a number of green features implemented long after they've been built too, like these:
Water-saving devices can be installed
Inefficient appliances can be replaced with energy efficient ones
Paints used in the home can be low VOC
Carpet or tile can be made from recycled materials
Insulation can be replaced or added in the walls
Doors and windows can be replaced or new seals put around them to stop leaks
If you are constructing a new building or replacing your current heating and cooling system, consider a geothermal heat pump. Geothermal systems are among the most energy efficient, comfortable, and environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems available.
Passive Buildings Canada is passionate about Passive House (PH) and low carbon, energy efficient buildings. It is a non-profit organization that aims to grow the low-energy-building movement and build a more sustainable, healthy Canada and planet.