Environmental awareness is gaining a huge following in our generation and it is becoming more important to be knowledgeable about the things that we do which may help or hinder the environment. Being knowledgable about terms such as “LEED certified” and “green technologies” can help you to make decisions that will promote the health and longevity of our world.
What is a Green Building and LEED?
A green building is one whose construction and lifetime of operation assure the healthiest possible environment while representing the most efficient and least disruptive use of land, water, energy and resources. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certification is presented based on performance in five key areas of human and environmental health, including sustainable site development , water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
TIOCOAT Flat Roof Solutions
A great way to reduce energy consumption is white or rubber roof coating. TIOCOAT flat roof solutions is a company that makes a white roof or rubber roof coating that is guaranteed for the life of the building. TIOCOAT provides 89% reflectivity of solar radiation, which will significantly reduce the buildings energy requirements. Please consider implementing this green technology in your home!
Motion Sensor Lighting
We are continuously told that an easy way to reduce energy in our homes is to turn off the lights when leaving a room. However, it may not seem practical if you are only leaving the room momentarily… but does that time add up? Of course! Installing motion sensor lighting is a simple and smart choice that can make your home more eco friendly. There are four main types of sensors:
Infrared or Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensors: Designed to see infrared radiation, or heat (from humans, for instance), these sensors detect the motion of heat from one area to another. These are best suited for hallways and areas with a long line of sight.
Ultrasonic or Ultra Sound (US) sensors: Using ultrasound technology, these devices emit sound waves and any motion will disrupt the frequency. These can be falsely triggered rather easily and are not the best option if you have pets.
Audio sensors: Using a microphone, these sensors listen for sounds, such as voices or movement. These sensors may not be the best at distinguishing between voices and other noises.
Microwave sensors: This technology is most commonly used for automatic door openers, but it’s somewhat new and less tested in occupancy sensors. These devices function by sending out microwaves and then sensing the reflected frequency.
Personally, I think we should have an “Earth Hour” every month, or even every week where for an hour families turn off their lights and electronics. It helps the environment, promotes family bonding time and who doesn’t love candles?
Watering the Lawn
This is something that is more practical if you are not planning on doing an eco-home renovation or do not have the money to spend on green-technologies for your home. Having a healthy green lawn is something that many families strive for when the nicer weather comes around. he typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water for irrigation. Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by over-watering. (US Environmental Protection Agency). Here are some easy ways to lower water bills and make every drop of water count:
Water in the early morning: if you water at mid-day, much of the water will evaporate.
Water the grass: This may seem obvious but ensure that sprinklers are not watering the driveway or road.
Raise your lawn mower cutting height: longer grass blades help shade each other, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
Use organic fertilizers and soil amendments: such as leaf mulch or compost, these increase soil’s water-holding capacity, allowing the lawn and garden to stay greener longer.
Simcoe County Administrative Centre Goes Green
A great example of a green building in my community is the Simcoe County Administrative Centre, located in Midhurst. In 2008, the building recieved a $25.3 million renovation and expansion which included some amazing green technology features! The project was a challenge for architects Rob Knight, of Barrie-based Ted Handy and Associates, and Stephen Teeple, who’s with Teeple Architects in Toronto. It entailed renovating the existing administration building, built in the early 1970s, and adding a modern extension that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certificate standards. In line with the LEED designation, building materials contained recycled content that were sourced from within 800 kilometers of the project and wood and composite wood products from sustainably harvested sources.
Green Technologies in the SCAC
-The building is cooled and heated by a groundwater system. Water is pumped up from 80 wells 250-feet underground, then is heated or cooled to maintain the indoor temperature.
-The lighting system naturally dims and brightens, depending on the outside light. The three arrays of solar panels on the roof reduce the electricity bill.
-Exterior glazing on the large windows, combined with argon gas between the panes of glass, reduces ultraviolet light from entering and increases the insulation factor, as well as letting in plenty of sunlight.
-Working areas have daylight sensors (so lights are dimmed or shut off if enough sunlight is coming in) and occupancy sensors (so light fixtures are shut down if no one is in the room) to reduce energy consumption.
-An irrigation system for lands around the administration centre rely on harvested rainwater from the roof.
-Inside the new portion of the building, low-flow fixtures provide a 40% reduction in potable water use and an onsite bio-filter treatment system ensures effluent leaving the building is as clean as possible.
-A ventilation heat recovery system controlled by CO2 sensors ensures that adequate ventilation is being provided at all times.
I hope to see you all making some environmentally-conscious decisions in the future. We have to do everything we can to preserve this beautiful planet!