On April 22nd, Terra View Homes will celebrate Earth Day with the rest of the world. This year’s theme is climate action, where we recognize the enormous challenges we face, but also the countless opportunities for us in the fight against climate change.
As pioneers in green building, it is our responsibility to practice environmentally-conscious building to lessen our impact on the environment and greatly diminish our homeowners’ carbon footprint. In the past year, Terra View Homes has begun construction on Guelph’s first Net-Zero Ready community, introduced plans for Canada’s first carbon-neutral condominium, and is set to break ground this summer on Guelph’s most energy-efficient community to date. We see our green building practices as our own modern, environmental movement, and we are not slowing down!
For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we’re sharing some top tips for keeping a green and healthy home. This blog is full of small changes you can make in your home that will have a big impact on the environment.
Spots You May Miss While Cleaning
Lately, we have all been taking extra care with washing our hands and disinfecting our phones – but we can’t forget about the corners of our home we often neglect when cleaning. When you start spring cleaning this year, don’t forget to clean these spots that are often overlooked:
- Door Frames/ Knobs
- Shower Curtains
- Light Fixtures
- Air Ducts
Consider going solar! It is the ultimate sustainable action as a steward of the environment. By going solar, you’ll be reducing air pollution, your water usage and your dependence on nonrenewable energy sources. From reducing our CO2 emissions and emitting less pollutants in the air, solar panels can also significantly help slow down the effects of climate change.
At Terra View Homes, we are committed to making a significant movement towards the use of solar energy. As a clean, inexpensive and renewable power source, solar panels offer a great home efficiency upgrade and reduce your household’s carbon footprint while also improving property value.
Solar Module Systems & Household Benefits:
- Reduce or eliminate hydro bills
- Reduce impacts of utility inflation
- Step towards energy independence
- Increased property value**
- Environmental protection
- Zero contracts with utility provider
Use Natural Surface Cleaners
Part of keeping a healthy home can include using safe, natural surface cleaners that are free of chemicals and other harmful ingredients. Many cleaning products can bring toxic chemicals into your home that can build up into the air. “Spray cleaners and disinfecting wipes, contain asthmagens—chemicals that can either worsen asthma or cause asthma in someone who never previously had it.” – Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG shared their favourite natural cleaners here.
If you have the ingredients at home, you can also easily make your own!
Vinegar Surface Cleaner
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 lemon juiced (optional)
- 15 drops lavender essential oil or peppermint, orange, or lemon
Pour all the ingredients into a 16oz. spray bottle (use a funnel, if needed). Gently shake the cleaner. This cleaner will need to be stored in the fridge between uses due to the fresh lemon juice.
To use, gently shake the spray bottle before spraying the cleaner on the desired surface. Spray the cleaner and wipe off the surface with a damp cloth! Do NOT use the vinegar cleaner on marble or granite.
Via Live Simply
Fresh Air Is The Best Air
Spring has finally sprung! Spring will bring warmer weather, but don’t turn on your air conditioning units just yet. After your home has been sealed all winter, open your windows and let the fresh air pour in! You’ll save a bundle on your bills, help limit pollution and improve the indoor air quality of your home!
Choose No or Low VOC Paints and Materials
Before starting any reno projects around the house, make sure you’re using No or Low VOC paints, surfaces or materials! VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are carbon-containing compounds that vaporize easily and pollute the air. Homeowners that are breathing in this polluted air can develop headaches, breathing problems, nausea, asthma and even cancer. To protect your family from breathing in this allergy-causing toxin, homeowners should ensure they’re using No or Low- VOC paints or materials while building or renovating. You’ll be benefiting your family’s health and helping to reduce the concentration of contaminants that VOC paints release into the ozone layer, the groundwater and our landfills.
Did you know that Net Zero Homes are constructed entirely with Low VOC wall paints, dry walls, materials, surfaces and finishes?
Reduce Phantom Power
Whenever your electronic device or appliance is plugged into the wall, it is using power. This is called phantom or standby power, and it can account for 10% of an average household’s annual electricity use. To prevent this unnecessary usage of power, make sure to unplug your electronics and appliances when you’re not using them. Tip: To help stop the draw of phantom power, use power bars! They’ll allow you to turn off multiple appliances or devices with a single switch.
Be Smart with Your Light Usage
This Earth Day, check around your house and replace any old iridescent lights with CFL bulbs or LEDs. These energy-saving bulbs are known to last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb and use about 75% less energy. You can also make the effort to always turn off the lights when no one is in the room, or when natural sunlight is enough! Instead of using overhead room lights, use table or desk lamps when possible. These small adjustments will save you money and will benefit the environment. It’s a win-win!
Compost, Compost, Compost!
Composting is one of the most effective ways to minimize the amount of garbage your family sends to the landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 30% of garbage is food scraps and yard waste. By composting, you’ll be reducing the amount of methane gas emissions and the odour your trash gives off. One of the biggest advantages of composting is being left with a rich fertilizer to use in your own garden!
Conserve Your Water Usage
Did you know that on average, about two gallons of water flow from a faucet each minute? Here are some tips to conserve your water usage each day:
- Don’t run the water while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Use water-saving shower heads
- Take shorter showers
- Install tap aerators on your faucets! They’ll control the amount of water that flows through the tap without affecting the water pressure.
- Don’t wash or pre-rinse your dishes under running water. Instead, fill the sink with water and then do them.
With these green tips, you can make a positive shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle that stems right from your home! At Terra View Homes, we celebrate Earth-Day year-round and look forward to expanding our green communities to drive us closer towards our goal of reducing Canada’s residential carbon footprint. Take a virtual tour through some of our beautiful, custom homes today!