Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year, New Contacts

I have a new email and new cell number! You can reach me at roger[at]rogersenecalhomes.ca. Drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you. All the best to you and yours for 2013!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Seasons Greetings!

To think that predictions earlier in December were calling for a green Christmas! As we dig out from our second storm in less than a week, I want to pass on seasons greetings and best wishes for 2013! Stay warm, safe and dry, and enjoy all this fresh powder! 


I'm sharing a photo of our new kitten, Aroara! 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Green Christmas

According the Nature Canada, buying a real tree from a local farmer is the most ecologically sensible choice. My family was out this morning to a local tree farm in North Gower, cutting down a beautiful spruce tree for our living room. You can read more about green choices in the Christmas season and other tips here




Sunday, 25 November 2012

Green and clean!

It's always great to be reminded of non-toxic cleaning options for home or work. These make sense not just from an environmental perspective but human health, particularly children, is an important consideration. Here's a recent article on green cleaning DIY options from the Ottawa Citizen



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Building awards and green trends

October was a busy month for Ottawa eco activities! I plan to post soon on the green home reno tour organized by the Envirocentre.  Meanwhile, I wanted to share this article from the Ottawa Citizen on the recent housing awards and some of the trends and challenges in green building in Ottawa. The article notes that homes have already seen massive efficiency increases even without being labelled "green". A new R-2000 home uses about 90-per-cent less energy than a standard home built in the 1970s. 




Thursday, 25 October 2012

Guest Blog Post: Green Living Ottawa

I'm a guest blogger on Green Living Ottawa, sharing some information about Saturday's Green Home Reno Tour.  Here's the link to the post! 

Green Living Ottawa

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Silent Auction - Green Home Reno Tour Tickets!

I've donated two tickets for Saturday's Green Home Reno Tour (see my previous post) to the silent auction at tomorrow night's Ecology Action Eco Gala. If you are interested in the tour and haven't bought tickets, there will be a chance to bid on a pair tomorrow evening! 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Green Home Reno Tour

I'll be taking part in the Green Home Reno Tour next Saturday October 27th. 

Here's some information from the organizers - Envirocentre:

As part of Building Greener Futures Together, EnviroCentre is conducting the Green Home Reno Tour to showcase several older homes where targeted renovations have resulted in improved comfort and huge savings, as assisted and measured by EnviroCentre’s residential energy assessment programs.

This all-day event is the result of collaboration with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, and Tucker House, where we will enjoy a delicious afternoon meal while meeting prominent local green renovators and other businesses, displaying and discussing their sustainable work and wares.

Our tour is for people who are:
  • planning renovations,
  • considering buying an older house,
  • looking for ways to increase the resale value of their home,
  • curious about the real effects of these mostly invisible upgrades,
  • contractors involved in, or considering, sustainable renovation practices, or
  • happy to enjoy a fall bus tour to noteworthy houses that includes a tasty local meal!
Here's the link to register. Hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Upcoming Ecology Ottawa Eco Gala

I will be at next Wednesday's Ecology Ottawa Eco Gala. It's our third year in a row attending the annual fundraising evening. This year's event will have a green business and green building focus. I hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Municipal Energy Retrofitting


I'm sharing an interesting update from Ecology Ottawa on municipal energy efficiency retrofits:

The City of Ottawa recently committed to conducting a feasibility study on municipal financing of energy efficiency retrofits.The concept is not new and we have been calling on the city to look into for some time. The David Suzuki Foundation and others have produced compelling reports on the idea and it is being implemented in other Canadian, North American and European jurisdictions. If we are to effectively work to prevent runaway climate change, we must improve the built environment and become much less wasteful in how we use electricity and energy in our homes and businesses. 

The city has determined that buildings (and how we heat and electrify them) are responsible for nearly 60% of the Ottawa community's greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Recently the city of Toronto committed itself to a report (due to be tabled by October) on a pilot project that would bring municipal financing of energy efficiency retrofits to various areas of that city. Here in Ottawa, the feasibility study is expected to be completed sometime in 2013.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Trees and Native Plants in Ottawa

I hope that you had a relaxing thanksgiving weekend and were able to spend some time enjoying the out of doors. The leaves are beautiful this year and just about to reach their peak. If you are interested in learning more about the trees of the Ottawa area, Dave Brown has a useful a Tree 101 article in The Ottawa Citizen. My family enjoyed a walk in the Arboretum yesterday, it's a great destination for being exposed to a huge diversity of tree species. You can also learn more about native plants at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, just a short walk up the hill from the Arboretum. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Coming soon: Bi-weekly garbage pickup

Beginning Oct. 29, city crews will only collect curbside residential garbage every two weeks, while green bin compost garbage collection will continue to be weekly. Part of the onus being the change is to divert waste from landfill and encourage houshold composting and recycling. In 2011 the city diverted about 44 per cent of household waste from landfills through recycling and other waste-diversion programs.

The city has launched Recollect, an on-line tool to help find out what is being collected on the next pick-up date. You can also sign up to receive reminders by email, by phone or through Twitter, download electronic calendar files (iCal, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, download and print a PDF of the calendar or request that a calendar be sent to you by mail.


Saturday, 8 September 2012

New Green Roof on the Ottawa Courthouse

I'm sharing some green roof news from downtown Ottawa!  A new green roof has been installed at the Ottawa Courthouse. There are 26 separate green roofs spanning multiple elevations, for a total of 70,000 square feet of green space. The Ottawa Courthouse's green roof supports 60 varieties of plants and protects the building's structure from inclement weather.

It has the potential to reduce energy costs and improve air quality. A conventional roof lasts only 20 to 25 years, while green roofs last at least twice as long. The new green roof will save $23,000 a year in energy costs by reducing summer cooling and winter heat loss by 26 per cent.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back to School Green Tips

It's the day after Labour Day, and that means back to school for many children (and parents!) in Ottawa. The Ottawa Citizen had a recent article with some back to school green living tips to consider! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Westboro Farmers Market

Just a quick note if you hadn't heard the news, there is now a Farmers Market open in Westboro! The market is being held in the green space of Byron Linear Park bordered by Richmond Road, Byron, Broadview and Golden avenues, and will be open on Saturdays from 9:30 to 3:00 until the end of October. It's great to have another opportunity in Ottawa to support local food production, and the location is easily accessible for pedestrians and bikes!  There's some more information in this news article

Monday, 27 August 2012

Solar Power Update - Ontario's Program Rules Announced

I posted earlier in the summer on our experience with home solar power. This week we celebrate one year of home solar power production! 

The Ontario Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program review has been completed and the new program rules are now available. Since the program was created in 2009, more than 4,700 megawatts of renewable energy capacity have been contracted to be built. To learn more, click on the Ontario Power Authority - Feed-in-Tariff Program webpage. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Summer Energy Savings at Home and Work


It's been one of the hottest summers in Ottawa in recent memory, but fortunately there are many small actions we can take to help save energy and money, and reduce our personal and home impact on the environment. 

If you work in an office environment, there are many things you can do to help conserve energy. Try:
  • shutting off lights, computers and office equipment when not in use;
  • reducing or avoiding large photocopying and print jobs;
  • keeping outside doors closed as much as possible to keep cool air inside;
  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator;
  • closing the blinds in your workspace when your windows receive direct sunlight.

At home, you can energy by following these tips:
  • turn up your air conditioning a few degrees (24° - 25°C) to cool people, not the house; 
  • make sure you turn your A/C up or off when you leave your house;
  • turn off all lights when you leave the room, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. Lights produce a lot of heat which works against the AC;
  • install dimmer switches;
  • set your refrigerator’s temperature only as cold as you need (check your manufacturer’s guidelines);
  • use smaller appliances for cooking whenever you can e.g. use your toaster oven or microwave instead of your oven;
  • run appliances such as dishwashers after peak hours and only when full;
  • prepare cold dinners such as salads on hot days;
  • use fans in the summer to help cool your home.  Make sure that they blow downwards.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Water quality app for Ottawa's swimming spots

In these hot summer days, many of us think about cooling down at local spots. The latest issue of my neighbourhood paper, the Kitchissippi Times, shares information on a new app for up-to-date information on water quality at popular swimming spots. The Ottawa Riverkeeper's Swim Guide can be used by smartphones or tablets to check water quality at Ottawa's beaches. The information is the same as what you can find on the City of Ottawa's Daily Water Quality Results and will tell you whether the city has posted a no-swim advisory because bacteria levels are high. The swim guide is on-line at theswimguide.org where you can download the app at no cost.

Friday, 27 July 2012

OREC Information Session


In my last post, I shared information on the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC). If you are interested in learning more about OREC, an information session is taking place on Tuesday, July 31st at 7pm at the Hub Ottawa, 71 Bank St., 6th floor. To contact the co-op, email ottawacommunityenergy@gmail.com.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op


Some information from Ecology Ottawa on an interesting opportunity in Ottawa to invest in renewable energy:

Have you been wanting to get involved in solar power but don’t have a sunny roof? Want to shift your long term investments into local, green investment options? You can do just that through the  Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC).



The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative’s first share offering is open until August 27th. Residents of Ottawa can become members on the OREC website by purchasing a one time $100 membership share. Then, members may invest in the solar rooftop projects by purchasing preference shares. Preference shares are for 20 years, paying out dividends of approximately 5% annually plus a return of capital starting in year 5. Preference shares are $500, and a minimum of 10 may be purchased by one member. 
 


OREC is part of growing worldwide trend, of community owned energy generation. Denmark & Germany learned long ago that electricity generation offers a stable revenue stream well suited to ‘pension type’ investments. Ontario is now following suite with the Feed-in-Tariff program and the promotion of Renewable Energy Cooperatives. OREC is one of the first Ontario Co-ops offering equity investment opportunities.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

nuit noire

Cube Gallery on Wellington is hosting nuit noire, a group show dedicated to the beauty and majesty of the night sky, from July 3rd to July 29th. Tonight's opening event is a Screening of "The City Dark",  new documentary about light pollution that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Telescopes will be available for viewing in front of Cube Gallery during the event. It's happening tonight and it's the full moon - Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30 pm.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. I've been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2006, one of only a handful of real estate agents in North America with the designation.  Here's an Ottawa Citizen Blog post sharing some recent developments with LEED for Homes in Canada and the US:
LEED Gathers Steam

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Interactive Map for Access to Environmental Information


Looking for information on local environmental indicators? Environment Canada has updated their interactive map. You can search for information about environmental indicators in your area. You can find out more about greenhouse gas emissions, air and water quality, and protected areas. Indicators are also available for viewing in Google EarthTM.  The interactive map is available as part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Guest Post: Green Living Ottawa

My recent solar update is a guest blog posting on Green Living Ottawa.  I'll be at today's second annual Ottawa Solar Fair - hope to see you there! There's also an opportunity to get a map of solar installations around the city - I'll be answering questions at home this afternoon for those interested in stopping by once the fair wraps up. Here's a photo from the SLOWest solar tour in May. We were the first stop on the tour - there were over 30 participants!



Friday, 15 June 2012

Solar Power Considerations


As mentioned in a previous post, last summer we had solar panels installed on the roof of our central Ottawa home.  At the end of August, we became small-scale energy producers, selling power back to the grid under Ontario’s Microfit program.  Our photovoltaic system (solar electric) consists of 20 panels (called an array), and a grid-tie inverter, which converts the panels DC power to the grid’s AC power.  Our system is a 4.8 KW system, that should produce about $4500 income this year. Now on a sunny day, my 5 year old daughter asks “how much energy did we produce?”

Why would you consider Solar Power?

Be Part of the Solution. Photovoltaics are an important part of a portfolio of renewable energy options in Ottawa. Solar panels produce power when it’s most needed during the day when demand peaks, and where it is needed reducing transmission and distribution losses.  Solar doesn’t have the huge infrastructure costs and environmental footprint of conventional energy projects. It also leverages private equity instead of public money to increase generation capacity.

Ontario has a World Class Solar Program. Ontario’s Microfit program offers producers a 20 year contract to at a fixed rate purchase price per kilowatt hour. While the rate was recently reduced to reflect and further encourage efficiencies in the supply of new systems, the program still makes solar power attractive.

Ottawa has great solar potential and limited wind. If you want to make a proactive move in small-scale renewable energy, solar is a smart choice if you’re living in Ottawa.

If you are thinking about a solar power installation in Ottawa, here are some considerations to think about.

Do you have a roof with solar exposure? Ideally you would have near southern exposure to maximize solar potential.  The orientation of streets in Ottawa are slightly angled so it is likely you won’t have perfect southern exposure but 15 degrees East or West is still great.

Are you going to have solar exposure for the next 20 years? Under the microfit program, you sign a contract with the Ontario Power Authority for 20 years. It’s worth checking to see if there are development changes around you that could impact your sun exposure.

Can you connect to the energy grid to sell power where you are? Through the Microfit application process, Hydro Ottawa can confirm whether the grid near your home would support a solar installation.

How old is your roof? Arrays can be moved, but it is best to put an array on a roof that is new, and the lifetime of the roof meets or exceeds the lifetime of the contract or longer.

How will you finance the solar project? Ontario’s Microfit program offers a subsidized rate you will be paid per kilowatt hour, so solar power can be an income generating project. The upfront cost of the panels and installation can be costly, and is often the biggest consideration for people considering solar. The payback period varies on the size of the project – generally the larger the array, the more energy produced, and the shorter the payback period.

Learning more about solar Power in Ottawa.
This weekend in Ottawa there’s a great opportunity to learn more about solar polar! The Second Annual Ottawa Solar Power Fair will be held on June 16th at the Ottawa City Hall.  The fair begins at 9am and will run till noon. Attendance is free! There will also be a map available for those interested in touring solar installations around the city. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Ottawa Energy Retrofit Results in Big Savings

A recent post on Environmental and Energy Management News has highlighted a successful energy reduction project by Ottawa's OC Transpo. An LED light energy retrofit resulted in a lighting cost reduction of 43 percent at its St. Laurent garage. The project focused on replacing inefficient light fixtures and adding sensors to turn off lighting when it's not needed. Energy Ottawa expects the retrofit to cut energy costs by more than $137,000 each year. Maintenance costs will also be reduced because the energy-efficient lamps last more than 75 percent longer than traditional lamps.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sustainable Homes Article

This month's Canadian Geographic is all about energy. One article explores sustainable home building and some interesting projects across Canada. I've pasted the link below to the online edition of the magazine if you're interested in reading more.

Canadian Geographic June 2012: High Performance Homes



Sunday, 27 May 2012

Ottawa Cycling Event - Capital Velofest!

Next weekend is Ottawa's  Capital Velofest. The festival is mission is to "inspire people of all ages to ride a bike more often".  In 2011, an estimated 1000 people attended the inaugural event.  In 2012, the festival has expanded to a full weekend event with bicycle demos, rodeos, "bike-in" movies, and an evening city bike ride. On Saturday, the festival is at Ottawa City Hall from 11 am to 11 pm.  On Sunday, the festival will be continue on a smaller scale in 2 neighbourhoods in Ottawa:  Ottawa East in Brantwood Park, and in Hintonburg in Hintonburg Park.




Monday, 21 May 2012

Rain Barrel Fundraiser!


I'm sharing some information on a rain barrel fundraiser from the Woodroffe Habitat for Humanity club! A friend of mine teaches at the school and is involved in the project. 

Why are rain-barrels awesome?
  • they are made of recycled materials ;
  • they capture rain and save on water bills;
  • they feed your plants rain water instead of chlorine and fluoride;
  • take better care of the environment AND sewer systems;
  • proceeds from the sale are going towards supporting quality housing for low-income families in Nicaragua~through Woodroffe High School’s Habitat build
Next March break, 11 Woodroffe High School students are planning on making a difference. Instead of a March break of sun, surf and sand, they are going to help a needy Nicaraguan family build a home and build hope for their future. Please consider supporting the fundraising efforts by purchasing a rain barrel.

Each 180 – 220 L (45 – 55 gallon) rain barrel comes fully equipped with a leaf and mosquito filter basket, an overflow adaptor that permits multiple barrels to be connected in series, 1.2m of overflow hose and a spigot that attaches directly to a garden hose.
The price is only $55. Pay online or order for cash upon delivery at http://rainbarrel.ca/woodroffe/ for delivery June 16th at Woodroffe High School!



Thursday, 17 May 2012

Gardening with Native Plants

The long weekend is almost here, and it looks like it's going to beautiful. It's the season when we are spending more time outside, and some of that time might be doing some gardening! If you are interested in plants native to the region, we have a great resource here in Ottawa. The Fletcher Wildlife Garden is located next to the Arboretum off Prince of Wales Drive. Here is some information from their website on why the project got started. 


"With habitat loss a major factor in the decline of many plant and animal species, our goal is to encourage as many people as possible to create or restore natural landscapes on their urban or rural property. Our Interpretive Centre disseminates information on conservation issues and regional natural history. Behind the centre is our Backyard Garden designed to show how anyone can transform their own garden into one that is wildlife friendly".


If you are interested in buying native plants for your garden, the Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant sale is coming up on Saturday June 2nd from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 



Thursday, 10 May 2012

Learn More about Solar Power in Ottawa


Last summer, we installed solar panels on the roof of our house. We've been producing electricity since August 29th, and are excited to see what production will look like as we head towards summer solstice on June 21st. 


This Saturday May 12th we are part of a bike tour of solar panels in the neighbourhood! SLOWest is promoting their new bike sharing project, and the advantages of solar panels. For more information you can check out the SLOWest solar panel bike tour link  Hope to see you there!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Urban Cycling in Ottawa

Did you know May is Bike to Work Month? Despite our winter weather, Ottawa leads the nation's large cities in bicycle commuting, but the percentage is not very high: 2% of employed people in Ottawa bike to work, followed by Vancouver (1.9%), Calgary (1.5%), Montreal (1.3%), Edmonton (1.2%) and Toronto (0.8%). Here's an interesting article with an interview with a Danish bicycle guru who is working on a biking strategy for the City of Vancouver. He offers his insights into how to promote urban cycling by normalizing it for city dwellers, which likely has some application here in Ottawa. 



Urban Dwellers Cycling Article (Globe and Mail)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

This Weekend: Open Houses

I'll be hosting an open house on both Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 pm at 68 Sherbrooke Avenue in Hintonburg. Looking forward to seeing you there! 

Monday, 23 April 2012

New Listing in Hintonburg!

In its April 2007 issue, enRoute magazine named Hintonburg one of the top ten emerging neighbourhoods in Canada. This beautiful property - walkable to shopping, parks and restaurants and easy biking distance to the downtown core -  could be just what your family is looking for!

68 Sherbrooke Avenue

Sunday, 22 April 2012

April 22 is Earth Day!

Every year, April 22nd is Earth Day. More than 6 million Canadians join 1 billion people in 180 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues. Nearly every child in school in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity.


You can check out the Earth Day webpage and see what activities are happening around the country. In Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of Nature is providing free general admission on Earth Day, where the whole family can learn about Canada's natural history through galleries and exhibits.



Friday, 20 April 2012

This Weekend in Ottawa: Eco Expo 2012

The two-day Eco Expo features more than 100 Ottawa businesses and non-profit organizations. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. sample vegan recipes, get tips on natural gardening and find out how to reduce stress through meditation and yoga.


There will also be a children’s fun zone with face painting, interactive workshops and a recycling depot in the parking lot for used cellphones and other electronic waste. 


The Eco Expo will be held at the RA Centre at 2451 Riverside Dr.  Admission is by donation with funds going to Habitat for Humanity, USC Canada and Prevent Cancer Now. For more information, go to ecoexpo.ca.





Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Best of Planet in Focus Environmental Film Fest at the Canadian Museum of Nature


Don't miss this excellent and thought-provoking selection of films about current environmental issues, chosen by a Canada-wide selection committee from the best of the 2011 Planet in Focus Environmental Film festival in Toronto. It’s a perfect outing to celebrate Earth Week!

Each night will feature a guest speaker. The final night – Saturday, April 21 – will celebrate the wrap-up of the festival with a party in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s RBC Blue Water Gallery. Festival-goers will be able to party with a blue whale, and enjoy music by a DJ, snacks, prizes, informal tours of the gallery with museum educators, cash bar, emcee and more. For the full schedule of movies and information about tickets, visit nature.ca/filmfest. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa. For information about the film festival, call 613-566-4791.



Welcome to my Blog: Green Real Estate in Ottawa


Green is not an end point, but a process. It means many things to people, whether it is energy efficiency, reduced operating costs, reduced environmental impacts, or living close to your work. When it comes to a home, green can include a number of considerations such as energy efficiency, sustainable materials, central location, and reduced environmental health impacts.

The benefits of green real estate properties include reducing greenhouse gases outputs and impacts, reducing the cost of operating and maintaining a home, and improving the comfort of a home and quality of life for yourselves and your children. In our increasingly connected world, our sustainability choices can reduce impacts on our neighbourhood, city and world.

Whatever green means to you, I will work with you to understand your green interests, and how they can best be integrated with your real estate goals. Whether you are buying or selling a home, it makes sense to think about sustainability.  Working with an agent that understands energy and sustainability will add value in your search and sale. You can find out more at my website: http://rogersenecalhomes.ca/