While researching ways to reduce our workplace emissions, we started to ponder the question of carbon credits. For those new to the topic, these can be seen as a kind of environmental currency used to offset greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry, governments, transportation systems, etc. For example: if our office doesn’t manage to reduce our footprint to net zero through site or operational changes, we have the option to purchase carbon credits – say, by donating to a group that plants trees. Our investment serves to offset the emissions that remain on our balance sheet. That’s a highly simplified explanation, but you get the idea. [Read more…]
WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE: Reflections on House and Home
As our car advances into old age, I find myself pondering the question of how to drive more sustainably. Ours is by no means the worst gas-guzzler on the road, but I would be happier with better mileage. Driving to client meetings and site visits will be a necessity into the foreseeable future, no doubt about it. So in terms of my carbon footprint as a driver, what makes the most sense? Do I keep and drive our aging (1999 model), 6-cylinder vehicle into the ground? Replace it with a newer, more fuel-efficient model? And if we take the latter course, should we opt for an electric car? A hybrid? I went online in search of guidance. [Read more…]
I’m back from a weeklong driving trip to visit clients and family, and it’s made me think about the meaning and costs of travel. There’s been a radical change in how I do things in the last few years. Back in 2010, Tanis and I took a hard look at our lifestyle choices — housing, food, travel, work — and how they affected our carbon impact. We wanted to figure out the biggest and most immediate ways to make a change for the better. [Read more…]
For a few months now, we’ve been chronicling our efforts to ‘green’ the office with the goal of achieving net-zero energy consumption. One of our first big items was the switch to LED lights, since lighting accounts for 30% of total energy use in the typical office building. Now it was time to look at the cost of staying comfortable. [Read more…]
As the poet wrote, “The world is too much with us” lately. It’s easy to feel despair in the face of social upheaval, natural catastrophe, and economic hardship. Many of us struggle to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but need an infusion of optimism in these troubled times. [Read more…]
It was a shock when most of eastern Vancouver Island entered Level 4 drought conditions in the very first week of summer. This was unprecedented in BC. In Courtenay and Comox, Stage One watering restrictions had already been put into effect a month before,. The Sandwick Waterworks District in north Courtenay had moved quickly to Stage Three. It’s a certainty that the watering restrictions will remain in place through September.
Unfortunately, restrictions have a limited impact on consumption habits. [Read more…]