Learn more about Project Neutral and Reep

Project Neutral is known for its community-focused, carbon benchmarking and climate action tool. Project Neutral allows anyone to find out their carbon footprint in 5 minutes, based on real local data.

Diving into Waste 101

Date: | Thursday, December 13

Time | 5:30pm – 7:00pm

 

Note: This is an interactive event and you will need a phone/tablet/computer to participate!

Alicia Parkin, Customer Engagement and Outreach Coordinator, Reep Green Solutions

 

Alicia is passionate about teaching people how to find their carbon footprint, and what their next steps are for living a sustainable life. She is the In-Home Services & Customer Engagement Coordinator at Reep Green Solutions. One of her lead roles at Reep is to help launch the Project Neutral tool into the Waterloo Region and find like-minded community members to help connect others with this tool. Alicia has a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton University in Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science.

 

Transportation

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail. It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Parking

You are welcome to use Schneider Ave or David Street parking. The Victoria Park Pavilion parking lot is also free to use and only a few minutes walk to the Reep House. Please do not park at the Schneider Haus or Mitchell St lots (click to enlarge map)

It all started when my husband borrowed a portable induction cooker to try out in our kitchen. I admit, the explanation of how it works seemed more like voodoo magic to me than science, and I was skeptical about its ability to make much of a dent in our energy usage. But only a few months later, we had replaced our coil cooktop with an induction cooktop and I am never going back. Which leads me to my list of the reasons why induction is better than anything else out there:

  1. Induction uses significantly less energy to heat your food.

Induction cookers use an electromagnet to induce a small current and magnetic flux in the pot causing it to heat up1,2. The pot then transfers the heat to the food. With coil cooktops, the coil acts a resistor, heating up as electricity passes through it. The coil then heats the pot, which heats the food. With ceramic cooktops, the coil sits below a ceramic surface. The coil radiates heat through the ceramic and into the pot, which heats the food. Induction is more direct and therefore less energy is wasted. My son, as part of a science fair experiment, made some energy measurements that suggest that induction is 20-30% more energy efficient than coil or ceramic cooktops.

  1. Induction heats things faster.

Much faster. In his experiment, my son also tested the time it took to boil IL of water at the highest power settings on several cooktops. The ceramic cooktop came in at 9 minutes, the coil cooktop at 6.5 minutes and the induction cooktop at an astonishing 3 minutes. I am all for faster cooking times!

  1. The pot heats up or cools down immediately.

It is very similar to the effect of turning up or down the gas on a gas stove. However, induction does not produce the carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other indoor air pollutants that are produced from gas stoves. Nor are there open flames to worry about.

  1. You will never need a double broiler again.

You can melt your chocolate directly in a pot without worrying about it scorching or going grainy. The ultra-low settings are also useful for keeping food warm.

  1. Induction cooktops are very easy to clean, with a smooth glassy surface similar to those of ceramic cooktops.

Furthermore, they never get as hot as the ceramic cooktops so you can wipe the surface right after your pasta has boiled over. And your pasta will probably boil over because induction heats things faster than you expect (see #2 above)!

By now you are probably wondering: Why everyone isn’t using induction cooktops? The big drawback is the price. Induction cooktops are more expensive than other options, although the price is coming down. Also not all cookware works with induction. Only pots and pans with iron or stainless steel bases will work – if your fridge magnet sticks to the base of your pot, it is good to go. But with homes and restaurants in Asia and Europe jumping on the bandwagon, isn’t it time we thought about it too?

 

By: Heather McDiarmid

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_cooking accessed Dec 8, 2017.
  2. http://www.green-energy-efficient-homes.com/energy-saving-induction-cooking.html accessed Dec 8, 2017.
  3. Ian Praetzel, personal communications.
  4. Nicole W. 2014. Cooking up indoor air pollution: emissions from natural gas stoves. Environ Health Perspect 122:A27; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.122-A27

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Home Energy COACH

Before you know it the snow will be falling. Is your home ready for the harsh winter to come? Learn about your options for renovation to make your home more comfortable this winter. There is still time before the snow flies to take care of items that can make your rooms more cozy – get some ideas of what works and what the most cost-effective methods for your home are.

Agenda

Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
Q&A: 2:15 p.m.
Reep Open House: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Home Energy Coach

Presenter: Phillip Drader, Registered Energy Advisor

Philip Drader is Reep’s Energy Coach and has conducted workshops for homeowners on a wide range of topics to help them make their home more energy efficient, and steering them towards good products and companies.

 

Registration

Transportation

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail. It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

You are welcome to use Schneider Ave or David Street parking. The Victoria Park Pavilion parking lot is also free to use and only a few minutes walk to the Reep House. Please do not park at the Schneider Haus or Mitchell St lots (click to enlarge map)

When considering energy solutions for your home, solar power is a popular option that is practical and requires very little space to operate in comparison to other forms of energy production. Solar panels emit no greenhouse gases, making them a great option when considering the influence that your actions, and energy use at home, have on your local and global environment.

A major concern that many homeowners have when it comes to Solar Power is the cost. Although initially expensive, the cost for solar panels have significantly reduces of the past few years. For example, in the last 10 years the average cost of a solar panel has fallen by 60%. This decrease in cost has made solar power a viable option and, over time, cheaper than retail electricity for most people.

Solar systems are also known for their ease of use, requiring little maintenance because they are stationary, making them easy to take care of. The most significant maintenance of solar panels are monthly inspections and cleaning them of any dust or debris.

Solar panels also have positive effects on the quality of your roof. Installing a solar panel system on your roof can increase the lifespan of your roof by decreasing the snow and hail that falls on the shingles, as well as reducing the impact that ultraviolet radiation has on your roof. Another beneficial aspect is that solar panels can cool your home during the summer, reducing the amount of energy used on cooling in the hotter months.

Keep in Mind

Current solar panel systems have lifespans of about 40 – 50 years, allowing for longtime use. When considering installing solar panels on your roof it is important to consult a roofing contractor on the current lifespan of the shingles on your roof. Replacement of roofing while a solar panel system is on your roof adds additional expenses.

Most residential roofs can handle the weight of solar panels, however roof strength is an important factor to consider when installing solar panels. Depending on your roof’s age, angle, and other factors, it may not be able to handle the extra constant weight that solar panels would impose. In this case, roofs are often reinforced to handle the extra weight.

Depending on the type of solar system chosen, space will also need to be used for the batteries, Inverter, Charge Regulator, and other components associated with your solar system. Depending on the set up of your home, the basement or garage are the most common places to house these components.

Solar Panels are a source of renewable energy that have been of growing popularity, especially for homeowners. There are many different options for having clean energy at the household level!

Who Can Help You?

Find out more about the benefits of installing Solar Panels in your home and what system works best for your needs and budget. We have another post on Solar Panels that discusses installation and other factors in lesson 11 of our informal course ‘Home Energy 101’

To help you get started, we provide a list of businesses, organizations and services that work with renewable energy. Rather than recommending any of them, we suggest you research them and get written quotes.

 

Written By: Andrew Jackson

Edited By: Christine Tan

COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Learn how to make the best window choices for your home!

Join us as our Home Energy Coach, Philip Drader, shares how the right window choices can contribute to a more comfortable and energy efficient home!

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right windows for your home. From selecting low-e coatings, glazing layers, and spacer types to picking the type of window (slider, casement, or fixed), colour, divided lites, privacy options, opener mechanisms, and other design decisions like opting for a full frame window replacement (or not) – window renovations can make your head spin!

Luckily, we’re here to help! Come out to this workshop on window materials and installation tips to ensure you make better-informed choices when you go look for replacements.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Q&A: 2:15 p.m.
  • Reep Open House: 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

Photo credit: Soikkoratamo Geranium via photopin (license)

REEP House Series

The REEP HOUSE Series is a monthly series of events that showcases the technology and displays at the REEP House for Sustainable Living and explores other ideas and options for living sustainably.

A Reep House Christmas

Sorry! We’ve decided to cancel this event. Brendan Schaefer will share his great tips on efficiently using water and energy over the holidays in a blog post instead.

green christmas lights

COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Put a hat on your house

As our Home Energy Coach, Philip Drader, likes to say: “Insulating your attic is like wearing a hat in the winter.”

Philip will share how your attic can contribute to a comfortable home. We’ll cover a number of considerations related to insulating an attic, such as preparing your attic and your options for insulation. We’ll share information to help you take next steps whether you are thinking of finishing your attic into a living space, using it as a storage space, if you just want to see how it could help make your home more comfortable. Join us to learn how to put a cozy hat on your home this winter!

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Q&A: 2:00p.m.
  • Open House 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Advance registration is appreciated.

Stay to explore the REEP House for Sustainable Living. Or come to check out the house’s environmental features.

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen S.

Sustainable Speaker Series and Open House

Tips on insulating your attic

Home Energy Coach - Philip DraderAs our Home Energy Coach, Philip Drader, likes to say. “Insulating your attic is like wearing a hat in the winter.”

In this presentation, Philip shares how your attic can contribute to a comfortable home. We’ll cover a number of considerations related to insulating an attic such as preparing your attic and your options for insulation. We’ll share information to help you take next steps whether you are thinking of finishing your attic into a living space, you use it as a storage space or you just want to see how it could help make your home more comfortable.

PRESENTED BY

Philip Drader, Home Energy Coach

AGENDA
  • Presentation starts: 1:30 p.m.
  • Q & A: 2 p.m.
OPEN HOUSE:  2:15 – 3:30 P.M.

Stay to explore the REEP House for Sustainable Living. Or come to check out the house’s environmental features.

TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING

If REEP House for Sustainable Living is a short walk from your home that is the best way to get there.

We have a bike rack in front of the house for several bicycles. Since the house is very close to the Iron Horse Trail that may be a good choice.

Several GRT bus routes use Queen Street and have stops near Mill Street.

If you are driving, we encourage you to car pool with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking in the Joseph Schneider Haus lot off Queen Street. Please pay attention to the staff parking signs.

You can also use a small parking lot off Mitchell Street. Just walk across the grass to the back of the house or use the sidewalk on Queen to enter the front of the house.

Sustainable Living Speaker Series

HomeEnergyCoach-PhilDrader-smAs part of our Sustainable Living Speaker Series, our Home Energy Coach, Philip Drader, shares how home energy efficiency can contribute to a comfortable home and saving money by reducing wasted energy.

Planning your basement renovation

We’ll cover a number of design items relating to finishing a basement: from heating vents, to wiring, insulation, new flooring, studs, and lighting efficiency.

Afternoon Agenda

  • Presentation starts: 1:30 p.m.
  • Q & A: 2 p.m.
Open House: 2:15 to 3:30 pmStay to explore the REEP House for Sustainable Living. Or come to check out the house’s environmental features.

We’re also offering a morning session at 10 a.m.

 

TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING

If REEP House for Sustainable Living is a short walk from your home that is the best way to get there.

We have a bike rack in front of the house for several bicycles. Since the house is very close to the Iron Horse Trail that may be a good choice.

Several GRT bus routes use Queen Street and have stops near Mill Street.

If you are driving, we encourage you to car pool with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking a lot off Mitchell Street. Just walk across the grass to the back of the house or use the sidewalk on Queen to enter the front of the house.

Avoid parking in staff spaces in the Joseph Schneider Haus parking lot or you will get a ticket.

 

This is Lesson 10 of our informal online course: Home Energy 101All lessons by Philip Drader, Home Energy Coach.

Our focus in this post is on how we use electricity to see and in our labour saving appliances.

As a kid I was often afraid of things in the dark that I couldn’t see. Now that I’m an adult, I’m afraid of the electrical bill instead.

Lighting efficiency: an easy upgrade

Residential energy use in Canada by activity, 2010

Source: Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990-2010, Natural Resources Canada.

Well, I’m just joking, but it’s not that far from the truth. I have LED (light emitting diodes) lights and CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent lights) installed in my house. And I know that they use 1/10th to 1/5th the power of incandescent lights while having the same light output.

And while lights aren’t a huge piece of the energy pie  at 4%, they are still a significant contributor and easy to do something about.

Replace light bulbs with LEDs

LEDs have been dropping in price year after year and are an investment that most people should be making. If you don’t want to change every bulb in your house immediately, that’s not a problem. Just buy a pack of LEDs and replace bulbs as they burn out with new energy efficient ones. This way you’ll naturally tend to get the bulbs that are used the most replaced with something that will get you the same amount of light, while costing ten times less for electricity.

Upgrade old appliances for Energy Star models

washing machine at REEP HouseUpgrading appliances can be more challenging due to the money required to make a change.

It’s fairly safe to say that if it’s older than 20 years old, replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR appliance is a good choice. It’s tougher to make the call when it’s between 10 and 20 years old but still working just fine. There is no hard and fast rule there, though you can look up its energy consumption online and see how much money you’ll save each year if you bought a new one. Here’s a chart that helps you determine how much it costs for the electricity they use.

On the other hand, you might be thinking that each year you delay means you can get a more energy efficient appliance than what may have been available just a year before. But that is a false argument if we’re talking about a 20 year old fridge because the annual improvement is not enough to justify waiting. Replace that old fridge now! But, don’t put your stove to the curb over this since there is not much to gain in energy efficiency when it comes to heating food. This technology simply hasn’t changed much.

Consider a home energy monitor

Often times we are unaware of the power that is used to keep us comfortable. A whole-house energy monitor is an excellent device that you can install that will show you how much energy you are currently using. Place the monitor in a convenient location so that you can be aware of how much energy your house is using on your behalf. You’ll become knowledgeable enough to know when something is still on that doesn’t need to be.

We love our air conditioning too much

The electrical load from air conditioning is fairly low overall, but collectively our energy use from air conditioning is increasing. To save on air conditioning, going to a higher efficiency unit is probably not going to provide enough of a payback to justify that upgrade. But if you are going to replace your air conditioning unit anyhow, you definitely want to select a high efficiency model.

There are things you can do, behaviour-wise that can make a big impact on your use of air conditioning. First, don’t run it when you are not home– set your thermostat to a higher temperature if you aren’t there. Second, turn it off and open the upstairs windows when it’s cool at nighttime to pre-cool your home. Ideally you’ll have windows on opposite sides of the house open so you can benefit from cross-ventilation, or if you have multiple levels, opening a window one or two floors up can provide a very nice airflow boost thanks to the buoyancy of hot air. If you are looking for a new slow cooker then check out who makes the best slow cooker.

If you have a ceiling fan, you will feel cooler when it’s running. But since it just moves air around, and doesn’t actually cool the house, turn it off when you aren’t in the room.

Things you can do to feel more comfortable when it’s hot in your home

  1. Wear less clothing, and light, free flowing fabrics that wick moisture are lovely – take those socks off.
  2. Move air around – open windows (if you don’t have the A/C on), or run fans to blow air over your skin.
  3. Don’t use incandescent lights, and turn lights off when possible.
  4. Try to cook less by eating more cold meals. If you are going to use the stove, use the rear burners and have your range hood fan on to move that heat out right away. Use the microwave more than the oven if possible.
  5. Shower with colder water, and make sure that the bathroom exhaust fan is on so you don’t end up steaming up the rest of the house when you get out.
  6. Make sure your dryer exhaust pipe is well sealed and no hot and humid air is escaping into your home.
  7. Exterior blinds for windows should be lowered if you have them, or internal shades drawn – preferably before you already have heat inside the house.

LEARN MORE

photo credit: Just looking via photopin (license)


Upcoming Events

  1. Reducing your Carbon Footprint 101: Project Neutral Series

    December 13 | 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Twitter

© Copyright REEP Green Solutions. All rights reserved.