Download the Eco-Strata Guide

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

You can download the 32 page Eco-Strata Guide: a Green Guide for Existing Multi-Family Dwellings in Metro Vancouver here (3.8 MB PDF) and see the table of contents here.

The Eco-Strata Guide is a practical and easy-to-read guidebook that has been written for strata couecostratacoverncils, owners and renters seeking to reduce their ecological impacts, save money, improve indoor air quality and increase their quality of life.

It is strategically focused on existing multi-family dwellings such as apartments, townhouses and condos, as these buildings offer unique opportunities for advancing sustainability within the Metro Vancouver region, particularly as a result of economies of scale.

Powerful roofs around the corner!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

It really is exciting to learn that Dow Chemical Co. has developed a solar roof shingle designed to be woven into a roofing system that uses standard asphalt shingles.  Apparently, the easy-to-install shingle comprises a low-cost, thin-film photovoltaic cell that captures solar energy.

There is no doubt in my mind that our homes will soon be able to do far more for us than simply provide shelter; they will be called upon to collect rainwater and generate heat and electricity, and respond automatically to changes in occupancy levels and environmental conditions. The key for the buiding industry will be to take these innovations on board and incorporate them in to new and existing buildings in a way that will not require residents to change their behaviours dramatically or be techno geeks.

Selling and building with smart and green building products has been my priviledge over the years and while doing so I have often had cause to say ‘the future is bright’ when it comes to smart, green homes. The arrival on the market of a commercially viable roofing shingle that generates power certainly reinforces my belief that we are all in for some exciting and positive changes in the way we build and live in our homes.

Alastair Moore lives in Vancouver and is an environmental consultant and co-founder of GreenWorks Building Supply.

Careful who’s buttons you push!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

I recently noticed a seemingly healthy courier using the automatic door opener button – designed and installed to help handicapped people enter and exit buildings – to open the double doors that he wanted to pass through. I wondered how much electrical energy it took to open those doors, how much CO2 was released into the atmosphere as a result of producing that electrical power, and how many similar buttons this particular courier pressed during an average day. Then I wondered about the usage of this particular button and thought that it was possible that healthy people could be using the button more than handicapped people, those for whom the button was installed in the first place.

While pondering these questions I recalled hearing that if all electric front door bells were disconnected in Europe, somewhere around 1 or 2  large-scale power plants could be shutdown so I suspect that the impact of thousands of people needlessly using the automatic door opening system could likely consume a fair amount of energy and generate significant CO2 emissions.

I often hear people ask how they can help mitigate or slow climate change – a phenomena caused by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Perhaps a really easy action would be to resist the temptation to use the handicapped person’s door opening button and instead use the handle which was designed and installed with healthy people in mind.

Alastair Moore lives in Vancouver and is an environmental consultant and co-founder of GreenWorks Building Supply.

Letting our feet do the talking

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Last week I was asked to speak about green homes at a local housing forum. I thought it would be useful to put housing in context by showing a slide about the ecological footprint of people from different countries. I showed the footprint of a typical North American juxtaposed with the footprint of someone from Bangladesh. Needless to say, the North American’s footprint of 9.2 global hectares per capita looked positively gargantuan sitting next to Bangladesh’s ‘mini’ footprint of 0.6 global hectares per capita. I made a few comments about humanity’s ecological overshoot and pointed out that sadly the global average footprint is 2.7 global hectares per capita, while to be in balance with nature, this number should be 2.1 global hectares per capita. I ended this section of my talk by saying that we Canadians might want to look at homes that could reduce our footprint so that Bangladesh doesn’t need to subsidize our lifestyle so profoundly.
 
By the end of the day’s discussions and plenaries I realized that I hadn’t heard anything more about the ecological footprint which made me think my footprint diatribe had fallen on deaf ears. I was therefore very happy to hear the forum’s moderator remark in her wrap up comments that coincidentally her shoe size was ‘9′ just like her ecological footprint and that she would be going home to look at ways to fit into a size ‘2′ shoe! Since that day I have had a number of people who attended the forum thank me for introducing the concept of the ecological footprint.

These responses to the ecological footprint concept have started me thinking about the footprint as a means to communicate a complicated concept. The beauty of using this image as a metaphor for our impact on the earth is evidenced by its comprehensive, yet simple representation, and the fact that people can relate to it. The attractiveness of the footprint is made clearer still as we see it popping up in everyday conversations as well as in corporate and public policy documents. Ten years ago I would not have heard my local grocer speaking about the carbon footprint of his vegetables, but that is indeed what he speaks of.

To effect change in this world requires building a shared understanding of the challenge at hand. Maybe, just maybe my discussion of the ecological footprint helped to increase understanding about global resource depletion and the need for all of us to look for smaller shoes!

Alastair Moore lives in Vancouver and is an environmental consultant and co-founder of GreenWorks Building Supply. He wears size 11 shoes.

Launch @ The Terminus

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

We are pleased to inform our visitors that the Eco-Strata launch was a success!  Take a look at the 32 page PDF of the Eco-Strata Guide. The press release can be found under the “About” tab of this website.

The April 8 launch took place in the rooftop common area of The Terminus building and was hosted by One Earth Initiative and the Salient Group. There were 40 people present, representing a cross-section of target groups for the Eco-Strata Guide. These included representatives from The City of Vancouver, The Light House Sustainable Building Centre, Vancity Credit Union (Green Business Manager), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Terasen Gas, Metro Vancouver and residents of Chilco Towers. Guests arrived for the reception at 530pm, and there were speeches at 6pm, including opening remarks by Emmanuel Prinet, Executive Director of One Earth Initiative and a welcome from Robert Fung, The Salient Group. Guests celebrated the launch until 730pm and were taken on tours of the newly-opened Terminus building (www.theterminus.ca).

Eco-Strata launch vertical

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3…2…1…Launch!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 1st, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Hello and welcome! After months of planning, this Wednesday, April 8th will be the official launch of  the Eco-Strata Guide: A Green Guide for Multi-Family Dwellings in Metro Vancouver, a project funded by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. This website was created to provide an online version of the guide, but more importantly, it is intended to serve as a platform for discussion of the issues raised by the guide. We hope that by enabling dialogue, this site can help us to constantly rethink the Eco-Strata Guide to accomodate present and future concerns. Thank you for visiting!