Green Your Home This Fall

The Windsor Park Community Association is proud to host the Green Living Series, presented by REAP and Conscious Home, and supported by the City of Calgary and Conoco Phillips.

This series has been featured on Breakfast Television, CTV and CBC Radio. Don’t miss your chance to get informed and inspired!

Each workshop will give you simple steps and resources to go green. Win a toolkit of products so you can take action immediately. There are four workshops in the series:

October 19: Going Non-Toxic
On a typical cleaning day chemical levels in the indoor air can be 100-1000x higher than the outdoor air in the most polluted cities. Learn about the major sources of poor indoor air quality and the causes of chemical sensitivities. Discover easy, cost effective, non-toxic alternatives.

October 26: Energy and Water Efficiency
Utility costs continue to rise, so we can all benefit from good conservation practices. Learn how to make your home more efficient by viewing it as a system.

November 2: Greening Your Garbage
The average Canadian household generates 120 green garbage bags of solid waste each year. Learn how to reduce waste by composting, reusing common household items, and reducing plastic. Discover why the 3Rs have become 6!

November 9: Food for Thought

We eat three times a day and often with little thought to where our food comes from. Learn the most pressing issues around food, and things to consider about organic, local and whole foods. Eating well can be easy and rewarding, and this workshop will leave you with tools to do so.

All workshops will be held at the Windsor Park Community Hall from 7-9pm. Contact lauren (at) conscioushome (dot) ca for registration information.

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Clean Home Handbook now online

Conscious Home’s Clean Home Handbook:
How to Make Safer, Healthier Cleaners, Personal Care Products and Kids Stuff

Hard Copy $12.00
Including shipping within Canada

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


PDF Copy $9.00

Includes:

  • over 30 recipes for household cleaners. Everything from laundry detergent to produce washes.
  • tried and tested personal care recipes including shampoos, body scrubs, lip balms, and beyond.
  • kids cleaning and crafts. DIY baby wipes, kids toothpaste, make your own non-toxic paint, and more.
  • ingredient information and where to find them.

Making your own cleaners is simple, fun, flexible and super cost-effective. 30% cheaper than conventional products and 40% less expensive than most “eco-friendly” products.

What others are saying:

Quite a Journey!
Since reading your book, “The Clean Home Handbook”, I have been on a major quest for more information. I have eliminated all of the cleaners I had and substituted with the ones suggested in your book. I was sold when I sprinkled baking soda on my stove’s removable plates followed by vinegar. It worked immediately!
-Louise M., Calgary

Thanks!
You know, I did a load of laundry today, after my shower, and thought back to the intense house-cleaning session that we used to do Sunday mornings, and I’m pretty amazed (and proud!) of the amount of toxicity we’ve reduced in our day-to-day lives – thanks Lauren! Almost every product that touches our skin and the surfaces in our home environment contains ingredients that I can pronounce and feel safe using. Yes, it’s true, my addiction to toxic cleaning abrasives is now a thing of the past! Thanks for the education – it’s really made a difference in our lives.
– Chantal V., Calgary

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Conscious Home Upcoming Event

Childcare now included with our Going Non-Toxic Workshop!

green home

October 24, 2009 from 10:00 am    – 12:00 pm
Evergreen Community Studios, 2633 Hochwald Ave SW

On a typical cleaning day in the average Canadian home, chemical levels in the indoor air can be hundreds to a thousand times higher than the outdoor air in the most polluted cities. Participants of the Going Non-Toxic workshop will learn about the major sources of poor indoor air quality and the causes of chemical sensitivities. Discover easy, cost effective, non-toxic alternatives and win a toolkit to get you started!

Registration is $40 per person and includes childcare for up to two children per registrant. With a 2009 REAP Passport coupon, registrants can bring a friend for free and two additional children. Children must be between the ages of 6-12. Space is limited.

Click here to register.

Click here to buy a REAP Passport and bring a friend for free!

REAP and Conscious Home have developed the Green Living Series to provide information and inspiration for Calgary households to make changes that reduce their environmental footprint. Childcare will be provided by Evergreen Theatre – helping kids to discover the fine art of science.

For more information on workshop topics click here or contact Stephanie Jackman at stephanie@reapcalgary.com.

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The Walls Are Alive

– written for ecomii blogs: http://www.ecomii.com

Many of us have heard of the architectural virtues of green roofs, but what about applying the same concept to our walls? Green-, eco-, bio-, vegetated -, or living walls bring vertical gardening and drip irrigation techniques together into a panel system of plants built against existing indoor or outdoor walls.

While a wall of climbing vines could be considered a living wall, several building design companies have come up with a more technological system of a wood or steel frame with a number of cells ranging from forty-five to hundreds, depending on the size of the project. Plants grow in soil, or between layers of fibrous material (felt or plastic mesh) and are irrigated through a drip system with a line every few rows distributing water to all the cells.

Aside from the obvious aesthetic value of a wall of greenery, living walls also improve indoor air quality – plants like dracaena and peace lilies have been proven to remove toxins and purify air. In locales with dry winters or little humidity, living walls can add much-needed moisture to the air. Added insulation to the building envelope and the associated summer cooling and winter heating of the indoor environment is another definite benefit of the systems. Outdoor walls, like green roofs, absorb and filter rainwater, diverting it from municipal storm water infrastructure that can often be overtaxed.

ELT Living Walls, a company that started with modular, pre-grown green roofs, has developed a system that ships internationally and is literally greening everything from universities to individual houses. This is a window herb box taken to a whole new level. For the individual practicing sustainable living, the idea of growing a vertical vegetable or herb garden right on one’s kitchen wall could be the ultimate in eating local, year-round.

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Ode to Kijiji

– written for ecomii blogs: http://www.ecomii.com

One of the common challenges to buying “green” products and services is the associated costs with better labor practices, better quality and more eco- and human friendly materials.

A true sustainable product will also have a cost reflecting a growing, but certainly not yet dominant market. It is fantastic to live in an age where consumers and corporations are starting to clue in to the fact that cutting corners and operating from a pure financial bottom line does not consider the health of people and the planet.

However, the manufacturing of more sustainable products is not an answer in itself. A greener economy does not have the power to absolve us of our overdrawn natural resource account, because it still requires a great amount of energy and virgin material to create new goods.

Enter Kijiji, an online classified website with localized ads. I have become dedicated to using this website for everything from my recently purchased “new to me” couch to collecting the necessary materials and creating the darkroom I’ve always wanted.

With every transaction I have undertaken through the website, my admiration grows for Kijiji. The user-friendly advanced searching options allows the searcher to set price ranges.

The pictures of the items for sale serve as a first glance assessment of the condition and appearance of the item, allowing the buyer to purchase high-quality goods while extending their lifespan. It is a reuse channel that, in my opinion, far surpasses the experience of a thrift or consignment store.

As a buyer, you have the opportunity to inquire about the history of the product, how many people have owned it, how it has been cared for, what sort of environment it has been in (eg. smoking, pets, etc.).

Kijiji in a small way, encourages community and face-to-face transactions. And in this time of financial market uncertainty, the one thing that we want to prevail is community. Don’t be afraid. Kijiji and other online classifieds like Craig’s List are revolutionizing the world of used goods.

Give an old couch new life today, go online and see what you can find.

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Finding the Right Size

-written for ecomii blogs: http://www.ecomii.com

The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2040.

That’s a lot of people to sustain.

Population growth tends to be a taboo and contentious issue within climate change discourse.  However, what holds true is that we as a global population, need to be creative and also realistic about how to support our growing species.

In North America, our cultural relation to space and the need for much of it has lead to a commonly held lifestyle that does not correlate to what the Earth’s resources can support.

In the city I live in, situated in the foothills of Western Canada, our geographical footprint is said to match or exceed that of New York City, and our population is just over one million; less than one-eighth the population of New York.

Yet, the building continues. Much of it to house single families living in near or certifiable mansions.

Recently I’ve come across the concept of “rightsizing” life, an idea that seems to offer a more realistic way to exist in our spaces. Right-sizing is a step beyond down-sizing, an evaluation process of understanding better the amount of space needed to live and simplifying life in the process.

It an acknowledgment that we have different spacial and material needs according to the stages of life. Right-sizing can extend to the home, vehicle, and luxury accessories like boats, RVs, or vacation homes.

It wouldn’t make sense to wear rubber boots year-round, and yet many people drive SUVs to see them through one season of the year.

Two-person families live in four-bedroom homes to be prepared for the two weeks of the year house guests are visiting. Entire homes sit vacant and unused, for the one month of the year its owners visit for vacation.

A great way to start the right-sizing process is to list properties and the big stuff you own and chart how often and effectively these things are being used. Monitor your use of space in your home for a week. Do you have a room, or several rooms that you barely enter?

Can you eliminate unused furniture or accumulated “stuff”?

Start by de-cluttering the home to better suit your stuff to your space rather than your space to your stuff. From there, you just might find it’s time to move that de-materialized life to a space that is your right size.

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Be The Bus

–written for ecomii blogs : http://www.ecomii.com

With rising gas prices, carbon-guilt and the knowledge that alternative transportation is the more sustainable approach to getting from here to there, many of us are looking for ways to do so in a viable way.  When it is just one body to move around, a bike, bus or light-rail train are usually convenient and workable. A whole other experience is alternatively transporting kids and the accompanying backpacks, snackpacks, toys, diaper bags, strollers and the rest of the provisions. Getting all of this in a self-contained vehicle is often trying enough, let alone taking it all to a public space like a bus.

Recently I’ve come across a concept that at least takes care of the kid’s school commute, provided you live within walking distance. The “walking school bus” gets together a regular group of kids and adults living along the same the route to the school and simulating a bus: a “driver”, a route with scheduled stops, and “riders”.

Pretty simple, yet it has explosive results. With statistics revealing that the average North American spends ninety percent of their time indoors, regular walking is a great way to ensure you and the kids get outside and are consistently active. It also solves any safety concerns around letting your kids walk themselves to school. Plan for two adults to be part of each bus and get to know your neighbors and fellow parents better. The walking school bus is a fantastic way to build a sense of community both within the school population and the neighborhood.

Check out The Walking School Bus for more resources on establishing a route, enlisting adult walkers, and basic safety principles. Getting started could be as easy as putting out some feelers with parents you already know and committing to walking the route, seeing who you pick up along the way!

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