Archive for March 2012

Earth-Friendly Events This Weekend in Peterborough


Having blogged last week about Earth Hour, which is taking place worldwide tomorrow evening, I was pleased to learn that Peterborough, home to our award-winning Avonlea community, takes this event seriously.

I guess we couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate city for our green community.

The first event, suitably called Earth Hour 2012, takes place this Saturday from dusk until midnight. Hosted by the Peterborough Astronomical Association, it will allow visitors to view the moon, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter by telescope.

night sky

This is an annual event that costs nothing to attend. What’s more, your kids are likely to love it. So if you want to show them what an impact turning the lights off can have on stars’ visibility, among many other things, be sure to take them here.

Peterborough restaurants also play a part, offering dining by candlelight. As for local schools, they encourage children to participate by asking them to sign up online and showing them the importance of turning off their lights, TVs, computers, and other equipment.

Earth Hour 2012

Armour Hill, Peterborough

From dusk to midnight, Saturday, March 31, 2012.

One Lightbulb at a Time


Quick question for you: what’s happening worldwide on the evening of March 31?

If you said Earth Hour, kudos to you.

And if you didn’t know, here’s a chance to learn about this important event.

Aiming to increase public awareness of the need to decrease energy use and to take action against climate change, Earth Hour isn’t just about turning the lights off for an hour — it’s a high-profile opportunity to promote year-round conservation, the better to preserve our planet and, indeed, our species.

Of course, if you already live in Mason Home, you’re already ahead of the curve, thanks to our Green for Life program, which ensures reduced energy consumption.

But we can all do more. Here are some options:

  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Of all nights, this is the best one to enjoy a candle-lit dinner.
  • Go for a walk; if enough people do their part, it’ll be a perfect time for stargazing.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that it’s not just about one night — the idea is to integrate the notion of preserving energy into our daily routines.

Do you have any plans for that evening? Or do you already take similar steps most days? Let me know!

Cars Teach a Lesson on New Urban Technologies


Last September, I blogged about the new Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which the Swedish automaker has labelled as the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid. It’s also roomy and has pull, speed and an estimated fuel consumption of 1.9 litres per 100 km.

Oh, not to mention it looks great.

Why do I refer to this four-month-old blog post?

Because I was reminded of it today as I read this cool article about how new satellite cities could draw energy from the sun, wind, and earth.

(Note that this solar city model is influenced by the principles of New Urbanism — the same ones that influenced Mason Homes communities such as Avonlea in Peterborough.)

Heathrow Airport is experimenting with a personal rapid transit (PRT) system that some experts believe will be integral to solar-powered cities of the future.

Does having a city that relies on alternative sources of energy sound like a far-fetched idea? It may. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Cars just like the one I mentioned above would’ve seem far-fetched not too long ago.

Yet it’s here. And we’ll all soon be able to buy it in North America.

Besides an increasing amount of international New Urbanism communities, we’re already seeing real-life applications of some of the principles discussed in the article.

They include solar energy, for example, as well as personal rapid transit (PRT), a system of “fully automated electric vehicles carrying two to six passengers that provides private, on-demand, nonstop service on a network of small, usually overhead guideways.”

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see satellite cities spring up, like the ones described in the article. Who knows — maybe Mason Homes will have communities in them.

Go Green on St. Patrick’s Day

More New Irish at St. Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin

There's more than one way to go green.

Given that we at Mason Homes build green homes and that I blog about green topics, it’s only fitting I write about the 11th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which takes place this Sunday from 2 pm to 5 pm in Peterborough, home to our Avonlea community.

As you probably know, wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day becomes a show of commitment to Ireland. But whether you’re Irish or not, there are other ways in which you can “be green” this Sunday, and hopefully, most other days as well. For example:

  • Take a cue from the parade and simply walk more. This will help you lose weight, increase your activity level, help reduce carbon emissions, and allow you to enjoy the upcoming spring weather.
  • Buy local. Sure, Guinness is a St. Patrick’s Day staple. But we also have many a good stout here in Canada, such as Hockley. (These local brews are greener still.) Even if you insist on respecting tradition this Sunday, consider buying local the rest of the year, whether it’s beer or other household products. (Peterborough has an excellent farmers’ market.)

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What are your plans for the weekend?

Mason Homes Wins EnerQuality Award


Avonlea, our community in Peterborough, has also won important awards. Learn more here.

Recently, Mason Homes won EnerQuality’s Best Green Marketing Campaign award for our “outstanding work in successfully integrating energy efficiency and a green message into [our] overall marketing program.”

In other words, we won because we see to it that our homeowners are familiar with the green benefits they derive from buying a Mason home. These include increased health and well-being, as well as better savings through reduced water and energy consumption.

Thanks to our Green for Life program, all of our homes are Energy Star-qualified as a standard rather than an upgrade, and contain many other green features and benefits. Moreover, our neighbourhoods are pedestrian-friendly, featuring plenty of parks, ponds and nearby amenities.

We are honoured to have received another award and will continue to work hard to help ensure our homeowners’ well-being and comfort.

Of course, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the countless families who honour us by purchasing a Mason home. A big thanks to all of you — you and your families keep us going!

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