Archive for the ‘Green Living’ category

Did You Know National BBQ Day is Here?


mmmmm strips
Guess what important event takes place this Saturday, June 23?

National BBQ Day.

It’s no joke — the National BBQ Day is held two days from today across Canada. Created by Meal Exchange, the event is now on its third year, perhaps because it celebrates locally-sourced food and not just BBQs.

One of the best things about celebrating this event is that it involves — you guessed it — hosting a BBQ. This is where my previous blog post, “Tips for Green Summer Grilling, might come in handy (as a bonus, it contains a delicious recipe for grilled peaches).

So if you, like most people I know, are up for some grilling this weekend, consider signing up for National BBQ Day— you could even win a free Napoleon BBQ Grill!

Tips on How To Cool Your Home

Heat Wave

A fun but impractical way to cool down.

Hot enough for you?

With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, it’s time to consider how you’ll keep your cool for the next few months — ideally, in a way that doesn’t just save energy but also preserves your pocket.

Last year’s blog post about “Prep Your Home for Summerproved pretty popular, and I have since  learned new tips (some of which I heard from our homeowners).

So without further ado, here’s a list of simple tips you can follow to make your home cooler:

Use natural ventilation. If it cools down at night in your neck of the woods, consider opening your windows and turning off the cooling system. Shut the windows when you wake up in the morning, not forgetting to close the blinds as well. This will effectively trap the cool air inside your home.

Don’t underestimate fans. They don’t just support air conditioning (see the next tip) — they can even replace it if you want to open your windows and enjoy the breeze. Besides table fans and ceiling fans, window fans are a great option. Today’s units are cheap and even include thermostats. Consider getting two: place one on one side of your home, blowing outward so that it expels hot air, and place the second on the opposite side, blowing inwards so it cools your home. (If you live in a two-storey home, place the outward-blowing unit upstairs; since hotter air rises, the fan will remove it sooner.)

Fans need not rule out air conditioning. In fact, they can support it. Using a ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting up to 15°C higher without reducing your comfort.

Use the thermostat to your advantage. There’s no need to turn your home into the North Pole. Set your thermostat as high as it’s comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Seal it. Proper insulation is as important in the summer as it is in the winter. Sealed cracks and openings will prevent warm air from finding its way into your home.

Of course, if you already live in a Mason Home, this isn’t a concern for you, thanks to the Energy Efficiency component of our Green for Life program that keeps perfect temperature year around, all while keeping dust, moisture and pollen where they belong — outside.

The Port Hope Farmers’ Market is Now Open for 2012


Having blogged last week about Peterborough’s farmers’ markets, I should mention that the Port Hope Farmers’ Market will open for the season tomorrow, after which it will open every Wednesday and Saturday until October 27th.

Selling fresh produce, home baked goods, and arts and crafts, this is quite a popular farmers’ market. (Be aware that while the location remains the same on Saturdays, it has changed to 48 Mill St. S. for Wednesday sessions.)

Either location is a mere 5-minute drive from the Port Hope Golf & Country Club sales office, which is located at 415 Lakeshore Road. Our staff will gladly answer your questions from noon to 5 pm on weekdays and 9:30 am to 6 pm on weekends.

Designed with active adults in mind, this is the perfect community for those of you who have more leisure time after a lifetime of hard work, and wish to spend it leading an active lifestyle, playing golf, strolling, and visiting the nearby parks and conservation areas. Learn more here!

Farmers’ Markets You Should Visit in Peterborough


One of the best things about spring is the fact that farmers’ markets begin opening up everywhere.

Peterborough is no exception. Home to our award-winning Avonlea community, this great town has more than its share of great farmers’ markets.

Consider this list:

  • Peterborough and District Farmers’ Market: This one is open year-round, but will only come outdoors and away from the heated indoors area on April 30th. This weekend, it will host an event called MapleFest Pancake Breakfast. I don’t know about you, but the name alone makes me want to go!

              Hours: Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm

              Location: the Morrow Building & Parking Lot at the Corner of Lansdowne Street and Roger Neilson Way

             Hours (from May 2 to October 3): Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 2 pm.

             Location: the Louis Street Parking Lot (on the corner of Charlotte Street and Aylmer Street)

Feel like exploring the towns nearby? This blog post lists a few options, such as the Lakefield Farmers’ Market, a short distance from Peterborough.

If you happen to go to one of these markets and haven’t purchased an Avonlea home but are curious about our community, drop by for a visit at our Sales Office, located at 1224 Chemong Drive. (Hours are Mondays through Fridays from noon to 7 pm and weekends from 11 am to 6 pm.) You can also call 705-741-3676 for more info.

What do you like best about farmers’ markets? 

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!

Why Are We Green?


No matter how you look at it, the concept of green is becoming more and more important.

Consider the recent backlash against the Keystone pipeline, or the uproar over Canada pulling out of Kyoto. On any given day, a glance at the Science section of Google News will likely reveal at least a couple of stories dealing with green technology and climate change.

To be sure, international treaties and technologies tackling climate serve lofty and extremely important goals. Yet there’s more than one reason why one should go green.

We at Mason Homes have had our Green for Life philosophy for a long time now. Designed to ensure comfort and happiness for your family, our program ensures you take care of the environment as well.

A green lifestyle should be a happy lifestyle.

How do we strike this balance? By emphasizing green features that benefit you first and foremost. For example, our green neighbourhoods, featuring ample parks and plenty of nearby communities, are not just beautiful and relaxing — they also help you cut down on car usage, which protects the environment and saves you gas.

Moreover, our Energy Star qualified homes (which come standard in every Mason Homes community), allow you to save money spent on heating costs while using around 30% less energy — a win-win for both the planet and your pocket.

I could go on, but my point isn’t (just) to promote Mason Homes. Rather, I’d like to highlight my longstanding belief that for green practices to succeed, they should do their best to enhance your life in a near immediate way, one that brings about noticeable improvements and also helps you save money if possible.

Politicians and scientists will take a long time to introduce major changes. Let’s not wait for them to improve our world and our lives.

This, I find, is the best way to recruit people to the green philosophy.

A Green Car You May Actually Want to Drive


Admit it—you don’t just want an environmentally friendly car.

You want a car that saves you cash and looks cool while also protecting the environment.

In other words, you want Volvo’s V60 Plug-In Hybrid.

Well, maybe you don’t. But I happen to think the V60 is incredibly cool. Here’s why.

Billed as the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid, the Volvo V-60 packs a 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel coupled with a 70-hp electric motor on the rear axle. (The motor can be charged in anywhere from 7 hours to only 3, depending on what amp socket you use.)

The diesel-electric combo gives the driver a choice among three modes of propulsion: Pure for electric drive, Hybrid for alternating propulsion and Power for an extra boost from both (when using both electric and diesel, power output can increase from 215 to 285 horses).

Unlike most plug-ins, the V60 is downright quick—it can go from 0 to 100 km/hr in only 6.9 seconds. Not bad for a plug-in. Not bad at all.

Moreover, the driver can also operate purely under diesel thrust to conserve battery power. And if traction if limited, the driver can enable a through-the-road all-wheel-drive option that engages both motors.

The best part? Fuel consumption is an estimated 1.9-litres/100 km.

In my view, the V60 would be great for all kinds of tasks as it’s roomy, elegant, has pull, and has speed.

Note: Although Volvo initially said it’d launch the V60 in Europe, it already confirmed it will sell in North America as well.

%d bloggers like this: