Archive for the ‘Green Living’ category

What Makes a Home Green?


The answer to this question is not as simple as you’d think. But I don’t want to bore you with details about international certifications and green technologies and agreements and so forth.

Instead, I’ll briefly discuss what makes a Mason Home green. We’ve worked very hard at coming up with what we think are the best ways to make our homes environmentally-friendly, and the result is our unique Green for Life program, which gives you a green, healthy home.

With our Green for Life program, you get:

1. Homes that are EnergyStar qualified. As you most likely know, EnergyStar is an international standard for energy efficiency that ensures a reduction in energy consumption of about 30%.

We achieve this through superior insulation, high-performance windows, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. The best part? Unlike many builders, our homes are EnergyStar qualified as a standard and not as an upgrade. We’ve very proud about this.

2. Green Communities. We always try to make sure our communities have ample neighbouring parks, as well as pedestrian-friendly streets and enough nearby resources to allow you to reduce car usage.

We also do our best to preserve the existing landscape as much as possible, and to plant native species that require less watering.

3. The best air quality. We offer high-quality air filters and heat recovery ventilation systems to improve indoor air quality, as well as low-VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives to reduce harmful gas emissions. You and your family deserve to breathe pure air.

4. Better water conservation. With our low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets, you’ll not only use less water, but also lower your water bill.

As always, I’m interested in your opinion. Leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter at @MasonHomes.

Live Green in Toronto this Saturday


Summer is the best time to be outdoors, and for its sixth year, the Live Green Toronto Festival will take place in the downtown core of Toronto, at the Yonge-Dundas Square this Saturday (July 16th) from 11am to 10pm.

This will be a great opportunity to head to the city, if you don’t live in Toronto! A greener way for you to get to the event is to park your car at the closest TTC parking lot and to take the subway down to Dundas Station, where the event is held.

You can expect to learn easy and practical ways to reduce energy use, water, and waste in your everyday life. You will also learn about how to be green while you live, travel, shop, eat, and play.

A portion of Yonge Street will be closed from Dundas St. to Queen St. on Saturday, where you will find tons of products and services to help you “green” your lifestyle. You can also learn about rebate programs and incentives offered by the government and the City of Toronto to help support green living necessities.

There will be food, live music and buskers to keep you entertained all day. Local acts such as Classified, Crash Test Dummies, Lowest of the Low, and Meagan Smith are scheduled to perform live this weekend.

Bring your old movies and music to take part in Swapsity’s Movie Music Eco-Swap. For full details on the event, please visit the website.

Follow @LiveGreenTO and tweet me #LGTOFest and keep me in the loop if you’re attending the event this weekend! If you learn some great new tips, please share!

Have a great weekend!

Staying Cool is Easy


A while back, I provided tips on prepping your home for the season, so you can stay cool in your home all summer. Today, I’m going to offer you more tips on keeping your body cool on a hot day without relying on an air-conditioner.

Turning on your a/c is easy, but it can be costly and drying on your skin—and don’t forget its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere!

So, how to stay cool: first of all, keep the heat out of your home by closing your curtains or blinds. Avoid turning on lights unnecessarily and give yourself an evening off from cooking on the stove, as these heat up your home quickly. Getting outside to BBQ is a great solution.

Now, on a really hot day, here are a few things you can do to stay cool:

  • Drink water. Lots of cold water will keep your body hydrated and you feeling happy and energetic.
  • Have a shower or a swim. Jump in a nice cool pool or just rinse off in a cold shower to keep cool.
  • Eat cold fruits and cold meals. Have a watermelon or a nice glass of lemonade, as both are good sources of vitamin C and can keep you feeling cool and refreshed.
  • Enjoy frozen treats. Have a Popsicle, ice cream or your favourite frozen treat.
  • Try minty or menthol products. A hint of mint in your drink is always refreshing. You can also use peppermint lotion or soap, or a minty powder to cool your skin and body.
  • Get an ice pack. Placing an ice pack on your wrists cools the blood in your veins and instantly makes you feel cooler.
  • Invest in a portable fan. Use a portable fan to keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Plant trees. It’s good to plant trees on both (east and west) sides of your home, so your house is kept in the shade, blocked from the sun’s heat.

Got any other solutions that I haven’t mentioned here that work for you? Post your stay-cool tips in the comment box below or tweet me @MasonHomes!

Prep Your Home for Summer


Summer weather is coming soon (don’t let the rain fool you!), so now is the time to prepare your home for summer heat. Sure, it can be too darn hot in the midst of summer, and you just want to crank up that air-conditioner at home all day. Well, there are ways to cool your home without using up too much energy, and it can be done without hurting your wallet, too. This way, you can save yourself some green in your pocket and for the environment!

Summer Home

This summer, you can beat the heat and save the planet by following these simple tips provided by Energy Star:

  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and can produce up to 75 percent more heat indoor.
  • Set your thermostat higher when no one is home. Program your thermostat to 25 degrees during the day, so no energy is wasted on cooling an empty home.
  • Install a ceiling fan and use it to cool you off when you get home. Turn the fan on for a cool breeze.
  • Shade up. Close the curtains and shades before you leave your home to keep the sun’s rays from over heating the interior of your home.
  • Reduce oven time. Cook with a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven, so it doesn’t heat up your home.
  • Change your HVAC filter. Every three months, you should change your system’s air filter. If the filter is dirty, it will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep your home cool. Also, remember to get your system serviced every year.
  • Seal duct system leaks. To ensure that the cool air isn’t leaking out of your system or your home, you should seal any leaks you see in your duct system with mastic sealant and metal tape and insulate all the ducts you can access.  Learn more about air seal and insulate here. In an Energy Star qualified home though, you don’t have to worry!

Once you’ve done all these, you are guaranteed to have a cool home to come to after a hot sunny day, and you won’t even have to worry about your energy bills! If you drive, it’s also a good idea to get your car ready for the summer by changing tires and filters and getting a tune up. Now, you’re set to enjoy your summer!

Stay in touch and let me know how much money you save this summer via Facebook or Twiter.

Green Expo in Peterborough


A lot of times people don’t realize how simple it is to live a little greener. Little things like Energy Star appliances, for example, help save energy but they also help save money on energy bills. If you’re interested in learning more about living a little greener and you’re in the Peterborough area, check out The 8th Annual Green Expo this Saturday April 30th.

The Green Expo at the Evinrude Centre showcases green products, services and technology from local businesses and it’s also got some pretty cool guest speakers lined up, like CBC’s Bob McDonald. This year’s Green Expo is expected to be the biggest and the best one to date, with extended hours, new exhibitors, new sponsors and activities for all ages all day long. For only $7 per person, you can gain a lot of new knowledge from workshops and guest speakers scheduled for the event.

The best thing about the Green Expo is that, unlike other trade shows, all the proceeds including exhibitors’ fee and sponsorship money will go towards the local community and Peterborough Green-Up, a local not-for-profit environmental organization.

I bet there’s a new thing or two we could all learn at the Expo that could make our lives greener and probably save us a little money along the way!

If you or someone you know would like to lend a hand at the event, you can also volunteer for the event by signing up here.

Score a Win for the Green Team!


How’s your favourite hockey team doing? Watching the playoffs the other day, I got to thinking about things we can do to make our favourite sports a little greener.

Just a few little things can make a difference.

Spring and summer are the best seasons of the year to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or biking, and the best thing you can do is keep an eye on where you’re going. If you stay away from areas that might have sensitive wildlife and plants, you’re already on the right track to doing some good for your environment. There are many trails across Ontario for you to enjoy, and you can find one near you here.

Spring and summer are the best seasons of the year to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or biking, and the best thing you can do is keep an eye on where you’re going. If you stay away from areas that might have sensitive wildlife and plants, you’re already on the right track to doing some good for your environment. There are many trails across Ontario for you to enjoy, and you can find one near you here.

If you play hockey like I do and you’re thinking about buying new equipment, and your old stuff is still in good shape, why not donate it? You’d be saving it from a landfill and helping someone out along the way too. The flip side of that is buying your next set of great at a store like Play It Again Sports, where you can buy, sell, or trade your used equipment.

There are many other ways you can make your favourite sport or leisure activity a little greener. If you’re interested, please click here for other ideas. If you’ve got a great idea of your own, let me know! Leave a comment below, share it on Facebook or tweet me on Twitter.

Enjoy the playoffs. Go team!

Explore a Sustainable Lifestyle


Whether you’re passionate about green living or perhaps just adapting to the lifestyle, you’ll find lots of information and inspiration at the Green Living Show, happening at the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition Place in Toronto this weekend!

As you know, I’m a big supporter of all things green, and Mason Homes has been building homes that are Green for Life for over 50 years. Our strong belief in sustainability has led us to being awarded EnerQuality’s Leader of the Year and Green Builder of the Year.

The Green Living Show, dubbed Canada’s largest green consumer show, showcases all areas of green living – energy, food and beverage, green building, transportation, eco-tourism and recreation, home and garden, health and wellness, fashion and beauty, kids’ stuff, pets, green business, environmental educators, and non-profits. Something for everyone!

With over 400 exhibitors and guest environmentalist speakers to gather information and inspiration from, your family is guaranteed to leave with a brighter smile and a brighter future. Admission is only 12 dollars, free for children under 12, and Samsung is offering free admission when you bring in old electronics to be recycled!

Please visit the website for more info, and you can find a list of guest speakers here. Enjoy your weekend at the Green Living Show and see you there!

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