Archive for the ‘Green’ 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!

Green Kids in a Green Home



This Sunday is a great day for every dad out there. New dads in particular will always remember it. (One of the best things about building new home communities is interacting with families across all stages of their lives, from first-time parents at Avonlea to empty-nesters at Port Hope.)

Besides being a happy day, Father’s Day is also a good time to reflect on the education you’re giving your children.

One of the most important things you can teach them is how to live responsibly and how to grow into an adult who loves and cares for their family. Because doing will always set a better example than preaching, the best way to instil these important principles is to live by them.

Luckily, you’re setting the perfect example by living in a Mason Home. Your home and community not only protects the environment, but thanks to our Green for Life program, it also protects your loved ones and leaves more money in your pocket to provide for your family.

You can always do more, though. Be a role model — I try to take the following steps on a daily basis and to make sure I tell my son not just to do the same, but to take the time to explain why.

  • Turn the lights off when you leave the room
  • Always use reusable grocery bags
  • These days, most people recycle. Go a step further and recycle things many people still neglect, like running shoes and electronic equipment. You can even get your kids involved by recycling their school supplies
  • These children’s books are geared towards the environment, biodiversity, garbage and recycling

Now I turn it over to you:  what do you like teaching your kids on a daily basis? How do you do it?

Making Homes Affordable and Green Through Stud Spacing


At Mason Homes, we believe efficiency plays a key role in building safe, affordable homes that preserve the environment as well as your pocketbook.

While I generally avoid writing about technical issues, a homeowner recently asked me whether we use studs at 24-inch spacing rather than 16. I wasn’t really surprised, as I have as of late noticed an increasing amount of homeowners who are curious about the technology and practices that make their home green.

What’s more, I noticed that this precise topic is getting a fair amount of attention online, as this article attests.

While using studs at 16-inch spacing is the traditional way to go, studs spaced at 24 inches have several advantages. They reduce costs somewhat, thanks to a reduced number of studs and reduced labour costs. More importantly, 24 inches on centre brings about improved insulation.

For all these reasons, Mason Homes use studs at 24-inch spacing, which helps make them energy-efficient and quite affordable.

Make this Easter Weekend a Green One


A Green Easter

With Easter Weekend coming up, it’s time to consider celebrating it in a manner that’s friendly to and respectful of the environment.

The following tips will help:

Reuse the previous year’s baskets. Why not start with the obvious? And if you don’t have the baskets anymore, be sure to hang on to them this time around.

Make your own treats. This site has great recipes. Pressed for time? (Or maybe you aren’t much of a baker?) Consider getting organic brands, or brands that carry the Fair Trade logo.

Use natural dyes. There’s no reason to expose your kids to more chemicals. This blog offers excellent instructions (and a fun video) on how to use natural dyes.

Get free-run or organic eggs. They have a lower impact on the environment.

Forego the car. Having guests over for dinner? Thanks to New Urbanism design principles, our communities promote walking, so if your guests are from the neighbourhood, encourage everyone to make the most of the beautiful spring weather by stretching their legs. On other hand, if walking’s not an option, arrange carpools.

Your turn! What are you doing this Easter Weekend? Have you considered making it “greener”?

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.

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