Air

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

This week, we updated the green roof demo at EcoHouse with some Sedums! A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. Green roofs are a beautiful and cost-efficient way to conserve energy, manage storm water, and insulate a building. Continue reading

Climate Change Action of the Month: The Green Cottage

Start Climate Change awareness at the home! That is what the Green Cottage in Hamilton has done, this house has many ecofriendly features, which helps eliminate its lasting effects on the climate. The house, located in the north end of Hamilton by the harbour, was originally built in 1885 with many similar houses surrounding it, but since then it has had some major renovations, and although the house does not look much different than the ones surrounding it the Green Cottage is unlike any home in Hamilton.

The Green Cottage

The Green Cottage

Starting on the outside the house is trimmed with salvaged wood, reclaimed wood helps eliminate the process of manufacturing and saves a few trees from being cut down in the process. The house is also insulated on the outside, this is called Exsulation, which provides more thermal heating for the house, eliminating most of the use of furnaces. The roof is also adorned with many solar panels and solar water heaters. Up to 30% of new greenhouse gases around the globe are contributed by non-renewable energy, and using solar energy as an alternative helps to decrease that number and the impacts of climate change.

On the inside the house is NOT equipped with a clothing dryer, air conditioner, stove, refrigerator or microwave! With the house lacking these amenities they are not sucking out energy for appliances that are not essential for everyday needs. The Green Cottage has significantly reduced its energy use, and has set a very high standard for energy conservation.

The house is also surround by a vigorous and beautiful garden. The garden creates green space in a mostly asphalt ridden area, and the plants not only look great but they are absorbing carbon dioxide and eliminating that from out atmosphere. The Green Cottage has gone above and beyond to eliminate their negative effects on climate change and the environment in general. This house is not only proof that you can take an old home and make environmental improvements, but it also demonstrates the many changes you can make a home level.

Written by: Brittney Massey

Climate Change Action of the Month: Smart Commute Hamilton

One of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases are car emissions so it doesn’t take Einstein to realize that eliminating car emissions would have a significant affect on climate change. A few commercial buildings within Hamilton have begun to include secure bike parking on their premises to help promote alternative, and in this case active, transportation. Within five years of the Smart Commute Hamilton program starting up, over 24,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been prevented from entering into the atmosphere.

The secure bike parking allows Hamiltonians to bike rather than drive and have a safe place they can store their bikes while at work or play. Here are just some of the locations you can find secure bike parking in Hamilton:

One of the many secure bike parking facilities in Hamilton

One of the many secure bike parking facilities in Hamilton

  • St. Joes Hospital
  • Hamilton General
  • Mohawk College
  • The Convention Centre
  • York Parkdale
  • Horizon Utility Office
  • Jackson Square AND OVER 50 MORE!

Secure bike parking gives you piece of mind after locking up your bike, offering superior protection on your bike over the conventional rack. How you ask? Secure bike parking is located within limited access facilities and can only be reached by secure bike members who have been granted access. The bikes are then hung vertically and with one U-lock you are able to lock up both tires and your bike frame. The facilities are monitored by security dramatically decreasing your risk of theft or damage to your bike.

With the development of secure bike parking, commuters are encouraged to ditch their cars and grab their bikes. Biking is a healthy and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving your car. Now you can do your part and bike to work, a friends, or the store, reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you contribute to the atmosphere, and have peace of mind.

Written By: Brittney Massey

Totally Transit – Connecting Older Adults with Public Transit

hsrGreen Venture has been offering bus education programs for several years through the Totally Transit program.  This program introduces people to the HSR, and provides them with the information needed to take the bus.  This is the second year that Green Venture has expanded this program to cater to older adults.

Taking the bus is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around our city.  The HSR carries millions of passengers per year and operates comprehensive bus routes throughout Hamilton.  These workshops will discuss HSR bus services and focus on the neighbourhood around the workshop location.

Lets ride the bus oct 24 _121024 vs 007

Through a series of free workshops offered at ten locations across Hamilton, older adults will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to confidently navigate public transit.  Topics such as local bus routes, bus fare and passes, seniors’ discounts, and trip planning will be covered.

After a 45 minute presentation on taking the bus, an optional 15 minute presentation will be offered on how to use Google maps to plan your trip, for those who use the internet.  All workshop participants will have the opportunity to fill out a form requesting bus trip planning to two destinations.  Green Venture will mail participants step by step instructions explaining how to take the bus to their destinations.

Participants will have the opportunity to sign up for a guided bus trip, where they will travel in small groups of 2-4 on the bus with a trained bus travel guide.  Free bus tickets will be provided, and the travel guide will orient them on how to use the bus while they ride to a fun location for an outing, before travelling back to their starting point on the bus together.

Workshops will be offered at:

Wednesday September 10, 10:30 to 12:00pm- Concession Street Library, 565 Concession St, Hamilton

Tuesday September 23, 2:00 to 3:30pm -Westdale Library 955 King St W, Hamilton,

Monday September 29, 2:00 to 3:30pm Turner Park Library 352 Rymal Rd E, Hamilton

Wednesday October 1, 2:00 to 3:30pm Red Hill Library 695 Queenston Road Hamilton

Monday October 20, 10 to 11:30am – North End Community Health Centre, 438 Hughson Street North, Hamilton

Thursday October 23, 10 to 11:30am – Sackville Hill Senior Center, 780 Upper Wentworth Street, Hamilton

Wednesday October 29, 10 to 11:30am – Dundas Library, 18 Ogilvie St, Dundas

 

Registration is required to attend a workshop.

To sign up for a guided bus trip, please call 905-540-8787 ext. 151

 

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Media contact-

Michael Albanese

Green Venture

905-540-8787 ext 151

gvcoordinator2@gmail.com

www.greenventure.ca

Climate Change Action of the Month: HIEA

Trees Please!

There’s been a lot of concern and interest in climate change in the City of Hamilton lately with the development of  a Community Climate Change Action Plan. Increasing the amount of green space and the number of trees in a dense city area helps to mitigate climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use this in the process of photosynthesis to grow big and tall! Trees absorbing carbon dioxide is beneficial and planting trees is a very practical approach to combating climate change.

HIEA in the process of planting all of their new trees.

HIEA in the process of planting all of their new trees.

The Andrew Warburton Memorial Park, which is now the home of 32 new trees.

The Andrew Warburton Memorial Park, which is now the home of 32 new trees.

Around the north east end, the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association (HIEA) has been committed to planting over 120 trees including Maple, Serviceberry, Kentucky Coffeetree, Katsura and more in various locations including:

  • St. Christopher’s Park
  • RT Steele Park
  • Andrew Warburton Memorial Park
  • Lake Avenue Park

HIEA is dedicated to improving our local environment. The actions of HIEA will help to lessen the effects of climate change as the trees continue to absorb the carbon dioxide, which they then convert and store in the form of wood. Planting younger trees is also beneficial as they begin to absorb the carbon dioxide at an exponential rate while they begin to grow. Planting trees is a great way to mitigate climate change as they absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and having less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere slows down climate change. This is why it is important not only to plant new trees but to also protect the trees we already have.

Written by: Brittney Massey

Ditch the Drive & Bring the Bike!

On May 26th, we celebrated Bike to Work Day at Gore Park to kick off the beginning of Bike Month in June. That morning we saw residents learn more about cycling and active travel, and the unveiling of the new Hamilton bike share program called Sobi Hamilton. Sobi Hamilton will start early this summer (it’s coming soon!) and making 750 bikes available at 105 stations throughout Hamilton. At any time you can reserve and rent the bike for a period of time and a small fee. Check out Sobi Hamilton here.

Biking is a great form of active travel, helping you get to where you are going, and in a healthy and lively way. Physically inactive lifestyles are very harmful to our health and contribute to a lot of the most common diseases in Canada such as stroke, diabetes, heart diseases and more. Including active travel into your routine is a great way to get in your daily dose of exercise while reducing your environmental impact too. Many Canadian individuals depend on their car for transportation, but the pollution created by cars increases our greenhouse gas emissions which affects our climate and our air quality. Active travel doesn’t just apply to biking it works for any physical active mode of transportation, such as rollerblading, walking, running, or skateboarding. Next time you plan to go to the grocery store, work, or anywhere try to walk, ride or roll as active alternatives to driving your car.

Here are our top ten reasons to ditch the drive and ride a bike:

  1. Save money on gas
  2. Don’t have to worry about finding parking
  3. Get to be active and healthy
  4. You won’t have to sit in traffic
  5. You get a better view of the city
  6. Bicycles take a lot less materials and energy to make then cars
  7. Bikes have a lot less maintenance
  8. Bikes don’t burn gasoline, keeping our air clean
  9. Storing a bike is easy
  10.  IT’S FUN!

Missed Bike to Work Day? Don’t miss us at Open Streets Hamilton! Open Streets Hamilton re-purposes streets for fun, active, and creative activities by temporarily transforming streets into a shared space for everyone to experience. Sunday, July 13 2014 on James Street North from 10AM – 5PM will mark the 8th car-free Sunday in Hamilton since June 2010.

Written By:

Brittney Massey

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Saving Fuel and the Environment: One Tire At a Time

This summer, Green Venture has been working with Canadian Tire Stores to deliver Tire Pressure Clinics to the community.  These clinics were made possible from the Shell -Fuelling Change grant awarded to us last year, in addition to support from Clean Air Hamilton.  During these events, we teach motorists how to check their tire pressure.  If required, we also fill up people’s tires, and provide them with EcoDriver information and a giveaway item.  These events are a great way to engage the community and teach them sustainable driving techniques.  After attending these clinics, people learn how to save money on gas, while reducing their use of fossil fuels.

Why Attend a Tire Pressure Clinic?

  • The average person is emitting 10% more CO2 when driving their car due to under-inflated tires
  • 26% of smog forming pollutants and greenhouse gases come from road vehicles
  • 33% of vehicles have at least one tire under inflated
  • 70% of people don’t measure tire pressures each month
  • Just one tire under-inflated by 8 psi can increase fuel consumption by 4% (that’s 80 litres more fuel per year), and reduce the life of the tire by 15 000km
  • Canadians waste 533 million litres of  fuel each year  which equates to over 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (CO2)
  • Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure

tire pressure cdn tire 2 130620 MG

Stats From Our Last Tire Pressure on Saturday, June 22, 2013:

  • # of people helped/spoken to: 27
  • Average PSI (Pounds per square inch) of air given per car: 5
  • Total PSI added to people’s vehicles throughout the day: 120

So our one tire pressure clinic…

  • Saved 3.28 L of fuel in just one day
  • Saved a collective 1,200 L of fuel in a year
  • Saved 7.5 kg of CO2 from being emitted in one day
  • Saved 2,670 kg of CO2 from being emitted in a year

These events teach us how to live a little more sustainably while driving, and we would love for you to participate!  Our next Tire Pressure Clinic is this Saturday, July 6, 2013.  The location is 777 Upper James St, Hamilton, ON.

 

Posted by Edward

What is the Air Quality Health Index?

Often called the AQHI, the Air Quality Health Index is a rating system that helps us better understand the quality of the air we are breathing each day and how it affects our health. The index ranks each day’s air quality and assigns it a certain colour or number. Every citizen can access these rating online (website: airhealth.ca) or by calling 905-543-1136.

For example, on days when air quality is poor (generally on some of the hottest summer days) the rating will be a 10 (or red) and officials suggest that anyone at risk (such as people with heart or breathing problems) should avoid being active outside while the general population should keep outside activity to a minimum.

Air Quality Health Index

Air Quality Health Index

As we write this, Hamilton’s AQHI is a 3 (or blue) meaning it is a great day for everyone to enjoy outdoor activity.

Learn more about AQHI and how to check readings at airhealth.ca. Hamilton specific reading can be found along with our weather. 

You can also learn more about air quality and how it affects your health from CleanAir Hamilton.

How Your Actions Impact Air Quality (activity demo)

Sometimes it can be hard to visualize air pollution (except for on a few very smoggy days). Even harder is making the connections between our actions and air pollution.

We found a great activity that uses food colouring to represent pollutants and water to represent the air. Different pollutants (drops of colouring) are released depending on our morning routines. For example, a drop for driving a car to work and even a drop for using hot water in the shower (because of the pollutants created to heat the water).

It got us thinking about how all our little actions can make a big impact and that air can be polluted even when we can’t see that pollution.

Imagine if each pollutant was a bright colour and our air was a brown, soupy mess! There is a great write up on this activity so you can do it in the classroom or with kids at home.

Learn lots more about how your actions impact air quality at CleanAir Hamilton’s website.

Catching the Air Quality Enemy– Fugitive Dust

Fugitive Dust is the term for the dust that gets into our air or water as a side effect of everyday actions or sources such as cars, construction vehicles, agriculture, and outdoor storage piles.

These dusts, called ‘particulate matter’ are a pollutant and have a serious negative effect on our air quality.

Industrial sites are often a main source of these fugitive dusts as many heavy vehicles move around sites and track particles onto the road.  Other traffic then moves the dirt around and into our air and water. This dirt is called ‘drag-out’ and it can get especially bad on sites with open storage piles and dirt roads. While things like vehicle exhaust and tire wear also create nasty dusts, the impact of drag-out is very easy to prevent.

Drag out of dust can contribute to air pollution

Drag out of dust can contribute to air pollution

There are many steps industrial sites, such as construction zones, need to take to decrease the impact of dust on our air quality such as covering supplies and washing vehicles before they leave a site.  It isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law. Municipal By-Laws forbid the tracking of mud, soil or building materials on to public roads and The City can fine violators for costs to clean up the mess.

The best thing to do is to snap a photo (if you can) and then report the violation. Environment Hamilton has a great program called Dust Busters all about drag out and how you can help. Visit their website to find all the details on reporting a problem:

You can also find more about this topic, and lots of other information about air quality in Hamilton, from the CleanAir Hamilton website.