EcoHouse

Green Spring Cleaning

Are you looking for a way to clean your home from top to bottom, with items you already have in your kitchen?  We asked the staff for their top tips and tricks for Spring Cleaning, using no chemicals or toxic ingredients. Continue reading

Four Shades of Green

An update on our grass alternative beds

EcoHouse is getting greener — four shades greener to be exact!  Last summer we established four small test plots for different types of lawn alternatives, right in our own front yard.  We wanted to understand the benefits of each type firsthand, and be able to show visitors exactly how each would turn out.  This has been an exciting project right from the get-go.  There was much debate amongst staff and board as to which alternatives we should choose, and the four finalists that made it into the exhibit were: Continue reading

UpRoot Hamilton – Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Every now and again we need to be challenged and motivated to get out of our routines and try out new ideas and experiences, finding ourselves UpRooted! On October 3rd Green Venture hosted it’s first ever fundraiser, pulling up its own roots and trying new things to grow as an organization. What a success it was! Despite the strong winds, rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, people came out to help  celebrate 20 years of environmental outreach and education in the Hamilton community and donate  to help keep Green Venture going strong for the next 20 years! Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back

Green Venture officially began operating in 1995, making 2015 our 20th anniversary. Although we’ll be marking this special occasion with an amazing event called UpRoot Hamilton (which you can read more about), we’ve also taken the time to think about our past 20 years, and the amazing journey we’ve been on as we try to make Hamilton and area the most environmentally friendly place to live, one day, and one action, at a time. Continue reading

Are you UpRooted?

Green eggs and ham may not be on the menu, but Hamilton’s first social food market will still be turning green this Fall.

UpRoot Hamilton, a fundraiser celebrating Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary will feature local chefs, local ingredients and the impact that eating local can have on the environment. Attendees to the October 3 event will be able to sample locally sourced and inspired food dishes that come from equally unique vendors, many of whom do not yet have an actual storefront location in the city. Continue reading

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

Power all with the Powerwall!

If you haven’t heard of the new Tesla battery, you may be living under a rock. Tesla’s new battery is the talk of the town and it’s everywhere in the media. Why? It aims to take homes and businesses off the grid. Continue reading

What one EcoTeam is doing to make their school more “Green”

IMG_0240Many schools are taking steps to become more sustainable in the classroom, so it wasn’t surprising when an educational assistant from Sacred Heart School came to Green Venture to ask about purchasing a vermicomposter. The part that surprised me was that she was contacting me on behalf of her Eco Team; it was her students who decided to get a composter.  They wanted to reduce the amount of waste they create, and they led the fundraising project so their school could achieve this goal.  Of course I had to meet with their Eco Team to see learn more about what they were up to.

The students were eager to tell me all about their hard work, achievements and future plans. The team is made up of 25 students between grades 2 and 8. Their latest project was raising funds for a vermicomposter. The idea to get a composter came from seeing all the waste from the breakfast program. The school started with recycling, but wanted to decrease their waste even further. Thus began their quest for a composter. The students came up with an action plan, which started in October. The first part of the plan was how to come up with the money for a composter. They decided to sell bracelets.  They made bracelets in their spare time at school and even on the weekends. Once they had enough bracelets they starting selling them, within 3 weeks they had raised enough money. Even they were surprised how fast they could raise the money at 25 cents to a dollar per bracelet.

Green Venture was delighted to hear the students gave so much of their time and efforts to raise money for the vermicomposter, and we gave them a discount to help with the costs. Green Venture also offers a Totally Transit Kids program where Green Venture partners with the HSR to educate students on the importance of sustainable transportation and gives them a free chartered bus ride to EcoHouse. The students came to pick up their worms in February and learned how to care for them by going on a tour of Green Venture.

They are also currently working on a battery drive, and have collected 2,183 batteries, with a target of 3,000 batteries. The best part of this drive is that once the target is reached they will celebrate by having a wear green day. They have also reclaimed areas from weeds and planted new plants. They have visions of more shade for their playground and a bigger teaching garden. They have created a garden space which is limited now but the Eco team has visions of creating container gardens.IMG_0246

The school has a recycling program, but what makes their program unique is that garbage gets monitored by the Eco Team upon collection. If the class makes it a week with proper recycling they get one letter of a word, and once all the letters in the word Recycle, are collected they get a pizza party. The Eco Team says this has helped with students making sure waste gets put in the right place.

Another great sustainable practice that the students promote is turning the lights off every day from 2 to 3. Each class is to turn off their lights during this time to help save energy and resources.IMG_0244

The EcoTeam charts how the students get to school, promoting sustainable transportation. Daily Eco tips and trivia are included in the morning announcements. The team has even put on an environmental themed play about how you can live more sustainably.

Future ideas for the team are bottled water versus tap water taste test, walk to school day, and raising money to get t- shirts for the Eco team.

As someone who has a passion for teaching and the environment, it so exciting to see schools promoting student led environmental initiatives in their schools.

For more information about Green Venture, vermicomposters and school tours, visit our website at www.greenventure.ca

Contact Virginia at education@greenventure.ca or 905 540 8787 x 154

Get Involved with Green Venture

Green Venture is a non-profit organization and, like many non-profits, we rely on the help of community volunteers for many of our projects. Whether it’s weeding a garden, guiding a tour, promoting Green Venture at an event or taking part in a clean-up, our volunteers help in all kinds of ways.

Having fun after a volunteer cleanup event

Having fun after a volunteer cleanup event

Many of our volunteers get involved with Green Venture for various  reasons. Everyone is different but most volunteers have a few things in common and many volunteer because they want to help the environment, get experience, learn skills, meet new people and have fun. Some people also volunteer to add to a resume or earn volunteer hours for high school.

Green Venture has several ways you can get involved, including maintaining the grounds at our EcoHouse, joining us at special events or helping lead a tour (for more details on these opportunities, visit our website). These are not the only ways people volunteer with Green Venture though, we also have interns, co-op students and all of our board members are volunteers.

Making paper during an EcoHouse open house

Making paper during an EcoHouse open house

Getting involved is easy:

  • Sign up for our Green Post (online Volunteer Mailing List) to receive regular updates on volunteer opportunities
  • Email volunteer (@) greenventure.ca to receive a Volunteer Application and information about current opportunities to volunteer
  • Visit Green Venture’s EcoHouse or speak with us at an event to learn more about volunteering
  • If you have skills or experience you would like to share as a volunteer let us know!

We hope you will come out and volunteer with us soon!

Community CarShare comes to the East End!

Green Venture has decided to do the green thing and trade in our two company vehicles for a Community CarShare membership. Community CarShare is a local non-profit co-operative organization. They were the first car sharing organization within Ontario starting in 1998 and have been a part of the Hamilton community since 2009.

How does it work?

The Community CarShare program is really simple. First, you sign up for a membership plan that is based on your needs. Once you are signed up and have received a safe driving orientation you are able to book any of the 53 CarShare vehicles (with 13 in Hamilton), and you are able to book up to 30 minutes in advance. The car is then charged on a pay-per-use basis. You are able to pick the type of car you need and then head to the closest available location to pick up your car, it’s as simple as that. You don’t even have to pay for gas, maintenance, or insurance, they are all included in your membership fee.

We used our Community CarShare membership to book the Toyota Tacoma to help us get everything for our booth from the EcoHouse to the Open Streets festival in Hamilton.

We used our Community CarShare membership to book the Toyota Tacoma to help us get everything for our booth from the EcoHouse to the Open Streets festival in Hamilton.

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Our helper with the CarShare!

There are many benefits for anyone to change from using a personal vehicle to joining the Community CarShare. Some of the benefits are,

  • Financial: For a newer vehicle you will be cutting out those hefty monthly payments, or for an older car the growing maintenance costs. You do not pay for gas, which is constantly increasing, or insurance, as this is included in the membership fee. Additionally you are not paying for a place to park your car, and if you have an extra par
    king space you can potentially rent it out and make a profit! At Green Venture we did the math and we will be saving over $5000.00 dollars a year by switching to CarShare!
  • Social: You are contributing to a local co-operative organization within your community. You are also avoiding the stress of managing and maintaining a vehicle and lastly Community CarShare has made picking up and booking a car convenient and hassle free.
  • Environmental: By ditching your ride and joining CarShare you are diminishing the amount of cars on the road. This helps reduce CO2 emissions, while also reducing the amount of traffic and consequently the amount of idling on the streets, bettering our air quality within the city. Lastly if you do not have your own vehicle for transportation traveling becomes more of a conscious decision. This allows people to become more aware of their transportation choices and consider more environmentally friendly decisions such as CarShare, biking or walking.
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The Toyota Prius PHV plugged-in and recharging its batteries.

Green Venture is taking the environmental benefits one step further by introducing an electric vehicle into the Community CarShare organization. At Green Venture’s office building, called the EcoHouse, we have an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station, which was donated by EATON. The EV charging station is a place for plug-in cars to recharge and collect electric energy for their vehicles. The EV charging station will soon be the new location for the Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in (or Prius PHV), for Community CarShare. This hybrid utilises rechargeable batteries while in all-electric running mode, that only take two to three hours to charge and the vehicle can maintain high speeds and last a long distance. When using the Prius PHV compared to other gas guzzling cars of the same size you will be reducing your fuel consumption by 1650 litres and even better lowering your CO2 emissions by nearly 4000 kg per year! By Green Venture using not only CarShare but an electric vehicle we will be significantly reducing our carbon footprint and continuing our goal to live more sustainably.

Written by: Brittney Massey