Renewables

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

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

Soak it Up! Permeable Pavement Workshop

As fields become roads and forests become buildings, storm water from heavy rainfall has nowhere to go but into the sewers. When the quantity of water in our sewers reaches capacity, the water (which may be contaminated with garbage, oil, and chemicals) is sent to Lake Ontario untreated.

Many people are bothered by the sight of water sloshing off dirty road surfaces into sewers and contaminating our water supply. While we can’t exactly eliminate roadways, there are ways to replace impermeable surfaces on your property with permeable ones. Permeable surfaces help soak up water before it enters storm sewers. The water filters through the ground and is cleaned naturally by the earth before being dumped into Lake Ontario.

Come to EcoHouse (22 Veevers Drive, Hamilton) on Saturday, August 13th from 10:00am to 12:00pm to learn about the conveniences and benefits of using permeable pavement. This FREE workshop will provide you with the information you need to create your own permeable driveways and walkways at home. Need hands-on experience? You’ll be helping to install a small section of permeable pavement on the property. Be sure to pay attention—there is a lot of information to absorb!

For more information or to register, please contact Kathryn 905-540-8787 ext. 114 or email water@greenventure.ca

Want to learn more information about how you can help control storm water? Visit www.slowrain.ca

-Evan Gravely

Wind Power Kills Birds

Yes, it’s true: wind power kills birds.

However upsetting this is, it is an issue that needs to be put into context. To use bird deaths to argue against clean, renewable wind power may be unnecessarily confusing the issue.

Renewable energy, including wind power, is something naturalists support.

Bird Death in Context

I realise that nearly everything we do has an effect on environmental, animal, and human health. It’s a matter of smart choices, balance, and of mitigating the detrimental effects of our actions. In terms of bird deaths, the experts say that wind power is the best option.

Consider the following information on bird deaths from Ontario Nature:

Human-caused Annual Bird Mortality in the United States

Cause Number of Deaths
Building window strikes 1 billion
Cats Hundreds of millions. A study in Wisconsin estimated that domestic rural cats kill about 39 million birds annually in that state alone.
Transmission lines 174 million
Pesticides 72 million
Cars 60 million
Communications towers Up to 50 million
Oil and waste water pits Up to 2 million, mostly in western states
Oils spills Hundreds of thousand depending on timing and severity of spills
Wind turbines 33,000 (will increase with the rapid increase in wind energy generation projects)

 

The data in the chart above is from 2002 and wind power has grown much since it was published. However, even with the increase in wind power, the number of related bird deaths can be considered very low when compared to other causes.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the US’s total installed wind power capacity has increased by just over 8 times since 2001. Very roughly estimating the wind turbine bird deaths from the chart of 33,000 by a factor or 8.2, results in around 270,000 bird deaths caused by wind turbines in 2009. Still a very small number compared to other causes of bird deaths. However, is there anything we can do to reduce/eliminate bird deaths, and invest in clean, renewable wind power?

Let’s Ask the Experts

What do the bird experts say? Let’s have a look at the Audubon Society’s Statement on Wind Power.

The Audubon Society has been working for birds and conservation for over a 100 years. Their mission is: “To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”

Some in the anti-wind lobby argue that wind power is not environmental due in part to bird deaths they cause. From what I have read on the issue, it appears that birds are killed when they come into contact with a wind turbine blade.

Audubon Society’s Statement on Wind Power

“Every source of energy has some environmental consequences. Most of today’s rapidly growing demand for energy is now being met by natural gas and expanded coal-burning power plants, which are this country’s single greatest source of the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming.

If we don’t find ways to reduce these emissions, far more birds—and people—will be threatened by global warming than by wind turbines.

Our challenge is thus to help design and locate wind-power projects that minimize the negative impacts on birds.”

Collaborating to Solve Problems

What can we do to minimize bird deaths?

Recognizing that bird death is an important issue, the Audubon Society is working with industry to find solutions:

“On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming.

Location, however, is important. Many National Audubon Society Chapters and State Programs are actively involved in wind-power siting issues in their communities.

Each project has a unique set of circumstances and should be evaluated on its own merits.”

Let’s get on with investing in our renewable energy future. However, let’s follow the Audubon Society’s lead and work with the industry, community groups, and residents for a cleaner and healthier future for all. Now that’s a policy for the birds!