A home without a furnace?

the house you can heat with a hair dryer

Passive houses” are popping up in Ottawa — proof of a concept that’s taking off worldwide. They are beautiful, comfortable homes. They also happen to use a tiny fraction the energy of conventional homes. They’re affordable — but ready to weather energy hikes and climate change alike.

So why aren’t more people building them? “Home buyers buy the finishings, not the home”, say the builders. In other words, the typical buyer is more likely to be sold on granite countertops, than on a properly built home. When it comes to new homes, we’re colour blind. We continue to build cold little boxes that are becoming nothing less than death traps, in the face of a changing world.

Choosing a passive house:

  • is much more comfortable than other homes
  • is comfortable and resilient in all weather — from deep freezes to heat waves
  • saves money year after year
  • saves energy, year after year
  • reduces ghg emissions
  • is slightly more expensive to build, but pays for itself in energy savings

In many parts of the world, building codes already stipulate that only passive houses can be built.

Will we continue to be distracted by shiny countertops, locking us into a cold, unsustainable future? Or will we wake up and get up with the times?

Passive houses in and near Ottawa:

Resources:

Passive House Canada — national non-profit organization advancing a green building standard in Canada/ “Our mission is to make the International Passive House standard of building performance understood, achievable, and adopted by government, industry, professionals, and homeowners across Canada through education, advocacy, events, and building projects.” passivehousecanada.com

“Comfort is key in a passive house — Passive homes are the height of energy efficiency, but getting average owners to buy in to the extra cost remains a tough sell.” (Ottawa Citizen)

Canadian Green Building Council (many shades of green including Passive House cagbc.org

Green Building and Environmental Jobs

Run, hide, pretend it’s not happening?

Think about it.

If I walk down the street naked, harming nobody, I’ll be arrested.

But if I drive a belching muscle car down the same street, or idle it for hours, I’ll be fine.

Nudity is a crime — but escalating the Climate Crisis and endangering millions of lives, is still  considered a normal, acceptable thing to do.

Air travel causing climate change

At this moment, a friend is flying to BC — where Climate Fires of historic proportions have created so much smoke it’s dangerous to exercise. She’s going hiking.

Not to judge, but spot the irony here? Flying is the single worst thing you can do, to inflate the fires and drive us towards climate disaster.

Are we totally out of touch with reality?

In the age of climate breakdown, we still feel it’s “okay” to fly, to drive for fun, to use as much energy as you like.

It’s “okay”, it’s “normal”, “everybody else does it”.

We’re facing fires, floods, drought, famine — yet we’re more concerned with vacations, shiny cars, home renos. We save for retirement, while at the same time destroying our chances of having anything left to retire to.

While we dilly-dally, the planet burns. We edge dangerously closer to a runaway climate scenario / tipping point — mass famine, even the end of civilization.

Photo of car with road kill

Are our lives, our morals dangerously out of date?

Should recreational, gratuitous use of fossil fuels be shameful, the new nudity?

Or, impose enormous carbon taxes to fund climate action, mitigation?

When will we take our feet off the gas?


What do you think? How does this make you feel?

(a) Not my fault / not my problem
(b) It’s overblown / “climate is always changing”
(c) We’re screwed, nothing you can do about it
(d) China’s fault / the US / rich people / anybody other than me
(e) I’m going to DO something, as long as I am able



 

Eco-friendly gift ideas

christmas-gift-01

This year, will your Christmas be eco-friendly? With a little thought, it can be environmentally friendly — as well as more fun and rewarding for all. “Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.” (George Monbiot) / Eco-friendly Christmas Gift Ideas

War, Peace and Remembrance

What you can do | Peace groups and organizations

war-no-more-10If we love our kids, the least we can do is give some serious thought to peace, greed and violence. It’s the biggest single issue affecting our future. Bigger even than climate change, which is likely to cause many wars, if we don’t act sensibly.

What does “Remembrance Day” mean to you? Is it still about remembering the horrors of war — preventing it from happening again? Or has it become the opposite, a celebration of military might, the ‘glory’ of war? If it’s not about “never again”, then what? Does it fan the flames of nationalism, militarism — the kind that starts wars, not ends them?

Continue reading “War, Peace and Remembrance”