Canada has committed to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and we have many ways to get there. As concerned individuals, we often ask ourselves, , “What lifestyle changes can we make that reflect these goals?”
Why not make a New Years resolution to create a plan that will help you stay on track, on your path to Net Zero Living?
Plan the changes. Keep an energy use diary. Monitor current energy consumption in order to create a baseline so that you can compare to see the differences you have made from 2022 to 2023. Here are some easy steps to get you started:
- Create a diary where you note your current energy consumption of fossil fuels for home heating and auto, so that you can compare to future use.
- Plan to travel less. Combine trips for errands, so you go less often and shop local! Have a local staycation instead of a trip that burns airplane or auto fossil fuels.
- Planning on building a new home or renovating? New vehicle? - Canada’s target is zero new vehicle emissions by 2035. Add an EV charger in your garage or driveway. Even if you drive a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle , your EV friends or family will appreciate the plug-in when they visit.
- Upgrade your heating system. Do you have electric baseboard heaters or an old, gas furnace or a woodstove? Use power-smart rebates and add an energy efficient electric heat pump.
- Is there a future possibility of working from home? Create a permanent home office space now. If you are moving or renovating, plan to locate your home office in the corner of your large living room, master bedroom or spare bedroom. Double up small children, just like past generations did to free up a room. Ask your electrician to add in cable or ethernet hook ups or extra electrical plug-ins while you are getting your EV charger or heat pump installed.
- Re-Roofing? Consider adding solar panels to your roof after you have done your new roof installation. You will be amazed how low your electric bills will become. You may even produce extra power to sell back to the grid and contribute to your neighbourhood electricity CO2 reduction.
- Decrease the CO2 production from your food choices. Source local: markets, produce,, dairy, beer , wine? We certainly have all those in the Cowichan Valley. Just think of the trucks that you save from having to transport your food from the far reaches of Canada or the US, or worse, South America? Did you really need those peaches from Peru or tomatoes from Mexico?
- Source Local services: Drive less. We have it all in the Cowichan Valley. Hair Salons, Dentists, Banks, Doctors, Accountants to list a few. Check out your local neighbourhood Chamber of Commerce business list and community Facebook groups.
- Increase your garden size. Plan to grow more of your own vegetables and fruit. Our grandparents grew and canned their own fruit and vegetables. You can too. Pickled carrots in mid winder, canned beets for soups and salads, a large crop of frozen green beans can get you through half the winter. Jam from your own strawberries or Jam from France that came on ships and trucks to arrive in your kitchen. Which would you choose?
- Plan neighbourhood gardens or plan to share produce with your friends or family. Share what you grow rather than growing all your own individual varieties.
- Thinking of buying a new home? Consider that you can help reduce urban sprawl and create a home for those who are not able to purchase, by buying a home that has potential to have a rental suite or carriage house on the lot for legal secondary accommodation. Housing will become more important in the future as climates and cities are affected, migration will increase .
- Recycle less and reuse more. Recycling requires trucks to pick up and powered machinery to sort and transfer recyclables. Its amazing what you can store in reusable glass jars. Containers Everything from Ground Coffee to metal screws and fruit smoothies. Choose products without packaging from your local market in your reusable containers or baskets.
-Vida Glaser is a REALTOR on Vancouver Island
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