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PCPC : Parent Co-Operative Preschool Corporation

PCPC: Parent Co-operative Preschool Corporation

Going Green

"Going Green!" is a regular section of the PCPC e-newsletter. All our "Going Green!" tips can also be read here, together with other environment-friendly suggestions for our members and their schools.

Going Green 23: January 15, 2010

Stop Making Garbage…

This is even more important than recycling. A waste-free lunch means you have NO packaging to throw away when you’re done — nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits. Use the following to perfect your lunches:

Koru Fundraising is available as a resource for the above products.
http://korufundraising.com/

Believe that you are making a difference…

Regardless of your actions, you are currently making an impact whether it’s negative or positive…choose positive and watch how others follow … set the trend!

Going Green 22: December 17, 2009

Give Environmentally Friendly Gifts During the Holiday Season!

A green holiday season may take a bit more advance planning than heading to your local mall, but going green can be a powerful statement of your beliefs by using your spending dollar to send a powerful message.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Instead of buying something brand-new, try making gifts and wrapping by using recycled or salvaged materials. Gift bags can be made by using scrap pieces of colourful cotton cloth. Instead of buying a brand new book, CD or DVD, see if you can find one in good condition at a second-hand book or music store. For those looking for gifts for kids, you can make great sock puppets out of the solitary socks lurking in the bottom of your drawer.

Get creative! Going green means you’re saving useful materials from the landfill and avoiding the environmental impact of buying something brand new.

Give Handmade Gifts – Ask yourself what kind of crafty skills you have, and use those skills to make gifts for friends and family. Most people are delighted to receive a handcrafted gift because of the investment of time, love and creative energy it represents. If you excel in the kitchen, try making preserves, cakes, pies or bread. If you like to work with wood, use your skills to craft CD racks or spice shelves. If you knit, try stuffing a pair of hand knit socks into a stocking this year. If you’re not comfortable making gifts, or simply lack the time, you can give something green by buying products made locally. Buying gifts made by local artisans and craftspeople supports the artists in your midst and boosts your local economy, as well as avoiding the carbon emissions caused by shipping.

Share an Experience – What do you give those people who have everything? Instead of buying them another gadget that they might already have and probably don’t really need, give them an experience. An afternoon of horseback riding, a massage or pedicure, a session in a pottery studio or tickets to a concert or play are all environmentally friendly gift ideas. Many gifts given each holiday season end up buried in the back of the closet by January, and eventually make their way to the landfill, but an experience will last forever in someone’s memory.

With a little creativity and ingenuity, a green gift can be found to suit everyone on your list. Now is a great time to put your environmentally friendly thoughts into practice, and the more we practice living green, the more it becomes a natural way of living.

Third Annual Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys Released 2009 Holiday Shopping Season http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/toys/index.php

Going Green 21: December 4, 2009

Extra Ideas…

  1. Close the Refrigerator Door. By leaving it open for just a few extra seconds, you waste a lost of energy. Decide what you want before you open the door, then get it and close it right away!
  2. Avoid fast-food. Most fast-food is over-packaged and most fast-food companies are responsible for producing mountains of trash. By avoiding fast-food whenever possible, you’ll help reduce this needless waste.
  3. Don’t Buy Aerosols. There are environmentally better packages for most products. Aerosols can’t be recycled — which means that they are guaranteed to end up in landfills — and some of their ingredients contribute to air pollution. Instead of aerosols, look for spray bottles, liquids and powders (all in packaging that can be recycled).

Going Green 20: November 20, 2009

Tim Hortons and the Environment!

As Canada’s largest provider of coffee (covering 80% of Canada’s coffee needs daily) Tim Hortons has a huge responsibility when it comes to the environment!

Tim Hortons is trying to be very conscious of the impact that their packaging and waste materials has on the environment. They are attempting to deal with the litter issue in a variety of ways:

They have anti-littering messages on all packaging, including a ‘Do Not Litter’ message on all take-out cups. Sadly, many people unfortunately do not pay attention to these messages.

Some individual Tim Hortons stores hold local clean-up events and activities in their communities.

Tim Hortons is one of the few, if only, quick service restaurants to offer china mugs, plates and bowls to customers eating in their stores – this helps to reduce paper waste at the store level.

All Tim Hortons stores sell reusable Tim Mugs – and while a Tim Mug may not be a practical solution for the majority of customers, it does provide a good alternative. The incentive for purchasing a Tim Mug is that the customer pays less for their coffee when using their mug.

Tim Hortons is always researching alternative packaging materials, particularly those that are recyclable and/or biodegradable.

Going Green 19: A Brief Overview of “Green IT for Dummies”: October 27, 2009

Part One: Gearing Up to Go Green — Considering motivations for change!

When the benefits of changing to greener products or systems are expressed in terms of money, risk or brand, organizations start to sit up and take notice.

Remember: Carbon dioxide and its equivalents, such as methane and nitrous oxide (referred to collectively as CO2e) are the main focus of concern or governments and other organizations. These harmful emissions provide a yardstick by which progress can be measured with respect to climate change. Some activities connected to IT harm the planet and the people on it in other ways as well. Certain manufacturing processes pollute the air, the soil and the water and deplete non-renewable resources. Such actions bring short-term benefits but they’re unsustainable over a longer timescale.

IT-related CO2e emissions alone have been estimated at 2% of the world’s total. Not only can everyone work together to reduce this figure, but IT itself can support the greening of other processes as well (the remaining 98%)!

Don’t restrict your thoughts to CO2 emissions only — think in terms of ‘before, during and after’ a product’s lifetime when considering the impact on the environment. Whether its energy, equipment or ancillary supplies, each comes with:

The good news is that manufacturers are improving their processes at each of these life stages, from minimizing harm ‘before’ use by employing cleaner and leaner sourcing and manufacturing techniques, by designing products that consume less energy and materials ‘during’ use and helping with reuse and recycling ‘after’ use. Manufacturers are also beginning to produce environmental information that you can use when making your buying choices.

Part Two: Cleaning Up IT — Balancing benefits and costs!

The reach of IT is wide, and every element provides an opportunity to reduce environmental harm. Sometimes the benefits accrue immediately and sometimes they take longer. Sometimes you need to change behaviour and at other times you need a change in procurement or operational systems.

Before: Purchasing Strategies

A good way to start cleaning up your IT is to include environmental questions in your purchasing requests. You can find many public databases where suppliers offer information about themselves and their products (check out EPEAT and the Carbon Disclosure Project). Many goods come with labels certifying their environmental standards, such as their recyclability, their avoidance of harmful chemicals and their energy efficiency and so on.

Remember: Your aim in purchasing should be to look at the whole life implications of your acquisitions, including the opportunities for reusing or recycling products when you’ve finished with them!

During: A Day in the Life of IT Products

Once you’ve chosen the products that meet your specifications and environmental expectations, you need to think about how they’re used.

In the office…

Look around any office and you’ll probably see computers and printers lying idle — unless the devices have a recognized environmental certification or label, or they have a sleep mode, they’re burning up at least half as much power when idle as when they’re working flat out.

Tip: When you’re not using them, drop devices into sleep mode, ready for when you come back. Ideally, if you’re going to be away for a while, you can just turn things off. Don’t forget that machines with external power supplies draw current, even when the device itself is switched off. If the charger feels warm, it’s drawing current.

Consider your printers — use draft and duplex modes to optimise your use of consumables and paper. You can review and share documents on screen and print on demand only, reducing the number of unnecessary prints. Many companies have found that consolidating a large number of personal printers into fewer central models can improve cost management, while saving on energy and paper use.

Tip: Think about replacing your monitor screens, especially if they’re cathode ray tubes, which consume power continuously and were designed with no thought to recycling. Instead, buy flat screen monitors that consume little or no energy when in standby mode. Some computers shift to standby mode automatically after a certain period of inactivity.

Out of the office…

Most people use either a laptop or a PDA, or both, when they’re on the move. These bring new issues — do you leave mobile phone, notebook and PDA chargers plugged into a live power supply, even when nothing’s being charged? What do you do with your mobile phone at the end of its life? Most people put them away in a drawer ‘just in case’ rather than reusing them or recycling them. Instead, look out for recycling schemes, ranging from bulk collections (ideal for out-of-date office mobiles) to freepost addresses for small quantities. Equipment is refurbished when possible or stripped for precious metals and components when not (remember to include the power supply when returning used equipment).

After: What Happens Next?

After you’ve finished with your IT products, what happens when they’re no longer needed? In nature, organic materials rot down and feed future growth, so why not dismantle products at the end of their lives and use the elements as raw materials for future products? Several reputable computer manufacturers use metal and easily-separated plastics in order to maximize raw material reuse.

Remember: It’s important that the environmental costs of recovery don’t exceed the benefits expected. And that, of course, loops back to design in the first place.

The priorities for all material things are reduce, reuse and recycle — in that order of importance. If you can extend the working life of your IT products, you reduce the environmental consequences of mining, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and disposal.

Can you upgrade something rather than finish using it? If you have to replace it, can someone else inside the organization use it? If not, charities and refurbishing organizations may be able to extend the life of the product. Also, waiting at the end of the line, many organizations, including some manufacturers themselves, are willing to take equipment back and recycle the components into new products.

Part Three: Greening Your Organization — Reusing energy!

IT to the Rescue: Preventing Energy Waste!

Although IT devices consume energy, you can use them to control energy, particularly electricity consumption.

Tip: You can use IT systems to take care of building management. For example, using movement sensors, thermostats can be adjusted, lights switched on and off, and computers switched off out of hours and reawakened for software upgrades.

Part Four: Changing Staff Attitudes and Taking Action!

Tips and Suggestions…

Part Five: Ten Links to Inspire you Further!

  1. Climate Futures: The economic, political, social and psychological consequences of climate change: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/files/Climate%20Futures_WEB.pdf
  2. Cradle to Cradle: Michael Braungart and William McDonough wrote an influential book called Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which sensibility suggested that manufacturing processes should, as far as possible, mirror nature’s cycles: http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm
  3. Energy Star: Save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices: http://www.energystar.gov
  4. EPEAT: Evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on environmental attributes: http://www.epeat.net
  5. Green Grid: Follow energy efficiency developments in data centres and business computing ecosystems: http://www.thegreengrid.org
  6. Green Computing: Find out more about the role of IT in the push towards environmental sustainability: http://www.freeformdynamics.com/fullarticle.asp?aid=140
  7. Hewlett Packard: The starting point for the company’s many environmental initiatives: http://www.hp.com/environment
  8. Our Common Future: A full hypertext version of The Brundtland Report, a sustainable development report published by the UN: http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm
  9. The Carbon Disclosure Project: Find primary climate change data from the world’s largest corporations: http://www.cdproject.net
  10. The Worldwide Fund for Nature: IT solutions that help business and the planet: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/it_user_guide_a4.pdf

Going Green 18: September 18, 2009

Travel Time!

Who’s Green?

This new section of the PCPC electronic newsletter will provide you, your Centre and the families who use your services with the contact information for organizations that care about the environment and it shows in the products and services that they offer!

Your Healthy House
Contact: Stephen Collette, Principal
Telephone: (705) 652-5159 (telephone)
Email/Website: stephen@yourhealthyhouse.ca (email); www.yourhealthyhouse.ca (website)

General Information: Your Healthy House is a company that completes environmental assessments on homes and advises homeowners, builders, designers, architects and medical professionals on how to achieve healthy indoor environments. The work is of particular importance to clients with allergies, environmental illnesses and multiple chemical sensitivities, for whom a healthy house is essential to overall health. Stephen and Your Healthy House also advise corporate clients on energy efficiency and sustainable building.

Going Green 17: September 3, 2009

Climate Change Can Be Funny!

Who’s Green?

This new section of the PCPC electronic newsletter will provide you, your Centre and the families who use your services with the contact information for organizations that care about the environment and it shows in the products and services that they offer!

Planet Bean
Address: 259 Grange Road East, Unit 2, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 6R5
Telephone/Fax: (877) 758-2326 (telephone); (519) 837-4297 (fax)
Email/Website: info@planetbeancoffee.com (email); http://www.planetbeancoffee.com (website)
General Information: Planet Bean coffee is fair trade and organic! Fair Trade Certification ensures that farmers are paid a fair price for their goods, those goods are not made using child labour, and environmental sustainability is maintained!
Planet Bean also offers a great fundraiser! They provide order forms and samples (you can adjust for your customers). You collect orders, send them to Planet Bean and they ship the order within two weeks… it’s that easy!

Going Green 17a: Waste reduction special: August 31, 2009

Top 50 Waste Reduction Tips for Business – What Can Your Centre Do?

(These tips are based on a list originally developed by the Eco-Efficiency Centre at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia; Adapted for use in Ontario with permission)

  1. Know you waste – understanding what your wastes are and how much waste your centre is generating will help you develop the most cost effective, waste reduction program
  2. Keep up-to-date with existing provincial and municipal legislation concerning solid waste management; you must ensure that all banned materials are being diverted from your garbage
  3. Contact the Ontario Waste Materials Exchange to buy, sell or give away business wastes (http://www.owe.org/)
  4. Educate everyone in the Centre about your waste management system; employees and families need to know what is expected of them – include information on solid waste management and policies, and provide hands-on training in orientation session with new staff; reinforce the message regularly
  5. High staff turnover? It is particularly important to provide extensive amounts of education and training to employees; the key is to make separation easier, by simplifying separation procedures as much as possible
  6. If you have customers and suppliers that access your waste containers, you may need to educate them on recycling and composting to reduce contamination (this may simply be posting information for these groups near the bins)
  7. Consider arranging tours for families/staff to composting or recycling plants; this may trigger everyone to be more interested in your programs
  8. Pass on any waste diversion cost savings (recycling means you spend less on garbage disposal!) to your staff as an incentive for them to recycle; the money could fund a staff social event, or be donated to a charity chosen by your employees, or consider instigating a reward program for outstanding employees who make extra efforts in ‘greening’ your workplace
  9. Reward individual employees for ‘contaminant-free’ recyclables/organics; offer incentives such as small gift certificates to good performers
  10. Create contests to maintain interest in the program
  11. Designate an environmental champion to do regular checks on the systems’ effectiveness and family/employee compliance
  12. Provide everyone at the centre with updated information on how programs are succeeding (using graphics, like a thermometer, to chart progress is effective); tracking success is important to keeping everyone interested and to marketing your efforts
  13. Place recycle bins in convenient locations so families/staff will use them instead of garbage containers
  14. Some professionals recommend getting rid of many regular waste containers to encourage recycling and separation
  15. Label and/or colour-code bins appropriately; list the specific materials that can (and cannot) go into the bins
  16. Make sure containers are appropriately sized; bins that are too small or too large can create problems
  17. Don’t overlook organics/compostable materials; even in small organizations, you need a plan to keep lunchroom and landscaping waste out of the garbage stream; at a minimum, implement a ‘Take-It-Home’ policy for your organics
  18. Don’t forget that soiled boxboard, cardboard, newspaper and paper can also be added to your green bin if they are not too dirty for recycling.
  19. Keep waste materials (such as plastics and cardboard) clean to increase recyclables
  20. Purchase stationary with a high-recycled content and other office supplies with recycled and/or recycled content
  21. Buy solar-powered calculators, refillable pens, pencils and tape dispensers, and reusable calendars
  22. Purchase lunchroom condiments such as coffee, sugar and cream in bulk and dispense in reusable containers
  23. Purchase remanufactured cartridges
  24. Send spent photocopier, fax and printer cartridges, and printer ribbons for remanufacturing; some companies will arrange free pick up on an ‘as needed’ basis if you are purchasing a replacement cartridge; some stores now accept some types/brands of used cartridges at their retail outlets – check with office supply and retail stores as to the availability of these programs
  25. Email or circulate memos rather than copying for everyone
  26. Encourage staff not to print out emails unless necessary
  27. Set photocopiers and printers for automatic two-sided copies
  28. Check to see if fax machines, photocopiers, and printers are programmed so they do not produce unwanted header or report sheets
  29. Edit work-in-progress reports on a computer before printing it out on paper
  30. Use both sides of the paper for reports
  31. Encourage single spacing of documents; reduce font sizes and margin sizes wherever possible
  32. Write on the reverse side of sheets for scrap or general use
  33. Use fax tags (small, horizontal ‘post-its’) instead of fax cover pages
  34. Reuse large and/or padded envelopes for mailings
  35. Reuse cardboard boxes for outgoing shipments; produce a ‘We Reuse’ label to place on boxes – most customers will appreciate your efforts to reduce waste
  36. Use white board with erasable markers instead of paper flip charts
  37. Avoid over-production of marketing and publicity materials by reviewing distribution lists and regularly updating databases
  38. Establish a reuse centre in the office where employees can pick up unwanted binders, stationary supplies, etc. for use at home
  39. Put up a free, for sale, or wanted bulletin board at work
  40. Sell/give away old office equipment to employees or donate it to reuse centres or charitable organizations
  41. Donate used but still usable computers and other technology for refurbishing and distribution to schools, libraries and non-profit organizations
  42. Another option for used computers? Contact local e-waste recyclers for proper disposal
  43. Give away old copies of journals, newspapers and magazines to interested organizations or families/staff
  44. Have some in-house discussion about whether families/staff is willing to share journals, newspapers and magazines instead of ordering multiple copies
  45. Use linen towel dispensers or hand dryers instead of paper; if you use paper, make sure it has a high recycled content and that it goes into the green bin/organics stream
  46. Discourage the use of straws, paper napkins and disposable plastic stir sticks in the lunchroom; if you have to purchase disposables, try wooden stir sticks and paper napkins made from 100% recyclable wood fibres and compost them after use
  47. Encourage families/employees to bring drinks, soups, sandwiches, etc. in reusable or refillable containers
  48. Provide reusable mugs, reusable utensils and ceramic or china mugs, glasses, plates and bowls for families/employees
  49. Dispose of surplus/waste paints responsibly through appropriate hazardous waste channels or paint recycling facilities in your area
  50. Interest in battery recycling? Make recycling of re-chargeable and button cells a priority, and then consider programs for other types of disposable batteries’ contact battery retailers, or the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation for options

Going Green 16: August 17, 2009

More Car Ideas…

Who’s Green?

This new section of the PCPC electronic newsletter will provide you, your Centre and the families who use your services with the contact information for organizations that care about the environment and it shows in the products and services that they offer!

Real Food for Real Kids
Contact: Lulu Cohen-Farnell, Founder and President
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Telephone/Fax: (416) 410-5437 (telephone); (416) 534-0948 (fax)
Email/Website: info@rfrk.com (email); http://www.rfrk.com (website)
General Information: Healthy catering for kids of all ages!

Going Green 15: July 22, 2009

This issue we will take a look at how simple things that you do when operating your vehicle, can cut down on carbon dioxide.

Going Green 14: July 14, 2009

Water-Conservation and You!

Going Green 13: June 30, 2009

What Else Can I Do, You Ask…

Going Green 12: June 22, 2009

Congratulations! Every little change you make in your lifestyle helps the planet, and future generations — keep up the great work!

Recycling Newspapers… Did You Know?

Recycled newspapers end up as everything from toilet paper to roofing shingles… using one tonne of recycled newsprint means that 19 trees are left standing!

Going Green 11: June 8, 2009

Stepping Towards Sustainability!

Childcare Centres can help children develop a positive and respectful relationship with the natural world, and environmentally-responsible habits for life! Centres can provide endless opportunities to model environmental responsibility, inspiring our fellow members and children to tread lightly on the Earth.

The environmental impacts of running a Childcare Centre are significant: the carbon dioxide emissions from transportation and energy use, the solid waste created, the natural resources consumed for the production of school materials and food, and the water used, to name a few — but by making a few deliberate efforts, we can keep little feet from making big footprints on the Earth!

One great way to kick your Centre’s sustainability efforts up a notch is to designate a Sustainability Co-ordinator within the Centre — this can be a permanent position for one of your families (ensure that this someone is always paying attention to sustainability)!

What might the Sustainability Co-ordinator be responsible for?

What can you do to ‘green’ your Centre?

In deciding which projects to kick start your Centre’s sustainability efforts, you’ll need to consider the need, the time and financial resources involved, obstacles likely to be encountered, and whether the project will get people involved in and excited about sustainability.

The following are some relatively quick and easy projects to consider:

PCPC challenges you to think critically about the environmental impacts of your Centre and to collectively set ambitious goals for ‘greening’. Can you cut your solid waste production in half? Can you eliminate the use of new paper products? Can you off-set your carbon emissions? Can you carve out time every day or every week to let the children explore nature? A Childcare Centre can be an excellent vehicle to inspire environmental responsibility — let’s make the most of this opportunity!

Buildings and Green Power — What Can You Do to Help?

Going Green 10: May 27, 2009

Another valuable resource: http://aeceo.ca/content/how-green-my-program.html

This unique website offers information how to green your program — learn about alternatives and suggestions in four distinct areas of operation: resources, food, waste control, and awareness and education!

Composting, Buying Organic and Water-Conservation…

Going Green 9: May 6, 2009

Scotties is launching Canada’s first 100% recycled facial tissue!

The new Scotties EnviroCare addresses Canadian consumers’ growing demand for environmentally responsible purchase options without having to sacrifice quality or aesthetics — it is believed to be Canada’s first ever 100% recycled premium facial tissue — this new brand will be packaged in four chic, new and natural designs!

In addition to its 100% recycled fibre content, the new product also features environmentally responsible packaging — with 152 sheets per box, it uses less packaging compared to cartons with fewer sheet counts — and the box itself is recyclable!

What Can You Do this Week?

Going Green 8: April 27, 2009

Some of you will read the following tips and strategies for both energy and fuel conservation, and think – I do this already! If that’s the case, congratulations; and if not, see how many you can incorporate into your lifestyle…

Junking of Old PCs to Get Easier, Wiser!

Ontario residents can soon drop off unwanted computers and assorted electronics at more than 100 new sites, as part of an industry-funded program dedicated to diverting more electronic waste from landfill sites.

Some 17 municipalities, select retail chains and Salvation Army Thrift Stores have been certified to collect junked computer-ware, television sets, and printers and fax machines to bolster existing recycling programs.

The program, run by the Ontario Electronic Stewardship industry association aims to divert an extra 160,000 tonnes of electronic waster over the next five years! About 91,000 tonnes of e-waste is collected in Ontario each year, but only 25 percent is managed appropriately.

Where and When to Drop-Off Old Electronics:

For a location near you, visit www.dowhatyoucan.ca, and click on ‘Electronics’.

Going Green 7: April 9, 2009

What’s More Important that the Planet We Live On?

Absolutely nothing, and that’s why it is important for us to do everything that we can to preserve it for future generations!

Simple things that we can do everyday will greatly impact the current trends that our world is facing with respect to climate change!

The remaining 2009 electronic newsletters created by PCPC will focus on the simple, and easy to do tasks that will not only save you money, but will save our planet!

Going Green 6: April 2, 2009

Get New Views!

Replacing older, single-pane windows with new double- or triple-glazed units can save energy if they are installed to include air-leakage control around the frame. However, you can get almost as many savings by adding storm windows as you can with new double-glazed windows, at a fraction of the cost. Again, pay close attention to air-sealing when improving older windows. When it comes time to buy new windows, pay more for more efficient units. Over the long-term, the up-front cost will pay for itself in efficiency gains, and reduced energy use!

Are Fluorescent Lights Safe?

Should I be concerned about mercury exposure from compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)?

Fluorescent lamps (those long glass tubes) and compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones that can look like a soft-serve ice scream cone) both require the use of mercury for proper functioning, and should the glass tube of either break, the mercury could be released into the environment, possibly leading to mercury exposure – but that’s the bad news!

The good news, on the other hand, is that CFLs on average contain only 4 milligrams of mercury (compared to about 500 milligrams in older thermometers and anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 milligrams in most non-electric thermostats), which is enclosed within the durable glass bulb. Manufacturers are aware of this concern and they continue to find ways to decrease this number through advances in CFL technology. However, some mercury is still more than no mercury, so the EPA also put together a detailed guide about the proper disposal and clean-up procedures should a fluorescent light break (to view the EPA disposal and clean-up guide, visit: www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling or www.earth911.com to find local recycling options).

Going Green 5: March 9, 2009

Go Low-Flow to Save on Heating!

In most homes, heating water is second only to space conditioning in energy use. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can help lower your household water consumption and water-heating demand. So can using only cold water for clothes washing and laundering only full loads. If you have a private water system, conserving water will also reduce your pumping energy requirements and the load on your septic system.

Going Green 4: February 23, 2009

Seal Leaks and Deal with Ducts!

Similar to appliances and electricity, the tighter your home, the less fuel you’ll need to keep it warm. Start by identifying and sealing air leaks, which can be found around chimneys, window frames, and the top of the foundation walls where wood meets concrete, and plumbing and electrical chases. Sealing your home (and office too) against air leaks is the most cost-effective improvement you can make to reduce heating and cooling consumption while increasing your comfort.

Unless they are properly designed, sealed against leaks, and well insulated, heating and cooling ducts can account for tremendous energy loss to the unconditioned spaces which they travel like attics and basements. If you have forced-air heating and cooling, be sure to seal and insulate everywhere you can!

Going Green 3: February 9, 2009

Inexpensive Energy Fixes!

Lowering the thermostat is one sure way to reduce heating costs. On average, you can expect to save about 2% of the energy you use to heat (or cool) your home and office for every degree you lower (or raise) the temperature setting. Use a programmable thermostat and set it to lower the temperature 10°F when you’re sleeping or away from home or the office – or if there’s no danger of pipes freezing, you can turn it off completely (and no, it will not take more energy to reheat the house than you saved by keeping the thermostat turned down).

Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket and se the temperature as low as possible. Typically, a 1°F adjustment in your water heater’s temperature will result in a 1% change in energy use. You can use a timer to turn an electric water heater off when you don’t need it, but you will gain more in efficiency by using conservation strategies such as low-flow showerheads and insulating water heater tank wraps. If you’ll be away from home or the office for more than a few days, simply turn off the water heater entirely,

Timer controls and occupancy sensors work well on lights that tend to get left on, and multiple lighting circuits help put light only where you need it. Switched wall outlets or power strips allow you to turn thinks off (such as the entire entertainment centre or office peripherals) with ease.

Going Green 2: January 27, 2009

The following four solutions will help you reduce your carbon dioxide output, therefore helping in the fight against climate change!

Use a power strip for your computer, monitor, fax, copier, TV, DVD player, and cell phone chargers, and switch it off when those devices aren’t in use. Most electronics draw power even when they are off, including empty chargers in standby mode!

Change your light bulbs – swap out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents!

Turn off incandescent lights when leaving a room for even just a few minutes. If you use fluorescents, turn them off if you’re leaving for 15 minutes!

Cancel catalogues and remove yourself from junk-mail lists!

Going Green 1: January 13, 2009

Look for appliances with the worthwhile Energy Star label, and remember this: Be sure to go a step further and check how much energy your desired appliance will use compared to other Energy Star-rated options – there can be a wide range of energy use, even though they all meet the Energy Star standards. A home fully equipped with Energy Star products will operate on about 30 percent less energy than a house equipped with standard products!


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PCPC: Parent Co-operative Preschool Corporation
1571 Sandhurst Circle, PO Box 63512, Toronto, ON • MIV 1V0
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E-mail nancy@pcpcontario.org
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