The Green Medium is an Emerald Award-winning, youth-run blog that seeks to innovate how we discuss and inform ourselves on environmental concerns.

Albertan Green Building and Communities: Part 1

   My mom and I “out in the country.”:

 My mom and I “out in the country.”:

Hello Green Medium Readers! This week I will briefly delve into the topic of Green buildings and communities in Alberta. In particular I will be looking at a Albertan company called Carbon Busters that does great work in the field. 

Introduction to Albertan Green Buildings and Communities

My mom loves greenhouses and flower shops. She took me to my first greenhouse (to everyone's alarm) at the age of five days old. Throughout my childhood we would spend spring and summer weekends at greenhouses that were “out in the country,” aka about an hour drive outside the city. As I aged, it took longer and longer to get outside of the city. Now, it is about twenty minutes drive between the end of housing developments and the greenhouse we like.

Sprawl in Alberta is an issue, as you likely know. In Edmonton, there is a historic problem meeting even the unambitious infill and densification goals put in place by the city. The city’s population will continue to grow and our current infrastructure trends make this a daunting thought. There are many reasons why we cannot keep growing out, the main being that it is expensive to do so. If a city grows within the same boundaries, individuals can use existing infrastructure −utilities, roads, and transit systems−rather than having to build and create these important and expensive resources. Equally important as the financials is the environmental impact of sprawl. The way we have built communities and homes is not sustainable. Many of Edmonton’s newer developments are larger homes in communities far outside the city. Not only do the houses consume a lot of energy, their location makes driving a near necessity, and occupies space once inhabited by plants and animals.

However, there is hope for the future of housing. Numerous interesting and innovative projects are being put in place to address problems with housing in Edmonton and around Alberta. Below, I share some of my favourites.

Amazing Green Housing Projects

There are some amazing green housing projects in Edmonton, including Peter Amerongen's NetZero housing and Carbon Buster's Neutral Laneway House. Both projects have the added benefit of addressing problems of infill.

"Peter Amerongen is a home builder in Edmonton, Alberta. His latest project is the first Net Zero multi-family housing in the country." (Transforming Edmonton)

Carbon Buster's Neutral Laneway House is an amazing example of carbon neutral housing. 

Future Communities in Edmonton

Blatchford

“Blatchford will be home to up to 30,000 Edmontonians living, working and learning in a sustainable community that uses 100% renewable energy, is carbon neutral, significantly reduces its ecological footprint, and empowers residents to pursue a range of sustainable lifestyle choices.”    

The Willows

The Willows is planned to be “... a zero carbon integrated sustainable community within Edmonton's city limits. The intent (of The Willows) is to design and develop a demonstration sustainable community with a zero carbon impact for operations that will showcase innovative green systems for water, grey water, waste treatment, power generation and green living practices with a focus on social justice, smart grid integration, research and education for sustainable development.“

For the rest of my series I will focus on the company Carbon Busters. They are responsible for the Carbon Neutral Laneway house (above) and are working to develop The Willows.

I recently worked with Carbon Busters for a few months to help them collect data from some of their sensors on a Carbon Neutral Garage Suite (the one featured in the video) and I am excited to share more of what they do with you.

 

:^) Till next time!

Elizabeth

Disclaimer: In my upcoming posts I'll be using the buzzwords “green jobs” or “green work” to mean any job or form of employment in the environmental or sustainability field. I think the words are worthy of their buzz, hopefully you will agree.

Notes:

Stolte, Elise. “Edmonton infill housing numbers hit a new low.” Edmonton Sun

Unknown Author, “ Zero Carbon Design/Build & Energy Efficiency Specialists”, Carbon Busters,

 

Albertan Green Building and Communities: Part 2

Albertan Green Building and Communities: Part 2

A New Chapter