Newsletter 141, 18 March 2019
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Our March 24 presentation: “Carbon Emissions of the Construction Industry”
Andrew Melchers, a young local professional engineer, will give a free public talk on “Carbon emissions of the construction industry,” focusing on concrete, steel and wood, at the next Transition Brockville presentation, Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m., at the Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street.
While concrete is strong and versatile, its production generates a damaging amount of greenhouse gases and uses sand and water in vast and unsustainable quantities. Steel also generates greenhouse gases, but its virtue is that it’s recyclable. Maybe it’s time to think about returning to wood as an alternative building material – even for high-rise buildings, says Melchers. He’ll describe mass timber and cross-laminated timber construction.
Melchers, the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year, has a Master’s degree in civil engineering. His degree specialized in fire protection engineering and advanced topics in structural engineering. Last year he started his engineering firm, IN Engineering, based in Lyn. He’s on the board of the Rotary Club of the 1000 Islands, serves in the army reserve and with the Brockville Rifles, and volunteers in his community, including helping with reconstruction of the Five Mile Light, which burned last year.
All are invited to come hear Melcher s ’ discussion of the issue and ask him questions on the topic. (Those wishing to understand the pros and cons of concrete construction might like to read a series of articles and industry responses published recently in The Guardian, a British newspaper, at the following link: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/series/guardian-concrete-week .)
Upcoming Transition Brockville events/activities
April 28 – Recycling Plastic Waste – First, Lyndsay d’Entremont Price, the City’s solid waste officer, will speak on new regulations for recycling and how they’ll affect city residents. Next, David Bohn, of BBL Energy Inc. in Johnstown, will talk about a process for turning plastic waste (as well as used tires) into fuel. All of this is in the context of the federal government’s emerging zero plastic waste agenda, which recognizes that all types of value recovery – including waste-to-energy – are going to be needed to achieve the vision of zero plastics to landfills or to the environment. The presentation will be held at 2 p.m., at the Brockville Public Library, our partner for many years.
May 18 – Transition Brockville Seedling Sale – If you grow your own vegetable and flower seedlings, please consider growing some extras to donate to our Transition booth at the Brockville and District Horticultural Society’s annual plant sale on May 18. Also welcome are perennial flower, fruit and vegetable plants. Last year, our sales of plants and “Fritz Mix” rose fertilizer raised over $300 to support Transition initiatives. We will also need one or two people to sell plants that day. If you are interested, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org . And don’t forget to come buy plants at the sale!
May? June ? – Another “Green” Drinks (possibly focusing on a local green business or on electric/hybrid vehicles)
“ Life hacks” learned at Transition Brockville’s first “GREEN” DRINKS
The Union Jack Pub provided a congenial setting for Transition Brockville’s first casual “Green” Drinks evening on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. Fourteen people, ranging from retirees to young people, gathered to learn about the federal government’s carbon pricing plan, going into effect April 1.
Michael Wiggin explained why it’s necessary to put a price on carbon emissions ($20 per tonne in 2019, rising to $50 per tonne in 2022) in order to encourage businesses and individuals to depend much less on the fossil fuels that are causing the planet to warm, resulting in climate change. Over the four years of this first plan, a family of four can expect the tax to cost them $1,680, BUT for that same period they will receive a total rebate of $2,100 from the tax revenues. Remember to claim your rebate on your 2018 tax form!
Businesses know what the tax (which increases each year) will cost them, and with this certainty they can plan. Industry loves certainty, Michael said. The carbon price will stimulate innovative ways to use less fossil energy.
Families and individuals can take advantage of “life hacks” that can save them money and lower their carbon emissions at the same time. Patricia Sutherland, our facilitator, broke us into three groups to share ideas on simple things anyone can do to be more energy-efficient.
Michael presented the scenario of a family with a full-size car they drive 20,000 km a year. Their fuel bill is about $2,400 per year, based on gasoline at $1 per litre. Their four-year gas bill would be about $9,600. If the family does nothing to be more fuel efficient, once they start paying the carbon price on gasoline (additional 4.42 cents per litre, rising to 11.05 cents per litre in 2022) their fuel bill will increase by a total of $740 over the four years to $10,300. How can they save money?
1. Reduce the kms driven in the car by using active transportation (walking, cycling) when possible. If they drive only 10,000 km, they will cut by 50% the cost not only of fuel but also of the carbon fee they pay.
2. Change to an efficient compact hybrid that gets 100 km per 5.1 litres. Savings on gas and carbon fee would be nearly $6,000 over four years.
3. Drive a hybrid and reduce kms driven , which is even better, saving $8,000 over four years.
4. Reduce highway speed from 120 kmph to an ideal 90 kmph, reducing fuel c onsumption by as much as 50%.
5. Other tips to reduce gas consumption :
Coast to traffic lights to reduce braking and time your arrival at the light so that it’s turning green and your car does not need to come to a full stop.
Keep the idling of your engine to a minimum, and
No “warming up” time when a car is first started.
Plan your route to avoid left turns
Try a diesel Smart car
OTHER LIFE HACKS
Efficient home heating
High-efficiency furnaces and boilers save fuel
Set programmable thermostat to as low a winter room temperature as you can stand while wearing layered clothing.
Make and install interior “storm” windows in old houses, using thick clear plastic attached to wooden frames, with weather stripping between frame and window. These can be reinstalled winter after winter.
In winter, pull heavy curtains over windows to keep in warmth at night.
In summer, close windows and shades to keep sun and heat out; open windows at night for cool air.
In winter, let the sun heat your home. Plant deciduous trees near house, to shade it in summer but let sun through in winter.
When building a fire in a wood stove, if the air inlet is at front of stove (back of stove box is “north”), set logs east-west for a long burn, criss-cross for a light burn, or north-south for a hotter fire.
To increase efficiency of radiators, place reflectors behind radiators on outside walls in house.
Look for air leaks and weatherstrip or caulk them. Consider having a home heating audit done.
Buy or make draft stoppers for doors.
Reduce the need to keep heating water by taking “navy” showers (i.e., infrequent!) and making showers short.
Refrigerator/freezer tip – Pack the freezer, which makes it more energy efficient, BUT don’t pack the refrigerator: better air flow in the fridge makes it more energy efficient.
Workshop ideas wanted!
What would you like to learn to do in order to live a simpler, more resilient life? Make your own soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies? Be able to repair and mend things? Make a rocket stove? A solar oven? Transition Brockville would like to draw on the talents and experience of its members to help others live more sustainably and be more resilient. Tell us what you’d like to learn. Tell us what you’d like to demonstrate. Let’s see what we can put together! Write to email@example.com.
Seedy Saturday a great success!
More than 400 people turned out March 5 for the 5 th annual Seedy Saturday sponsored by Transition Brockville and the Brockville Public Library!
Local events/dates of interest to Transitioners
March 25, 2019 – Rideau 1000 Islands Master Gardener Astrid Muchalla will discuss ecological approaches to caring for your lawn for long-lasting performance, health and beauty, at the Brockville and District Horticultural Society meeting, 7 pm, Brockville Wesleyan Church, 33 Central Ave. All welcome ($2 guest fee). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 14, 2019 – Repair Café Kingston is a community initiative of the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship that promotes repair as an alternative to tossing things out. “We are hosting free monthly meet-ups on the second Sunday of each month, 2- 4:30 pm, at Unitarian Place (206 Concession Street). Bring your broken items and we will work with you to fix them on the spot with the help of our fixers. We can help you fix your clothing and textiles, wooden items and furniture (including upholstery), bicycles and skateboards, electrical items, toys and stuffed animals.” Email: email@example.com
April 14, 2019 – Sustainability Fair, Market and Electric Vehicle Show, 9 am – 2 pm, Municipality of North Grenville, 285 County Road 44, Kemptville . Free admission. Come meet local vendors, participate in presentations on renewable energy, sustainability, and see the region’s biggest electric vehicle show in the arena.
April 20, 2019 – Deadline for your input on Ontario government’s discussion paper on reducing litter and waste in our communities. Follow https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4689
April 25, 2019 – Transition Brockville has learned from the Environmental Justice Committee at St. Paul’s Anglican Church that there will be an interesting talk on “Restoring Ecological Function” April 25 at Kingston’s St. George’s Cathedral.
Join our Facebook group for news on sustainable living
Members of our steering committee frequently post items to the TB Facebook page, so if you are on Facebook, join the group and have a look at our page.
Want to be more involved with Transition Brockville?
Come to our next steering committee meeting, Wed., April 3, 2019, 7-9 p.m., at Royal Brock Retirement Living, 100 Stewart Blvd., Brockville. Call 613-345-4020 for more information.