ICLEI Conference Coming

ICLEI stands for "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives". Man, that is a really bad name for an organization. It's tagline explains things a bit better: "Local Governments for Sustainability".

So this big conference is coming to Edmonton next summer. There will be more than 500 delegates from all over the world trading information about how their "locality" (city, county, barangay) can become more environmentally sustainable.  read more... »

Riverdale NetZero Energy House - Grand Opening and CMHC Document

The Riverdale NetZero Project is having its grand opening on Friday, October 3rd, 2008. It will be open to the public from 11-4 on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 (more details here).

This duplex is a revolutionary project, one that has already had an influence on other building projects, and one that should be replicated thousands of times in the coming years. I'm grateful to CMHC for sponsoring it (as one of the winning entries in CMHC's EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative), and more importantly to people like Gordon Howell and Peter Amerongen for putting so many hours of volunteer labour into the project.

The duplex is a marvel of beautiful aesthetics and super-efficiency.  This graph compares each unit to a conventional home:  read more... »

Solar Retrofit - Part 3: Looking for Installation Help

As mentioned in my previous posts, I've signed a contract with Taylor Munro Energy Systems from BC for a solar thermal system to help provide space heat and domestic hot water.  My contract is for system design and
major component supply - it does not include installation.

I wonder if anyone familiar with the solar industry in Edmonton could put me in touch with local installers that could help me get my collectors installed on my house.  This is the proposed south elevation:


And the proposed east elevation:  read more... »

Federal Election 2008 : Voting for the Environment

There are tough times for green voters this upcoming federal election. The Conservatives, who are almost certain to win at least a term as a minority government, are a disaster on the environment. Instead of going into specifics, I'll direct you to the Sierra Club of Canada's Voters’ Guide to the Climate Crisis Election (pdf file). It gives the Conservatives a big fat F+ on the environment, by far the worst grade of any political party.

And please don't assume that this is a partisan analysis. I'm a green voter. Brian Mulroney was a green Prime Minister, and I would happily support Stephen Harper if he was too. He's just not. In fact, he just recently started to pretend to believe that climate change is real.

So what is a treehugging Edmontonian to do? The answer, if you live in Edmonton-Strathcona, is to vote for the NDP's Linda Duncan.  Longtime Reform/Alliance/Conservative incumbent Rahim Jaffer is regularly outvoted, but because the left-of-Jaffer vote is split three ways, he keeps getting the seat. Let's get this straight right now: the only legitimate anti-Jaffer vote is a Linda Duncan vote. In a highly annoying move, the Liberal candidate has been spending big dollars in her futile attempt to mine the NDP's considerable Strathcona vote base.

The fact is, the NDP vote has been increasing for four elections in a row. Here's the NDP vote versus Jaffer's:

NDP votes vs. Conservative votes, Edmonton-Strathcona

In 2006, Linda Duncan got about 17,000 votes, Jaffer got 22,000, and the Liberals got a bit over 9000 votes.

If you live in Edmonton-Strathcona, and you don't want to vote for Jaffer, please vote NDP. Linda Duncan has the best hope out of anyone in Alberta of beating a Conservative. It's maybe one in a hundred, but it is a chance.

Plus, Duncan is a longtime environmentalist. She's widely respected in her field, and she would make a strong voice for the environment in Parliament.

If you live elsewhere in Edmonton, your vote will be mostly wasted, because the Conservatives are going to slaughter everyone. I would vote Green, because it makes the party more legitimate, and they will get $1.50 more because of your vote due to Canada's public financing rules.