Green at Home
For now, almost all learning and working at Bow Valley College is taking place from home. So while we have many wonderful sustainability initiatives at our campuses, for now we aren’t able to enjoy them in person. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t go green in our home classrooms and offices! Check out these 10 tips to get started.
10 Ways to Go Green at Home
1. Breathe easy. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colourless and odourless. To protect yourself and your family, make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home. Visit the City of Calgary website to learn more.
2. Keep it clean. We are all concerned about keeping our homes clean and safe from viruses and bacteria. When cleaning, use green cleaning products that do not produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Don’t mix cleaners together, as this can create toxic fumes.
3. Keep cool without A/C. If your home doesn’t have an air conditioner, or if you want to reduce your electricity use, you can stay comfortable by closing your windows and blinds when it is sunny and opening them in the evening when it is cooler. This keeps hot air outside during the day, and allows air to circulate in the evening.
4. Lights out. If your home has windows that let in light, take advantage of them! Work by daylight when you can. Besides saving electricity, natural light is associated with many health benefits.
5. Unplug from your devices. Most of us use computers and other devices all day: for work or homework, video-chatting with family and friends, online shopping, streaming videos, and much more. All of these are great activities, but staring at a screen all day can irritate your eyes and interfere with your sleep. Not only that, but our devices use a lot of energy. So take a break! Go outside in accordance with public health guidelines, read a print book, play a card game, or try anything else that gets you away from the computer for an hour.
6. Protect yourself from vampires. Vampire energy, that is! Did you know? Our devices use electricity whenever they are plugged in – even if we aren’t using them. One easy way to reduce your electricity use is to use a power bar. By switching it off, you also switch off the power to all the devices plugged into it.
7. Don’t go window-shopping in your fridge. When you’re working from home, do you find yourself getting up a lot to check what’s in your fridge? (Even though it hasn’t changed since you last checked!) Opening the door frequently means that the fridge has to work harder to keep the temperature cool, which wastes energy. So only open the fridge when it’s time to eat!
8. Keep your fridge organized. When it is time to eat, be sure to keep your fridge organized. Just like at the office, it’s no fun to discover a forgotten, unidentifiable item at the back of your fridge. Keep track of your leftovers so that you can eat them before they spoil. This reduces waste and saves money.
9. Snack sustainably. Be ready for breaktime with healthy, planet-friendly snacks. For guidance, check out Canada’s Food Guide. For a special treat, try Fairtrade coffee, tea, and chocolate. This way, you can treat yourself while also supporting the well-being of agricultural producers. Learn more about Fair Trade here.
10. Be smart with takeout. When you’re working from home, takeout and delivery offer a nice break from cooking. With one extra step, you can reduce the waste associated with your meal: when ordering online, type ‘No disposable cutlery’ in the special instructions section. You don’t need those when you’re eating at home!
Want to learn more ways to make your work and study spaces green? Sign up for the BVC Green online Sustainability 101 course! The course is free and open to all Bow Valley College learners and employees. To register, follow the instructions in this document.
South Campus is a LEED Silver building and North Campus is LEED Certified. LEED standards rate a building's environmental impact and performance. The building uses a lot of natural light and also has water and electricity saving features. This makes it a healthier place to work and study.
Check out some of our green-building initiatives:
- Washroom taps are touch-free. This reduces the risk of dripping faucets. Campus washrooms have low-flush toilets and urinals which also help reduce daily water use.
- Plants found in our rooftop gardens are local prairie plants that don't need a lot of water. Computers control watering based on need to reduce water use.
- South Campus uses district heating which is more efficient than natural gas. In this system, pipes bring warm water from ENMAX's District Energy Plant to heat the college. This helps us save energy. In fact, the energy saved is equal to taking 100 cars off the road each year for 25 years!
- Our buildings are almost completely lit by LED lightbulbs with motion sensors. If the sensors do not detect motion, the lights will turn off. We also received support from Energy Efficiency Alberta to replace all lightbulbs in our South Parkade with a more energy efficient option
- We monitor our progress on our Campus Green Screens. These interactive screens are located on the first floor of South Campus and third floor of North Campus. Take a look next time you pass by!