Green Impact Guelph

I attended a seminar on Saturday sponsored by Guelph Environmental Leadership.  They have an aggressive program to reduce electricity and water consumption.

They distributed 15000 energy savings kits, using volunteers going door to door, and going into businesses to distribute kits to employees.  The kits included low flow shower heads, compact fluorescent light bulbs, copper pipe insulation for hot water pipes etc.  Remarkably, they accomplished this distribution – 36 skids full – in a few months.  Funding for the kits came from Union Gas and Guelph Hydro’s conservation programs.
There was an interesting presentation by Reid Homes.  They built a LEED Platinum demonstration house in Guelph.  LEED is a Green Building Rating System, and of course platinum is their highest level.  The house scores 92 on the Energuide rating scale.  R2000, long considered a very high rating, scores 80.

The house includes in-floor heating, low E windows, and a ground source heat pump.  The heat pump is augmented by 3 solar thermal collectors, that send their surplus heat into the ground in the summer, for use in the winter.  The result is that they are achieving a rather stunning performance, with a Coefficient of Performance of over 6.  That means one unit of electricity makes 6 units of heat.

They use a Power Pipe to recover heat from waste hot water.  This is a passive device that uses the waste water to pre-heat water going into the hot water tank.  They claim to be able to reduce the energy consumption to heat hot water by as much as 40%.  The payback on this device is so good that Reid’s is going to integrate it into all of their new homes.

The home has a cistern to collect rain water, then uses that water for outdoor use, as well as for laundry, dishwashing, and toilets.  The toilets are dual flush, with a 3 litre and 6 litre flush.  These types of toilets are readily available in the world, so Reid is integrating these as a standard feature as well.

Reid estimates that total operating costs for the home, including electricity and water, is less than $900 per year.

Guelph Solar was there.  They have formed a buying co-operative to purchase photovoltaic systems.  They have negotiated a good price – $24,000 for a 3 KW system.  So far, they have only 6 buyers.  But still, 6 solar installations of this size in Guelph is a start.

The seminars after the talks were organized by ward, with each table discussing strategy on how best to achieve energy and water reduction goals in their neighbourhood.

Guelph Environmental Leadership is leading the way on community action.  My hat is off to them.

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