Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

What To Do After Hail Damage From a Storm

Friday, July 31st, 2015
What to do after hail damage from a storm

What To Do After Hail Damage From a Storm | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Did you know that the worst hailstorms in the world occur in the corridor in Alberta between Edmonton and Calgary? 

While hail storms do not happen frequently in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, they can cause significant damage to both your home and your vehicle. With hail that can reach the size of golf balls falling from the sky, it is not uncommon for hail to break windows, dent cars and damage the siding on your home.

“If you experience damage from a hail storm, call your insurance company immediately. All of the details of the storm and the damage caused will be fresh in your mind,” says Achiel Goossens, Senior Manager of Auto Claims with Aviva Canada.

If you have any questions about the claim process, talk to your insurance broker or insurer. They will be able to guide through the claim process. But, here are some important tips that everyone should follow if they experience damage from a hail storm:

1. Take photos: Photos are your proof that damage occurred. It will also validate your claim and move the claim process along quicker.

2. Record all details: Take note of all the specifics of the hail storm. Write down the time, location, and date of the storm and make note of all the damage that occurred to your home or vehicle.

3. File immediately: File your property damage claim as close to the event as possible. It is easier to file a claim when all the details are fresh in your mind, allowing you to complete the claim process quickly and efficiently.

Following these three easy steps will make your auto or property damage claim significantly easier. No one wants to experience damage from a hail storm, but knowing how to file a claim properly will make the process smoother and ensure that things go back to normal.

More information is available from your insurance broker or at avivacanada.com.

I’m happy to help you answer any home related questions.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

25 Easy Ways to Green Our Community This Summer

Friday, June 19th, 2015

25 Easy Ways to Green Our Community This Summer | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamWhether you have just a few minutes or are planning a large community project, every action can have a positive impact when it comes to greening our communities of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton. To help you get started this summer, and in celebration of its 25th anniversary, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation is sharing 25 easy ways to green where you live.

1. Volunteer for community greening projects
2. Pick up garbage at a local park
3. Volunteer at a community garden (or start one in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain)
4. Help build or teach at an outdoor classroom
5. Plant a tree (or many trees) that are native to our region
6. Put up a bird feeder or plant a butterfly garden
7. Plan a local shoreline cleanup
8. Host an eco-friendly party using biodegradable cutlery and food from local sources (Remember that Spruce Grove will help you host a Block Party.)
9. Walk, bike or take public transit instead of driving
10. Participate in your community’s recycling program
11. Upcycle old or out of date items around the home
12. Compost leftover food waste
13. Donate proceeds from a garage sale to local greening projects or your TD FEF chapter (tdfef.com)
14. Use organic fertilizer on your lawn
15. Collect rainwater and use it for your plants
16. Get a push mower for your lawn
17. Water your lawn deeply only once or twice a week
18. Participate in Meatless Monday
19. Learn about invasive species of plants and help with their removal
20. Add raised planters or container gardens to help green a paved play space
21. Start a “friends of” club to help protect your local parks and green spaces
22. Make sure to properly dispose of items like batteries and paint
23. Organize a carpool to work, school or day-camp
24. Create an adopt-a-tree program in your community
25. Use more natural cleaning products in your home

Donating and volunteering with an environmental organization can make a big difference. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation uses 100 per cent of funds donated to directly support local environmental projects. Since 1990, over $70 million has been raised to support more than 23,000 community initiatives. To learn about volunteering opportunities to help green where you live, visit www.tdtreedays.com.

What are your favorite ways of helping the environment?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Most of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Shedding a Different Light

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Shedding a Different Light | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow many incandescent light bulbs are in your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area?  This isn’t an idle question, or the beginning of a dumb joke, although the ban on incandescent bulbs that went into effect in Canada on January 1, 2014 may seem like a bad joke to some.

In case you missed it, as of January 1, old-fashioned light bulbs in their 75- and 100-watt formats are history in Canada.  You can still buy them until the old stock runs out but no more will be manufactured.  By the end of 2014 the ban will be extended to include the 40- and 60-watt versions.

There are plenty of people who are unhappy about this.  They point out that the incandescent bulb provides a soft warm dimmable light that alternatives such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LEDs can’t match.  They also note that CFLs and especially LEDs are much more expensive to buy.  And CFLs, because they contain mercury, must be disposed of in special facilities, a fact that many people using them may not be aware of.  In addition, CFLs may not work in temperatures less than minus 10 degrees Celsius.  Their lifespan can be significantly reduced if they are turned on and off rapidly, and they have a rare but nasty habit of catching on fire or smoking.

So why the ban on incandescent bulbs?  It’s all about saving the environment.  “In Canada alone, the federal government estimates that CFLs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than six million tonnes a year, or the equivalent of retiring 1.4 million vehicles. In Germany, the switch to energy-efficient bulbs will save the equivalent capacity of three nuclear reactors.”  (From an article in The Globe and Mail, Dec 27, 2012, entitled “The death of the incandescent light bulb”)

***Check out this great chart comparing the costs, energy efficiencies, environmental impact, advantages and disadvantages of incandescent bulbs vs. CFLs vs. LEDs. ***

More light facts:

  • Roughly 90% of the energy used to operate an incandescent bulb dissipates as heat rather than being used to provide light.  (Chicken farmers note that this is actually an advantage in the spring when they are raising baby chicks in a chilly chicken coop!)
  • The average life of an incandescent bulb is about 750 to 1000 hours, compared to 6,000 to 15,000 hours for a CFL (“Incandescent light bulb ban starts Jan. 1”)
  • Cost to buy:  incandescent bulbs 60 to 80 cents apiece; halogen bulbs around $2 each; CFLs $2.50 to $4; LEDs about $20 per bulb.  (The possibility exists that prices for the newer bulbs, especially LEDs, will decrease once incandescent bulbs are no longer being manufactured.)
  • Some incandescent bulbs will be exempt from the ban.  These include lights such as those in ovens and refrigerators that can’t be replaced with alternatives.
  • Manufacturers are working on improving the quality of the light in energy-efficient  bulbs.  “Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are the next big thing; global lighting company Osram Sylvania, for one, believes it has a winner with its “Ultra LED,” an omnidirectional mercury-free bulb that aims to give all the warmth of a 100-watt incandescent bulb while using just 20 watts of electricity.”  (“The death of the incandescent light bulb”, The Globe and Mail)

Maybe you’ve already made a trip to your local hardware store to buy up remaining stocks of incandescent bulbs, or maybe you’ve decided to give in to the inevitable.  At least we can still buy candles if we want soft warm light with a bit of heat!

What do you think of the ban on incandescent bulbs?  Have you already replaced all your bulbs with the energy-efficient ones?  Your comments and questions are always welcome.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

The River Valley Alliance

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One of Edmonton’s nicknames is River City, and the River Valley Alliance is working hard to make that much more than a catchy phrase.

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHaven’t heard of the River Valley Alliance?  If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors and who is concerned about preserving the natural beauty around us for generations to come, this is something you’ll want to learn about and get involved in.

The goal of the River Valley Alliance since 1996 has been to “Preserve, Protect and Enhance” the valley of the North Saskatchewan River.  Seven municipalities within the valley (Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and City of Fort Saskatchewan) collaborate to create a continuous river valley park system connecting the 22+ parks and numerous trails in Alberta’s Capital Region, stretching all the way from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.  The end product is a continuous span of 88 km, longer than any other urban park in North America. At 18,000 acres, it is also one of the largest, making it 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York City. 

The official River Valley Alliance brochure points out that “the River Valley is a defining symbol of Alberta’s Capital Region, a green corridor along the North Saskatchewan River that offers:

      • a preserve for wildlife and native vegetation
      • an escape to nature for residents and visitors
      • opportunities for year round outdoor recreation, family fun and community events
      • a place to connect to others and with yourself”

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamRVA’s main role is to coordinate planning and development along the river valley and to access financial and public support for the project.

RVA’s brochure also suggests several ways each of us can get involved in this very worthy undertaking:

“Visit the river valley – share the experience with family and friends

Show your pride – tell people about this unique feature and RVA’s work

Participate – share your river valley stories, photos and videos

Donate – donate to RVA’s work through Canada Helps, corporate giving, or in-kind donations

Connect – contact us or subscribe online to RVA’s e-newsletter:

River Valley Alliance, P.O. Box 2359, Edmonton AB T5J 2R7

contact@rivervalley.ab.ca

www.rivervalley.ab.ca

Thanks to the fine folks at River Valley Alliance for allowing me to quote from their brochure and use their content! 

Comments or questions about this article or about real estate near the river?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Be Green, Save Gold on Water

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Be Green, Save Gold on Water | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAre you a water hog or a water miser?  Chances are, if you’re like most Canadians, whether you live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, you use more water than you should.  This excessive water use costs us as homeowners, in higher water bills, and as citizens, putting a strain on infrastructure and resources.

 Stemming the flow of H2O”, an article in the March 3, 2012 issue of the Edmonton Journal and written by Patrick Langston of the Ottawa Citizen, contains some startling statistics about water use.  For instance, the article states that Canadians on average use 340 litres of water per person per day, the 2nd highest amount in the world.

Other facts quoted in the article:

  • Roughly 65% of indoor water use occurs in the bathroom.
  • One drop per second from a leaky faucet can waste about 10,000 litres of water in a year.  A toilet that keeps running after it’s flushed can waste up to 200,000 litres per year (enough to fill 2 swimming pools!)
  • Standard shower heads release 15 to 20 litres of water per minute.  A low-flow model cuts that amount in half.  
  • A standard 18-litre-per-flush toilet, flushed 4 times per day, uses close to 30,000 litres per year.  Think of how much water (and money!) can be saved by replacing one standard toilet with a low-flow model that uses 6 litres or less per flush.
  • It takes about 265 litres to fill a standard bathtub, more (sometimes much more) for a soaker tub.
  • Most front-loading washing machines use about 75 litres per load, about half that of top loaders.
  • Think you’re saving money and water if you hand wash your dishes?  Hand washing uses about 75 litres, while an Energy Star dishwasher takes about 15 litres per load.

Tips and information abound in this useful article. Some of these things we’ve heard before, like not leaving the tap running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands.  Other tips may be new, such as installing a thermostatic valve in the shower so that the shower can be shut off while lathering without having to re-set the water temperature when the tap is turned back on. 

The article concludes with conservation tips borrowed from the website WaterUseItWisely.com.  This excellent website offers over 100 ways to conserve water, such as:

  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing.  Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under a running tap.  Then use the vegetable water to water houseplants.
  • Keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.  Better yet, aim to run your machine only for full loads.
  • Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up.

Read the article  and check out WaterUseItWisely.com for much more information.  Whether the tips you’ll find there are new or old, we all can stand to be reminded of ways we can help the planet and our wallets!

I would be happy to help you find an energy-efficient home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Spruce Grove’s Jubilee Park

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Something very special is being created on the east side of Spruce Grove.  You may not have heard about it because it’s not quite finished, and the City of Spruce Grove isn’t promoting it yet, but Jubilee Park in Spruce Grove is now open for public use and well worth a visit.

Spruce Grove's Jubilee Park | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you are a citizen of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or Parkland County, you know that one of the things that makes Spruce Grove so memorable and family-friendly is the large number of neighborhood parks and playgrounds, sports parks and facilities (such as the Fuhr Sports Park west of the Tri-Leisure Centre and the Henry Singer ball park south of the railroad tracks), and the gem running right through the centre of town in the form of ParticiPark, that huge stand of trees and nature trails.  But all of these are about to look almost ordinary compared to what will be officially open to the public in 2012. 

Jubilee Park is a 60-acre parcel of land located at 510 Grove Drive, east of Spruce Village.  This land is being transformed into a wonderland of urban recreational and cultural opportunities.  The City of Spruce Grove website  says that the park “will offer the community the best passive and unstructured recreational opportunities in the city.  From paved walking and bike trails, to picnic areas, an open air performance area, sliding hill and playground, Jubilee Park will provide families with a multitude of outdoor pleasures.”

Features of the park, most of which are now in place, include

  • Picnic areas
  • Picnic shelter
  • Plaza
  • Open games area
  • Fire pit
  • Multi-purpose paved walking and biking trails
  • Play structure and “tot lot”
  • Disk golf
  • Recreational skating
  • Sliding and tobogganing hill
  • Multi-purpose building
  • Amphitheatre and open air performance area
  • Formal gardens
  • Wetlands
  • Natural woodlands
  • Paved parking

See the map of the proposed development. 

The City of Spruce Grove suggests several benefits of this park:

  • Community gathering place
  • Promotes social well-being and health
  • Family-oriented spaces
  • Connects to Heritage Grove trail system
  • Natural interpretive education opportunities
  • Preserves natural woodlands

Spruce Grove has not had a place for the community to gather in large numbers for special events, especially those focused on culture.  The sports fields at Spruce Grove Composite High School have been the venue for Canada Day celebrations for a few years, but without adequate amenities such as parking, seating and the like.  Imagine the uses of this incredible new facility.  Imagine a place for open air summer concerts and other performances, winter and summer games, community picnics and celebrations, festivals to rival those of neighboring communities, family play, get-togethers and reunions, wedding photos, block parties, and just hanging out and enjoying nature with your family and neighbors…. 

From a real estate perspective, this park is very good news for current and future residents of the nearby neighborhoods of Spruce Village and Grove Meadows.  Green space of any type tends to increase the desirability and perhaps value of properties located in the vicinity.  Expect only positive outcomes from this wonderful new facility!

Your comments and questions are always welcome!  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here. 

 

Buying Green

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Do you have too much stuff?  In our consumer-oriented society, whether we live in the city of Spruce Grove, a smaller community like Stony Plain, or on an acreage or country estate in the County of Parkland, it’s easy to accumulate “stuff”.  We might not even notice just how much stuff we’ve accumulated until it’s time to sell our homes.  But what if we could train ourselves to be more mindful of everything we bring into our homes so that moving to a new house is not such a chore?

Buying Green | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

An article in the Grove Examiner, published August 12, 2011, suggests some questions to ask ourselves before we commit to buying anything.  Paying attention to what we buy will save us money, save the environment, and maybe even do away with the need to move to a bigger house!  Thanks to Craig and Layla Baird, “The Green Couple”, for allowing their article to be posted here in its entirety.

 

Things to consider prior to your next consumer purchase

Craig and Layla Baird, The Green Couple

Every time you go out to buy something, what you buy has an impact on the environment.

That purchase has an impact by the waste it produces when it is manufactured, and the waste that is produced when you use it and when you are done with it.  In addition, the environmental impact of the production, transportation and consumption of the product has an effect on our planet.

This is why it is important to ask yourself the “Purchase Questions”.  These questions are:

1.     Does the cost of the item warrant the benefit we may receive from it?

This means that if the benefit is just an immediate gratification (such as a new pair of shoes that we really don’t need), then it is not worth the long-term cost.

2.     How much will this product be used after its initial ‘neatness’ wears off?

Buying one of those dancing electric animals is a perfect example of this.  It may seem neat now, but it will end up in the closet soon enough and likely long before you recoup the expense in enjoyment.

3.     Can it be recycled or given away later?

If it can, it makes buying it easier because someone else can get use out of it after we no longer use it.

4.     Where could this money be better spent?

If it could go to bills, mortgage, charity or anything else instead of the product, maybe it should be directed that way. 

5.     Why are we buying this product?

If the only reason is because we just saw it, then it is not a good buy.  Impulse buys are not something we want to do.  As well, if we buy it because we saw it on television, then perhaps again it is not a good buy.

Asking yourself those questions can not only save you money, but they can help you save the environment as well.

Need help finding homes for extra stuff?  See my blog article “Getting Rid of Stuff”

I’m happy to help with all your real estate needs.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here. 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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