Posts Tagged ‘environment’

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 Upcycle old or out of date items around the home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 (
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

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

(Most of the content of this article courtesy of

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, 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

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, 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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