Solar 101

Harnessing the sun for all your energy needs

St. Albert’s Ron and Carole Kube had never known anyone with a solar-powered home. Then, in 2014, Ron Kube read a story in the newspaper about a household that installed a solar array. He was surprised to learn they were his former neighbours.

“In fact, the guy was Craig Dickie – he used to live across the street from us,” said Kube. “And I was so excited that I called up Craig and I said, ‘can I come over to the house and see the solar system?’ And he said, ‘yeah, sure, come on over.’ ”

The moment Kube saw the system, he was hooked.

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Living architecture

Green roofs add a touch of nature to the concrete jungle

Great thinkers have always known that nature is essential to the human spirit. Perhaps that is why more and more architects, designers and builders are choosing to create green retreats in their designs, including rooftops that allow the eye to drink in nature’s beauty.

“There are just so many benefits to green roofs,” said Kerry Ross, one of Canada’s leading green roof experts and the first accredited green roof professional in the country. She spearheaded a number of “living architecture” projects, including the eco-roof at the University of Calgary Research Park and the green roof initiative at Calgary City Hall.

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Not-so-hidden gem

Flora, fauna and family fun abound in Canada’s second-largest urban park

Few realize that the title of second-largest urban park in Canada belongs to Fish Creek Provincial Park. Then again, it’s not just the size that attracts two million visitors a year to this sprawling natural area in south Calgary.

In addition to Sikome Aquatic Facility for swimming, the park is home to a mountain bike skills park and many sites for hiking, biking and bird watching. A number of day-use areas offer prime picnic spots, while those who seek more formal dining can enjoy the on-site Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant.

There’s a visitor centre with theatre and exhibit areas, as well as the Environmental Learning Centre, a nature school that hosts students in science education from Calgary and area schools. The learning centre in particular reflects the values embraced by the park and its users.

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Skies clearing for solar

Solar’s appeal is growing for Calgary homeowners due to falling costs, and rebates

With the cost of solar power generation dropping, and a provincial rebate program launching, it’s a pretty good time to be living in the sunniest city in Canada.

More homeowners are investing in solar as it becomes more economically viable.

In the past, many who embraced it traded the wallet shock for the feel-good vibes of reducing their ecological footprints.

That’s the original reason Michael Betzner added solar to his Bowness home about eight years ago.

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Doing the right thing

Canmore’s Spring Creek uses geothermal to lessen its environmental footprint

As the Alberta government doubles down on solar power alternatives through policy and rebates, some wonder if geothermal will also receive the same kind of attention.

Frank Kernick, developer of Canmore’s multi-million-dollar Spring Creek hopes the provincial government will help offset geothermal installation costs through a rebate program, similar to the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

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