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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Socialize with trees

Beyond beautification, trees provide a bevy of benefits for urban dwellers

Even before the turn of the century, early civic leaders envisioned Calgary as an urban oasis, with broad tree-lined streets connecting numerous parks. In 1894, the City of Calgary started planting trees along major boulevards in the city, beginning the effort to create an urban forest that continues today.

But aside from beautification, what’s the point of an urban forest?

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Reaching for the sun

University research looks at solar solutions to multi-storey challenges

New research at the University of Calgary could lead to condominium and apartment high-rises being retrofitted to become energy-efficient and green-energy-producing buildings.

Caroline Hachem-Vermette, an assistant professor of architecture in the Solar Energy and Community Design Lab at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, is looking at new ways to optimize solar capture on multi-storey buildings to help offset their energy use.

“Most of the buildings that exist now will be existing in 50 years, so we really need to move in this direction,” said Hachem-Vermette, whose interest in the area came out of wider research she did on the design of mixed-use solar communities.

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The upside of carbon tax

New programs could see homeowners coming out ahead

milesIf you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that, starting Jan. 1, we’ll be paying $1.01 more per gigajoule for natural gas to heat our homes and a few extra cents a litre to fuel our cars.

It’s the provincial carbon levy, and it’s inevitable.

If you’re like me, you want to know what the government is going to do with the revenue.

For starters, it’s setting up an agency whose goal is to reduce our utility bills, decrease emissions and save energy in general.

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Rising sun

Solar energy making strides in Calgary area

Long considered a darling of the green energy industry, solar technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that many experts predict it will soon become commonplace in our everyday lives.

David Silburn, a researcher at SAIT who specializes in green building technologies, said the popularity of solar systems, especially photovoltaic, in residential and commercial applications has skyrocketed in the past seven years as prices have plummeted.

“In 2009, I was paying $10 to $12 a watt installed, whereas now you’re spending $2.50 to $3 a watt installed on the same scale of system,” he said.

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