Recycling Christmas Lights

Make Memories, Not Garbage

In less than a week, Christmas will be here. Many of us find ourselves feeling stressed this time of year, trying to frantically cross things off shopping lists, trudging through crowded malls to stand in line for items that we’re not even entirely sure people will want. There are times when you are thrilled to find the *perfect* thing, but other times it feels more obligatory… buying stuff because we feel it’s what’s expected. Do we really need more?

There is a solution that can help ease the personal chaos of the season, while giving those you love something that will last infinitely longer than the latest toy, or a new appliance.

Metro Vancouver for several years in a row has promoted the ‘Create Memories, Not Garbage‘ campaign. And we couldn’t agree more! We love the idea of giving the gift of experiences, rather than things. Putting aside time to do special activities with those you care about, and establishing memories together. Many of us can look back on Christmases past, and are not able to recall many of the gifts we were given. But we fondly remember road-trips with our families, game nights, or going out to a great restaurant with a friend or sibling. Here are a few ideas that might spark your imagination this holiday season:

  • An afternoon at Science World or the Vancouver Aquarium.
  • Theatre or Concert Tickets.
  • Memberships to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
  • Art or cooking classes from Community Centres.
  • Ski/snowboard passes for local mountains.
  • Exploring VanDusen Gardens.
  • A short trip to Tofino, Whistler, or Harrison Hot Springs.
  • Dinner and a Movie nights.
  • If you are skilled at something, offer to teach someone who wants to learn — knitting, cooking, woodworking — the sky’s the limit.
  • … the opportunities are endless!

Gifting experiences allows you to give something meaningful, while also helping to cut back on the waste that ultimately ends up cluttering our landfills. But, if you are still looking for something to put under the tree (while avoiding busy malls and big box stores) is to find unique, locally made gifts, and supporting the work of artisans and businesses closer to home.

From everyone here at Green Coast Rubbish, we wish you and your family a happy and memorable holiday!

© Lindsey Turner

© Lindsey Turner

Constructing Greener Buildings – LEED

In the grand scheme of things, Vancouver is a comparatively new city—particularly when it comes to architecture. But what we lack in history, we make up in stride in the design and development of Green Building technologies.

Building projects contribute to a huge amount of waste and pollution in Canada, and generate a large percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions in North America. The accumulation of construction and demolition of buildings can add up to nearly 35% of total landfill waste. They also consume a significant amount of our water and energy resources. But good news! It doesn’t need to be this way. By designing buildings in more sustainable ways, these numbers can be greatly reduced across the board. That’s why the LEED rating system was introduced.

© ChrissyDavey_communitygarden_525

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a reputable and internationally recognized ‘green’ rating system for both new and existing building development projects. Here is the breakdown of the different levels of certification, which are ranked based on 110 points, over 7 areas of criteria:

  1. Water Efficiency: Reduce water consumption, treat or minimize wastewater, eliminate site irrigation.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Use renewable energy resources, reduce energy consumption, eliminate ozone-depleting chemicals.
  3. Regional Priority: Keeping in mind geographical factors, designing architecture & targeting environmental issues based on that region.
  4. Innovation in Design: Vastly exceed the environmental requirements and incorporate innovative features and technologies not covered in other areas.
  5. Material Selection: Re-use existing building facades, utilize locally salvaged or recycled construction materials, minimize waste during construction, use of renewable materials.
  6. Site Development: Increase urban density, maximize green space, minimize storm water run-off, access and encouragement of transportation modes such a bicycling, easy access to transit, car-pooling.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality: Providing operational windows, improving ventilation systems, incorporating natural lighting sources.

40-49 points = Certified
50-59 points = Silver
60-79 points = Gold
80+ points = Platinum

By using these guidelines, architects can effectively design smarter, greener buildings. By establishing an international and industry recognized standard, it can also help convey information to interested individuals and clients. The Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) has adapted the system initially developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), to address environmental concerns and issues specifically within the Canadian market.

© ChrissyDavey_OlympicVillage_525px

A good example of a LEED Platinum Certified building project in Vancouver is the Olympic Village — which incorporates technology such as solar energy, rainwater irrigation and conservation systems, and green rooftops.

© ChrissyDavey_OlympicVillage3_525

By changing the way buildings are constructed and utilizing the latest advancements in technology, we can conserve our precious energy and environmental resources — while making our neighborhoods more livable, walkable, and sustainable.