5 IDEAS FOR EARTH HOUR

Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Have you made plans for Earth Hour yet? This Saturday, March 31st is the big day when people all over the world will switch off their lights and electricity from 8:30pm-9:30pm to show their solidarity against climate change. Of course, Smallworks is on board to participate. It’s a great way to see how much you can do with less. Like switching over to a small laneway house paves the way for conserving energy, resources, and space, doing without power for one less hour is a great first step toward sustainable housing practices. While you can do something as simple turning off your lights for the hour to show your support, you can make Earth Hour a lot more interesting if you put some thought into your planning. Here are 5 ideas for a more meaningful and fun Earth Hour: Go for a walk and see what your neighbours have turned off. See how many of them have become part of the movement this year. Throw a fondue dinner party with your friends and/or family. You’ll see it’s possible to put together a great meal with no electricity required. Throw an indoor marshmallow roast [...]

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:57+00:00 March 28th, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|

10 FREE WAYS TO SAVE WATER

dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net It’s easy to push aside our concerns about water conservation when we have such ready access to water but struggle to fulfill our basic need for affordable housing in Vancouver. But it doesn’t require a lot of effort or even a cent of cash to help save hundreds of gallons of our taken-for-granted resource. Smallworks is constantly thinking of new features to offer to make our affordable housing more sustainable. This World Water Day (coming up March 22), we are taking the opportunity to share our ten favourite free ways to save water in your household. Pick one small change and you can make a big difference. 1. Don’t let the tap run while you brush your teeth. Fill one cup with water and use that one cup for the whole brushing and rinsing cycle. You’ll save gallons of water over the course of a year. 2. Take more efficient baths and showers. If you really want to save water, use a timer to get used to taking showers in four minutes or less – you’ll save water and energy used to heat the water. If your kids enjoy taking baths, have them take baths [...]

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:57+00:00 March 20th, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|

TOP 5 ENERGY SAVING TIPS FOR YOUR HOME PART 2

digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Energy efficiency is a major part of our laneway house designs here at Smallworks. We told you about our top energy saving tips for your home last month, but really, we have so many favourites that we’ve decided to follow up with even more. Here are five more great ways to save energy in your home. 1)      A programmable thermostat. You can save 2% on your heating bill for every 1 degree Celsius you turn down your thermostat. If you use a programmable thermostat to consistently lower your heat when you don’t need it, you could save up to $60 a month! One good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat to lower by 4 to 5 degrees Celsius (7 - 9 degrees Fahrenheit) while you’re sleeping at night and when no one is at home. 2)      High efficiency appliances When replacing your appliances, look for ones that display an ENERGY STAR symbol, the international symbol of premium energy efficiency. This will tell you that the products have been tested according to prescribed procedures and have been found to meet or exceed higher energy efficiency levels without compromising their performance. ENERGY STAR products typically [...]

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:58+00:00 March 13th, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|

HOW TO GET YOUR GARDEN READY FOR SPRING

          Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Growing a garden of your own in Vancouver is one great perk you can enjoy when you live in a laneway house. You don’t have to confine your green thumb to a rooftop or a few flower pots in our laneway homes because Smallworks is a big fan of incorporating garden space into our small house designs. If you have outdoor space, here are some gardening tips for cleaning it up and preparing for the new spring season. 1.  Start by clearing out last year’s remains. Clean up debris and broken branches, cut down stems and twiggy growth, and trim dead pieces off your bushes and perennials. Be sure to use small pruners on more delicate plants. Doing this will promote healthier growth during the next year’s growing season. 2.  Get rid of weeds. You will be able to pull some weeds out by hand and uproot most of them with a few passes of a hoe. Remove them now before they have a chance to take hold and start spreading seeds. When you’re done, spread at least 2 to 3 inches of mulch on them to keep [...]

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:58+00:00 February 28th, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|

GREEN YOUR HOME WITH A RAIN BARREL

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Besides the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver, our rain is definitely high up on the list of characteristics our city is known for. Vancouver receives 43.98 inches of rain every year. While many gripe about it, you can use it to your advantage by incorporating ways of harvesting this water into your home so you can use it to live more sustainably. Because the environment is always valued by our company, Smallworks’ laneway houses include some eco-friendly options like green roofs, solar panels, and sustainable heating systems. Promoting the conservation of rain water and the use of rain barrels is an extension of our environmental focus.  Even if you don’t own a laneway house yet, you can still green your home by installing a rain barrel to the gutters of your current house or townhouse. Here’s how. Just how much water do we use? On average, Vancouver residents use more than 340 L per day in their households. During the summer, this water consumption can double, with 40% of residential water use going to watering lawns, gardens, and household plants. Uses for rain barrel water Collecting rain water in a barrel and [...]

By | 2016-11-15T09:05:58+00:00 February 21st, 2012|How to Live Green While You Live Small|