Going Green

November 2, 2020 in Environment, Housing

When I say ‘green building’, what do you think of?   You might think of solar panels, rainwater capture or sustainable materials. Often, these kinds of environmental features of buildings can be seen as expensive or non-essential qualities for buildings and in particular affordable housing solutions. Yet, there are endless reasons why we should provide affordable housing that integrates environmental performance. Sustainable buildings are better for people, the planet, and usually the pocketbook too.

Through our CMHC funded Better Housing Lab, we’re exploring how we can integrate environmental performance into the economic model of affordable housing projects. One of our collaborators in the lab is Matt Grace. He’s a green building engineer and a total expert on this topic. 

Last summer, John sat down with Matt Grace to talk about what it means to make buildings greener. Today, we’re re-running the chat from 2019, in the ‘before times’!

City Builder Series: The Civil Engineer

March 16, 2020 in City Builder Series, Design, Environment

Jennifer Massig, P. Eng. and Principal of MAGNA Engineering Services, discusses what it means to be a civil engineer, the best engineering can bring to city building and some problematic practices of the profession.


Towards a Circular Economy

September 23, 2019 in Environment

We consume a lot of stuff. Sometimes we use that stuff for a few seconds or minutes, like a paper coffee cup or plastic water bottle. Around the world, every minute, over 1 million plastic bottles are sold (and 91% of them aren’t recycled). Maybe we use our stuff for a few months or a couple of years, like a phone or hair-dryer. But when our stuff breaks, we usually go out and get a replacement. Sometimes we own stuff for a long time, but it doesn’t really get used much. For example, did you know the average drill is supposedly used for 10 minutes in its entire lifetime? And the average car is parked 95% of the time. The way we consume has to change if we want a habitable world for the future.

John sits down with Christina Seidel and Linsday Seidel-Wassenaar from sonnevera to discuss waste, consumption and the circular economy.