Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why should you switch?

Two of the most cited reasons for switching from the traditional light bulbs to environmental bulbs are mostly 1) saving the environment while 2) saving money. The environmental bulbs are economical in several ways: they can be used up to ten times a longer time than the "normal" bulbs, and the amount of emanated warmth is smaller, therefore there is less air conditioning necessary, which is significant mostly for large offices. Another fact is that the environmental bulbs use only one-third of the energy usage of the traditional bulbs, which is good both for the environment and also your pocket.

Except for running a Toronto real estate agency, I'm always looking for ways to make my lifestyle a bit more Earth-friendly. The range of environmental light bulbs in the stores is very rich, and if you are not an experienced buyer, you might get a little decide while shopping for light bulbs, we have summed up some easy tips for you.

The perfect light bulb for you

These bulbs come in all shapes and sizes so the best thing to do is to bring the traditional bulb you want to replace to the shop and match it with the available environmental bulbs. You will only need one-quarter of the original wattage (60 watt traditional bulb = 15 watt environmental bulb). Also read the label if it's suitable for dimmers, should you wish to use it in a dimmer light.

Where to use environmental bulbs

For spaces with high temperature and insufficient ventilation, such as recessed ceiling fixtures, it would be a bad idea to use a environmental light bulb. The bulb takes anything between one and three minutes to light up and doesn’t like to be switched on and off often. Therefore use in places where the bulb can stay on for at least 15 minutes at a time to prevent early damage.

How to dispose of environmental bulbs

Always recycle your bulbs at designated places. Be very careful if you smash a fluorescent bulb. There is some mercury in it, which is a poisonous heavy-metal. Do not try to clean it with a vacuum cleaner. You also shouldn't touch it with bare hands. Instead, try to sweep the mercury bits with a piece of carton paper. Pick up smaller bits with sticky tape and wipe the affected space with a damp cloth. Open the window for at least 15 minutes to avoid mercury exposure.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Solar panels - get some grant from Canadian government!

Just like many of you, I too feel responsible for our environment. Being a Toronto real estate agent I am always looking for new opportunities to make green living more accesible either for my clients or for whoever is interested. Today let's find out what the Canadian government grants are there for solar energy.

Why energy from solar panels?
The greatest advantage of solar energy is its
nature-friendliness. With more people being able to create their own energy by nature-friendly means, the better for the environment. With the price of energies growing fast in the last couple of years, many countries all over the world started to endorse the clean energy over the conventional energy. Canada is among them.

Before you start

Without the home energy audit you will not be suitable for receiving any grants, so let's have a look at what needs to be done.
- You only get the grants if you start all the installations AFTER the auditor's first visit.
- You have to be finished with all the repairs within 18 months since the auditor's visit.
- To ensure you will have no problems claiming all your government grants, don't forget to store all your documentation and receipts and even take photos during the works.
- Forgetting to book and complete the follow-up visit could be costly since without it you cannot receive any funding.

A note about the cost: The home energy audit will cost you at least $498.75 (first visit $341.25, the second visit $157.50, inc. GST) or a little more (depends on the sq ft of your home). The government will refund you $150 towards the cost of the first evaluation visit.

So what are the grants?

Basically at the moment there are two solar technologies that are available to masses: the solar photovoltaic system (sunlight --> electricity) and the solar thermal system (sunlight --> hot water). But no matter what you choose, the government is here to help you. There's a nice sum of up to $500 from the federal government, should you choose a system that is in compliance with the CAN/CSA standards. No need to hurry, since you can apply for the grant till March 2011. But the federal grant is not all you can get: the Ontario government will much the federal grant so you can get up to $1000. Another good news is that you can claim a refund of the 8% RST from the Ontario government.

Currently you can only claim the RST on the equipment purchased until the end of 2009.

(photo by powerhouse museum)