Have you heard of the non-profit Green Calgary?
If your answer is “nope,” then you gotta check them out. They. Are. Rad. And no, I don’t work for them 😉
My story for today’s blog begins 5 years ago…
So, I was a brand new home buyer and newly moved in to my first townhouse. My (now) husband and I owned our little property together. Around this same time, I had heard through the grapevine about a program called “Healthy Homes Calgary.” I looked up said program and was directed to the Green Calgary website. I had never heard of Green Calgary before this. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, there’s an environmental organization in Calgary? Really??? I was so thrilled to have found this little gem, yet I had no idea how valuable a gem it really is! I signed up, participated in the Healthy Homes program and was completely floored by how awesome it was! (I’ll get into the details of why the program is so great in a little bit…)
Because I had such a great experience the first go around, when I moved into our home this past November I decided that I would sign up for the program again and have them assess our 1975 bungalow. Fast forward to our April Green Please Challenge, and Green Calgary came to my home this past Tuesday evening for a 2-hour Healthy Home visit. Let me give you an overview of the program:
It is a 2-visit, personalized home assessment / discussion with suggestions for possible environmental changes. The assessment focuses on:
- Energy Efficiency (they literally go through your energy bills, compare your usage to the provincial and Canadian averages, teach you how to read the graphs on the bills, and make suggestions to reduce energy use… which, yes, you got it, saves you money!)
- Household appliances and Electronics
- Indoor and Outdoor Water Use
- Waste and Recycling
- Yard and Garden
- Household Chemical Use and Indoor Air Quality (this is where you learn about how to purchase/make/choose eco-friendly cleaners for your home)
- Sustainable Food Choices
- Responsible Shopping
Each visit is 2 hours in length. The first visit is the initial assessment; the second visit is a 3 month follow-up to review progress made and troubleshoot difficulties/answer questions. Not only do they educate you about possible changes to make in your home, but they give you loads of awesome free stuff too! On Tuesday I received 2 gleaming hand-held shower heads (with reduced water use functions) and 3 water-reduction faucet heads for our bathrooms installed!!! Not only that, but they took the old shower heads with them for proper metal recycling! Then, I received a free compost bin (full-size), a “No Junk Mail Please” sticker for the mailbox, a book of recipes for homemade cleaning products and a pile of great resources on water-wise gardening specific to Calgary’s climate. (They also generally provide samples of cleaning products for people who haven’t yet delved into the world of eco-friendly house cleaning). Seriously, a load of relevant info and great stuff.
“So, what’s the catch?” you may ask. I’ll tell you. In exchange for all the education and free swag, you get a report on your home (with recommendations) and sign a contract committing to make some environmental changes in your home.
Getting scared off now???
No need. Here’s the best part: YOU DECIDE HOW FAR TO TAKE YOUR ENVIRONMENTALISM.
Maybe your goal is to try some eco-friendly cleaners. Maybe you want to start composting. Maybe you want to lower your energy bill. Maybe you’re like me, and want to bring life back to a neglected garden while avoiding traditional fertilizers and pesticides. Whatever you decide, Green Calgary is there to help you on your journey. I love it because I don’t have to do the research, or source out the best products. I get someone to guide me through the stuff I want to learn and the changes I want to make – it’s like having a personal trainer for your home.
Perhaps you are wondering, “Does it cost money?” Good question. On the Green Calgary Website it says that the Healthy Homes Calgary program is free of charge; however, of course for any non-profit organization, donations are always welcomed.
Looking over this post, I see it is getting pretty long. I’ve introduced you to the Healthy Homes program. If you are interested, you can sign up online. Next post, I’ll fill you in on the changes I made 5 years ago, my current home assessment and the changes I have committed to making over the next 3 months.
Here’s what I’ve done for our planet the past 2 days:
- Participated in the Healthy Homes visit.
- Started up our food scraps kitchen container for composting (whew! It feels sooooo good to be doing that again!)