In today’s society there are more and more buildings popping up that are “Green Buildings” or other buildings or organizations are trying to become more green.  What makes them so green?

“A  green building is an environmentally sustainable building, designed, constructed and operated to minimize the total environmental impacts.”

My community, of around 900 people, has been taking small steps towards being more “green” and making a smaller impact on the environment in the last decade or so. We don’t have a building that is 100% green through and through but there are local businesses and recreation buildings that do a small part. Remember… every little bit helps!

My school, a building I visit 5 days a week, has recently made some pretty cool changes in regards to being more environmentally friendly. As most schools do now-a-days we have recycling bins in every classroom. One thing that I find unique about our school is that we have a group called `We Green`. This group was created last year by two of our teachers Mrs. Martens-Remple and Mrs. Polasek with intentions of bringing more environmental awareness to our school. In the last few months of school last year the `We Green` team introduced

One of the many compost bins throughout our school

composting to the school body. It didn’t really catch on then, but there has been a great response this year! Compost is decaying organic matter, such as leaves, and fruit (peels and cores). You collect these items in a bucket and over time they become nutrient rich soil. This is great because you get to take the nutrients from the plants and put them back into the earth. It also is a good alternative to chemical fertilizers that can pollute fresh water and be dangerous. The average amount of compost collected every day by our `We Green` team is 20 pounds! There aren’t just apple cores and banana peels in our compost. There are also plates, bowls, spoons, and napkins!

Val, who runs our canteen, is pictured above with some of the biodegradable products used in our canteen!

This year, with help from the We Green team our canteen switched from plastic to biodegradable cane sugar products, by Bio Serve. Last year the `We Green` team planted some flowers in a classroom and they are hoping to bring that touch of color outside. Behind our school we have a small court yard. It isn’t very well kept and it is drab. Once they have collected enough compost and soil the `We Green` team is planning on turning our old, rundown court yard into a beautiful flower packed oasis! The “We  Green” team also puts up posters all around our school to raise awareness for environmental issues such as conserving water. My school is always too hot or too cold, it feels like we don’t use the furnace in winter, and don’t use the air conditioner in summer. My logical reasoning for this is that the custodians are trying to save energy, but who knows why! 😛

In 2006 my town built a brand spankin’ new public library with geothermal energy.For those of you who do not know what geothermal energy is let me tell you! First

The MacGregor Library and Archives, which has a geothermal energy pump

of all I would like to point out that Manitoba is one of the leading provinces in geoenergy in Canada! Manitoba has 25-30% of the geothermal units in the country, and 56% of the geothermal installers are trained in Manitoba. Rather than burning terrible fossil fuels which harm the ozone layer or powering an electric element, geothermal energy pumps natural heat out of the ground. Having a geothermal energy pump also lets you eliminate your furnace and A/C because it can do both of their jobs! The geothermal energy pump may cost more to install than the conventional furnace or air conditioning system but your annual heating costs will be 70% lower and therefore will payoff in the long run, not only in your wallet but also in the environment! It also can heat water at no additional cost.

Here is a brief diagram of the geothermal system

The soil below the frost line is rather constant in temperature and does not freeze. In winter the soil below the frost line is warmer, and in summer it is cooler. The pump itself is a network of buried pipes that transfer the heat from the ground up into the building, converting it to warm air, and distributing it through air ducts. Or in a simpler version… it moves heat from the soil to another place.

Our Library also has a book sale for the whole month of February where they sell all the books they no longer want or need. If the books don’t find a new home there they either go to the thrift store or are sent to a recycling plant so be disposed of in a environmentally friendly way.

The lone grocery store in my town made the decision to eliminate plastic bags. Now you have to either a.) bring your own reusable bags b.) use a box that product came to the store in c.) buy a paper bag or d.) carry it yourself. This is a great idea because plastic bags don`t get disposed of properly for the most part. There is a great video on YouTube called “The Majestic Plastic Bag“  which is a “mockumentary“ showing the life of a plastic bag. Now not only does the grocery store save money on bags, but it also has a great impact on the environment.

My family also tries to do our share to be green. We recycle, at my moms and at my dads. We do a lot of little things, but I would like to think that they add up. I would like to make my houses more environmentally friendly in the future in some way or another since there are so many new ways to be green that are coming out.

The sponsor of this blog challenge is TIOCOAT which a really cool company that makes  rubber roof coatings. This roof cover has some great stats:

-Guaranteed to last the life of the building

-Reduced maintenance costs for the roof (And are also water resistant)

-Budget management is easier because the life span of the product is predictable

-It is very fast and easy to have done, and you save money on roofing materials

 

This week I challenge you to find a new way to be green!! It could be getting a manual lawn mower, starting a compost pile, or even walking or biking somewhere instead of driving.

Miss Teen Central Manitoba-World 2013,

Taylor Boehlig 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by: Taylor Boehlig

5 Responses to Being Green: Every Little Bit Helps!

  1. Shelley Zander says:

    Taylor this blog post is awesome! We have bought a composter for the elementary school and would like to start composting in all the classrooms. Would you be interested to talking to our grade 5/6 classes abut this or do you know someone who might? Our grade 5/6 classes are leading this program with the building of our greenspace and would like to include composting but we’re not really sure how to start. Let me know if you have any ideas!

    • Taylor Boehlig says:

      Thanks! I would love to talk to the grade 5/6 class, but is school already done at the elementary? I will email you and we can talk more 🙂

  2. Tammy Wotton says:

    This is a great post Taylor and a very important topic!! YOU are an excellent role model for your peers and all of those around you! I have recently stopped using my dishwasher and washing dishes by hand plus hanging my laundry out to dry instead of the dryer! We also very rarely use our air conditioner in the summer! Every little bit helps!

  3. Tamara says:

    This blog is really inspring, I hope to become more green! I admire your work!

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