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One Day
frequently asked questions
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Does changing light bulbs actually make a difference?

What is the simplest change I can make in my home?

What impact does my driving really make?

How much money could my family save if we got rid of one car in our household?

I am looking to build a new house and most of the advice is for older homes. what is the best way to reduce carbon? in new construction and has the lowest environmental impact? what would be the next alternatives in order?

I was curious about the topic of unplugging appliances and how much energy it saves. Should we unplug everything? Like lamps and chargers? Or just the bigger ones? How much energy can be saved? Thanks!

<P>Part 1 of the question: A vehicle waits with engine running in a drive-through line-up (at Tim Hortons let's say...) for an average of 5 minutes.</P> <P editor_id="mce_editor_0">Part 2 of the question: Same vehicle turns their motor off for 5 minutes. Question: What is the advantage to the air quality and your car, to turn it off for 5 minutes? Or, what would be the benefit if 1000 cars parked for 5 minutes instead of ran their engines?</P> <P editor_id="mce_editor_0">Thanks, Darlene</P>

Overall which is more cost effective : heating your home by natural gas or oil?

My husband (was a mechanic overseas) claims that not warming your car up damages the engine as the oil needs to get all through all the parts as they warm up. I tell him the planet is more important but does he have a point or not?<BR><BR>Thank you.

I am looking into solar heating for hot water for our home, and/or solar photovoltaic panels. Do you have any recommendations?

We are replacing all our single pane windows with Energy Star windows (17 windows in total).&nbsp; What type of Grants are available and &nbsp;how do we apply?

I what to buy a gas powered scooter but there are some Questions I whated to ask you first. Is high octane gas (90 +) just preium gas and can I use any two stroke air cooled oil?<BR><BR><BR>Thanks Hayden

Our strata is attempting to create a bylaw limiting the length of time that cars can idle in our underground parkade and the outside parking stalls adjacent to bedrooms--what is a reasonable time that they could be allowed to idle their cars, esp. in the mornings/winter?

Is there a way for city low-rise or high-rises to have a compost recycling program? (ie: someone to pick up fruit and veggie peels?)

How does one dispose of household toxic waste (i.e. automobile coolant)?

What are the pros / cons of Nuclear Power?

Rather than replacing my fridge altogether (it's too expensive), how can I make it more energy efficient?

How/why is wasting water also a waste of energy? (What's the connection?)

Isn't a screen saver for your computer also an energy saver (i.e. as good as turning it off)?

What is biodiesel and how does it differ from regular fuels (e.g. diesel or gasoline) in terms of greenhouse gas emissions?

Can you please tell us, once and for all, which is better: paper or plastic bags? I know that reuseable cloth bags are the ideal choice, but I usually find myself stopping by the store after work and forgetting to have the cloth bags on me. Thanks!

I keep hearing mixed information about washing dishes by hand vs. using a dishwasher. Which saves more energy?

I have always thought that motorcycles and scooters are very "environmentally friendly" because they use such little gas. Is this correct?

What can do to make my car more energy efficient (without having to buy a newer one)?

I am looking to build a new house and most of the advice is for older homes. what is the best way to reduce carbon? in new construction and has the lowest environmental impact? what would be the next alternatives in order?

Thank you for your email asking for opportunities for reducing your carbon footprint and impact on the environment when building a new home. I applaud your efforts.  

There are a number of options which would be influenced by your timetable as well as your desire to invest time and effort into finding a knowledgably architect and contractor to build your home. There are several approaches you could take:

(a) Building an energy efficient home: for approximately $3500 in incremental cost an average home can be made 30% more efficient (providing 30% lower annual energy bills) which is very cost effective.  It is essentially building the home to reach EnerGuide 80 (EGNH 80).  The incremental cost would mostly come from building design, ENERGY STAR windows and appliances, better insulation, air tightness, and a high efficiency heating system. EGNH80 has similar performance to an R2000 home. More information can be found on Canadian Homebuilders website under "Built Green BC" : and the PowerSmart New Home program

(b) Building a high-performance home--would exceed EGNH80 and seek to minimize heat loss in the home. If you are really ambitious, you could seek a design that is similar to the "Passive House" that does not use a central system and uses very little energy.  4000 of these homes have been built in Germany with good success but there is not a lot of experience in BC.  It would require some effort on your part, as it may be difficult finding a builder with the appropriate skills.

(c) The other approach is to include renewable energy systems in the design. (BC Hydro allows the selling of additional power back to the grid to improve the economics.) This could include wind or solar systems to  supplement the home heating system.  
Another resources are:
- the BC Sustainable Energy Association ( who have information on their website regarding wind and solar
- the Vancouver Renewable Energy Coop (Rob Baxter) who can provide information on the cost of wind and solar systems
- CMHC who are sponsoring a number of zero-energy homes across Canada (I am not sure if they have filled their quota)

If you willing to pursue option b or c then you could also seek provincial and federal support as a demonstration home. You might seek help from the CMHC to help you do this.

If you would like to discuss these options, feel free to contact me.  And thanks for doing your part.

With One Day we are trying to build momentum and a sense of community vision and are happy to see residents taking the time to contact us.  I would also encourage you to take a moment to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and/or 10 weeks of weekly action tips and get friends, family and colleagues to do the same.  The newsletter connects you to regular action opportunities, ways to reduce your energy costs while improving quality of life, new ideas and solutions and success stories.

Small changes by people all over Vancouver will lead to significant reductions in local greenhouse gas emissions, making our city cleaner, greener and healthier.