Gordon Howell is a solar pioneer, the first to install a grid-connected solar system on his home in Western Canada. Today Gordon finds himself at the hub of a community of people involved in a veritable solar revolution.
Category: Renewable Energy
Life is a carnival! Sustainival, the world’s first green carnival started in Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a biodiesel powered full scale carnival infused with a message of sustainability.
We talk to Sonja Winkelmann of the Canadian Home Builders Association about a new Net-Zero Home labelling program designed to help consumers and builders understand and embrace super energy efficient, net-zero homes.
Brian Scott and Leigh Bond want to see Property Assessed Clean Energy financing come to Alberta. They say PACE has generated $3.4 billion investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the U.S. and that little else would do more to spur on a boom in Alberta.
Two important things happened in the electric vehicle (EV) world in recent months: Late last year Quebec became the first Canadian province to adopt a requirement for the sales of zero-emission vehicles and then in February General Motors debuted its long awaited Chevy Bolt, a long range, low-priced EV.
The Heights is an 85-unit apartment complex in Vancouver that is the largest passive house in Canada. The project is leading the way to for a zero emissions building policy in Vancouver.
We examine the state of the world’s renewable energy investment and meet BlueGreen Canada, an advocacy group that seeks to secure a fair shake for workers affected by the sunset of the coal industry.
Vulcan, Alberta, the Star Trek Capital of Canada, has built the countries first aesthetically-minded solar park. Residents and visitors alike can now soak in rays alongside a visually pleasing solar resource.
The 1.14 megawatt solar system on the roof of the Leduc Recreation Centre is the largest of its kind in Canada and accounts for fully 10 per cent of Alberta’s total solar capacity.
Twenty six school districts in Alberta banded together to purchase 100 per cent renewable energy and have the Bull Creek Wind Farm, near Provost, Alberta to show for it. We talk to school trustees, the CEO of BluEarth Renewables, a farmer and a member of the Alberta Government on location at the Bull Creek Wind Farm.
Summerside, Prince Edward Island (PEI) replaced expensive diesel power with record amounts of wind power using a smart grid and simple energy storage in residents furnaces and hot water heaters.
Bob Chelmick is a former CBC news anchor who built his storied solar-powered “Cabin in the Woods” and started the ground-breaking radio series entitled: The Road Home. We visit the home of solar-powered radio this week on Green Energy Futures.
More than 4,000 people have signed Iron and Earth’s pledge calling for renewable energy training for out-of-work oil workers and already 450 workers have said they want training.
Prince Edward Island, Canada (PEI) is home of the highest proportion of wind power in North America. We talk to Energy Minister Paula Biggar about how this little province replaced expensive diesel power with enough wind power to provide 26 per cent of the electricity in PEI.
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada in Prince Edward Island helped that province integrate the highest proportion of wind power in North America.
When people think Calgary, renewable energy doesn’t usually come to mind. But dig a little deeper and it seems the oil capital of Canada is more ready for a carbon tax than many jurisdiction, thanks to investments in renewable energy the city is in a great position to save money.
This past March, students from around Alberta and beyond collaborated on a white paper that seeks to influence the future of climate change education in the province.
Securing investment in renewable energy is getting easier, but banks have a few things they like to see in projects, like price certainty and long term contracts that ensure a steady stream of revenue to support the loans needed to develop renewable energy projects.
Moving from one of the dirtiest grids in the country to 50 per cent renewable is no small task. However, Saskatchewan’s ambitions are matched by the quality of their renewable resource. We visit the Morse Wind Farm in southern Saskatchewan to see the start of the wind energy boom in Saskatchewan.
How does a passive solar heated Earthship fare in the long cold Canadian winter. This week we return to a familiar place, the Kinney Family Earthship, to see how it holds up in the middle of a cold Canadian prairie winter.
Aren’t we too far north for solar? I’ve heard solar doesn’t work in the cold. And aren’t solar modules only 15 per cent efficient? This week take an illuminating look at some pesky solar myths and help you sort myths from facts.
Ever hear the one about how it takes more energy to make a wind turbine than it will produce over its lifetime? This week we blow the smoke away, and delve into some of the more pernicious myths about wind energy. Bookmark this one, you’ll want to use it later!
2015 will go down as the year that marked the dawning of the age of the net-zero home. We took notice by preparing our four-part Chasing Net-Zero series. And we we just loved the story about Jason Rioux’s shipping container cabin, as did almost 200,000 viewers! Here are some of our favourites from 2015.
2015 was a banner year for clean, green energy! Vancouver pledged to go 100 per cent renewable energy, the Cowessess First Nation built a wind turbine and is testing energy storage, Edmonton passed an energy transition plan and Rachael Notley the new premier of Alberta announced a plan to phase out coal and greatly expand renewable energy.
This is the story of Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign worked with Dawn Farrell the CEO of TransAlta to accellerate the end of coal-fired electricity generation in Washington State.
Edmonton, the oil capital of Alberta, passed its energy transition strategy earlier this year. We talk to Mayor Don Iveson about what this northern city is doing to transition to clean energy.
When Vancouver Mayor first ran for election he pledged to make his city the “greenest city in the world.” Now Vancouver has upped the ante pledging to make the city 100 per cent renewable by 2050.
Talk about light bulb moments, the grade 5 students at George Webster School in Toronto, Ontario are literally turning the lights on in TREC Education’s Capture the Wind renewable education program.
You could call it Sustainability High – since 2002 students in the Sustainable Development Committee at Cochrane High School in Alberta have raised almost $150,000 and build more than half a dozen solar, energy efficiency and green projects around their school.
117. Sustainability snapshots: How Halifax, Tallinn, Hannover and Ottawa are learning from each other to make their cities more sustainable
From super-cooled rocks to free transit, learn what cities across Canada and Europe are doing to be greener.
Ontario’s energy transition — shutting down coal and ramping up renewables — is the most successful greenhouse gas reduction project in Canada’s history.
We can be guilty of using jargon here at Green Energy Futures. That’s why this episode is dedicated to clearing up two of the most common used and misused terms that come up on a regular basis.
What happens when you sell unserviced lots for a dollar and get people to build green homes on the edge of a small Saskatchewan town? We find out.
Germany, Europe’s largest, most successful economy, is successfully and aggressively transitioning away from fossil fuels and nuclear. We debunk some of the myths that have sprung up around this incredible transition.
Welcome to Canada’s first concentrated solar thermal energy plant in sunny Medicine Hat, Alberta. Discover how “The Gas City” is adding solar and wind to diversify it’s electricity supply in a city endowed with rich fossil fuel resources.
On their own a feedlot, an anaerobic digester and an ethanol plant might not make sense but combine them and you’ve got an integrated bio-refinery where each business feeds the other in a virtuous cycle.
Landmark Homes is planning to have all of their homes be net-zero by 2015. Learn how net-zero is transitioning from small custom home builders to large scale companies.
In 10 years net-zero homes have gone from government pilot project to mass production. Shafraaz Kaba’s near net-zero home is an excellent example of how we got there.
We look at making energy efficient, infill homes that are beautiful and also at how the location of your home can have a dramatic effect on your energy footprint.
The first episode of our four-part series Chasing Net-Zero. We dive into the history of net-zero homes and figure out you can build one of these comfortable, beautiful homes that also doubles as a mini-powerplant.
This week we follow students at Prairie Waters school in Chestermere, Alberta to seek out and destroy energy vampires, increase energy literacy and save energy in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge.
A passive solar greenhouse in Invermere B.C. is making people across the continent sit up and takes notice. It may sound ironic, but most greenhouses are not designed to harvest and retain the sun’s energy.
This week join us as head head to Globe 2014 into the Grizzly Den, where 36 different companies are pitching to investors, partners and customers. We feature three out of 30 that we thought you should know about.
Learn how Harvest Power turns your rotten banana peels and other gross assorted food waste into energy and compost at their site in Richmond, BC.
Alberta has a carbon price and it’s collected $380 million worth of cash for carbon reduction technology projects. Learn how they’re spending that money.
We talk to a doctor who knows the true health costs of coal in Alberta as well as Alberta’s new Associate Minister of Renewable Energy and Electricity on what she would replace coal with.
Renewable energy produces energy when the sun shines and the wind blows, but these entrepreneurs are developing better batteries and new and innovative ways of capturing and storing renewable energy.
It’s that time of the year to sweat about what exactly you’re going to give to the people you care about in your life. Here at Green Energy Futures we’ve taken the time to come up with a short but awesome list of what to get for someone whether they’re a total green energy geek or they’re a total green energy neophyte.
Soon solar will be so cheap it won’t make sense not to have it on your house, office building or spare building facing south. The price of solar has dropped one hundred times in the past 35 years, that’s not a typo. Learn what’s driving the low cost of solar and where and when you’ll start seeing it in the near term this week at Green Energy Futures.
The International Energy Agency estimates the cleantech market will be a three to four trillion dollar concern by 2020. Tom Rand is helping Canadian entrepreneurs get a slice of that trillion dollar pie through his work at the MaRS cleantech business incubator and through investing in early stage cleantech startups with the MaRS cleantech fund. Learn all about this week on Green Energy Futures.
In Sherwood Park, Alberta just minutes from refinery row city hall, the famous Festival Place Theatre, condos, a high school and more buildings are all heated by biomass, wood to be exact.
Ever looked at the breakdown of your electricity bill with all of its transmission and distribution charges and wondered if there was a better way? There is and it’s called distributed generation. Learn about it this week at Green Energy Futures.
It took a 45-person team to build Edmonton’s first net-zero home. In six short years since then net-zero builders are constructing cheaper and radically simpler net-zero homes. We Peter Amerongen and Simon Knight, two net-zero pioneers.
The Nanaimo Regional District is home to about 145,000 people on the east coast of Vancouver Island. This west-coast municipality is turning its trash into compost, clean energy and carbon credits.
The T’Souke First Nation on Vancouver Island developed and implemented a plan that slashed 75 per cent of their energy use and installed solar PV to provide clean power. It turns out it’s a lot easier to go net-zero when you drastically cut your energy use.
Landfills are quickly becoming centres of innovation when it comes to turning what we throw away into energy. Edmonton has had a landfill gas operation since 1992 and it was the first in Western Canada to turn old garbage into a new resource. Learn how it’s done this week on Green Energy Futures.
The new low temperature hot water style heating system at UBC is taylor-made to integrate renewable energy systems like biomass, geoexchange, solar thermal and waste heat into a natural gas system all because the barrier for entry is lower. The bouncer at the old steam heating system was pretty strict – you had to be 190 C to get in. Now you only have to get the temperature up to 80 C.
Cow poop isn’t typically thought of as a valuable resource. But with a process called anaerobic digestion that cow poop can be turned into electricity, heat, a near odourless fertilizer and and animal bedding.
This four-story, 60,000 square feet structure is practically a living thing. It’s a $37-million laboratory that aims to achieve LEED Platinum status, but more than that, they’re also pursuing a Living Building Challenge certification. This certification is so hard to get, there are only three certified living buildings in the world.
With more than 700 companies, the cleantech sector has emerged as a major driver of innovation and employment growth in Canada, investing almost $2 billion in research and development. We talk to Canadian entrepreneurs about can be done to ensure that Canada grows in concert with this rapidly expanding $1 trillion global clean technology industry.
Learn how a small rural Albertan county is treating it’s waste in a more environmentally responsible fashion and growing their own substitute for natural gas. They pump the effluent from a waste lagoon into a densely planted stand of willows. Willows like moist soil, grow fast and grow easily in our climate. That willow is then chopped down every three years and can be used for wood, heat or compost. In Camrose, they’re using it to heat their main county office.
Join us as we dive into our archives and give you our favourite clips and behind the scenes moments from 2012. From nearly falling into the Bay of Fundy to angry anti-wind protesters we go coast to coast to coast to give you best.
Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia switched from fuel oil boilers to biomass, then added solar thermal modules to their dorms and even installed two wind turbines and are saving money on operating costs!
When you think of Walmart do a plethora of contradictory thoughts and images come into your brain? Well get ready for it to get even more confusing because the world’s largest retailer and the 19th largest economy in the world have stepped up the plate with one of the best corporate sustainability plans in the world. It’s not just planning either, they’re executing it as well. We went to their Fresh Food Distribution Centre in Balzac to get the story.
If you’re a cooperative, not-for-profit, municipality, university, First Nation or Community Economic Development Investment Fund you can qualify for Nova Scotia’s community feed-in tariff. This means a guaranteed economic return on any approved project and it means regular folks and not necessarily large multi-nationals get to see the financial benefits of building out new renewable energy infrastructure.
Some provinces have all of the luck. While poor PEI has little more than potatoes and tourists Alberta gets not only the lions share of Canada’s coal, oil, gas and bitumen, it gets the best solar resource in all of Canada too. We learned this by talking to Alberta’ solar industry veterans, experts from Ontario and even the minister of environment for Alberta, Diana McQueen at CANSIA West.
If I told you you could almost double the amount of money you got from the solar energy you put on the grid would that make you more likely to get a rooftop solar system? Spark and several other small electricity retailers are betting that you will. Is this the final push that gets solar over the hump in Alberta?
Canadian Control Works is a small Edmonton based company with a big idea. They’ve figured out how to create green electricity from the downswing of a pumpjack with a device called the Enersaver. We don’t give them much thought but each pump jack is moving 5-10 tons each time it goes up and down. By harvesting that energy oilfield operators save money and stabilize the grid around it.
We take a tour of the Canadian Solar plant in Mississauga, Ontario. In 2011, the solar manufacturing industry in Canada was responsible employing over 2,100 people $584 million of economic output.
“We can take a commercial roof that was previously wasted space and turn it into a generation asset which is producing clean, safe, renewable energy,” says SolarShare president Mike Brigham.
Not only that but investors get to finance these projects through solar bonds and see a healthy financial return without creating a toxic legacy.
Heidi Eijgel has lived next to the 136 megawatt Summerview wind farm since 2003. She is happy to have these towers of clean, green power next to her home. She tells us about the noise levels, the effects on wildlife and the business and environmental case for wind energy.
The German style feed-in tariff that Ontario implemented in 2009 has made Ontario a North American leader in renewable energy. Learn how they did and why other provinces need to follow the lead of Ontario.
When the people behind the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative first thought up the idea of a highly visible urban wind turbine they had no idea how far it would eventually go. From this revolutionary first project grew the organizations and people who would nudge Ontario towards North America’s first German style feed-in tariff.
Cheryl Shuman, a city councillor with the city of Dawson Creek in northeastern British Columbia considers herself a turbine hugger, not a tree hugger. She was part of the Peace Energy Co-operative a local grassroots group that developed the Bear Mountain Wind Park.
Have you ever wanted to get solar panels on your house but were scared of the costs, time and effort it would take? Enmax, a Calgary based utility, has simplified the process for homeowners with their Generate Choice program. Simply sign up and if you qualify Enmax will handle the installation, permitting and maintenance.
Meet the people and families that have taken the solar energy plunge.
NAIT’s Alternative Energy Program is helping meet the increasing demand for professionals to design, build, install and maintain green energy systems. A two-year program, it teaches students the intricacies of solar, wind, geothermal and even fuel cell systems.
Meet the students and instructors who are helping to create the next generation of skilled green energy workers.
Author Chris Turner is an inspiration. As a writer he has focused on real world examples of people, places and programs where the future is already here. Things like self-sufficient islands in Denmark, Germany’s renewable energy metamorphosis and the surprising results of Spain’s commitment to high-speed rail.
We speak with Chris about the three leaps we need to take to replace non-renewable energy with renewable energy in the next 50 years.
The award winning Hat Smart program in Medicine Hat, Alberta provides incentives and rebates for renewable energy and energy efficiency and has really captured the imagination of residents of this Southern Alberta City of 61,000 people. In this week’s episode Alderman Ted Clugston explains how success depends on a sexy program, a solar powered dentist shows his stuff and a home builder explains how building an EnerGuide 89 geothermal heated home is helping him build better, greener homes.