Heat Pump Chronicles Vol2

back yard at dawn

This is the second in a series of posts on our journey to navigate government grants and loans available for home energy retrofits and to replace our natural gas furnace with a cold-climate heat pump. Click here to see all articles in the series.

A New Beginning

In the previous post I reported the 16-year-old natural gas furnace in Dayle’s and my home started acting up just before Christmas. We’d invested in a furnace maintenance call in the fall that resulted in a part being replaced, a reassurance that our furnace was in good shape, and a $200 bill. So, when the Christmas Eve repairman, left us without finding the problem, only another charge approaching $200, I was not amused. The weather turned really cold on Boxing Day. Our ailing furnace struggled to get the inside temperature above 18°C. I felt like Bob Cratchit, forced to wear double sweaters, tuque and mittens with the fingers cut out. But I was resolved not to replace our current furnace with another natural gas unit. I wanted a heat pump that would be fossil-fuel free.

Continue reading “Heat Pump Chronicles Vol2”

Heat Pump Chronicles Vol 1

This is the first in a series of posts on our journey to navigate government grants and loans available for home energy retrofits and to replace our natural gas furnace with a cold-climate heat pump. Click here to see all articles in the series.

The Break Up

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the dormitory,
Nothing was stirring, not even the reverberatory,
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes the furnace repair guy soon would be there.

Dayle and I had been thinking of getting a heat pump for quite a while. We’d done all the usual things to make our house more energy efficient. We’d upgraded windows, sealed baseboards and electrical outlets, installed weather stripping on all our doors, and blew more insulation into our attic, bringing it to a lofty R62. Replacing the natural gas furnace perhaps was the next logical step to reduce our carbon emissions. We just weren’t expecting we’d have to start the process over the holiday season.

Continue reading “Heat Pump Chronicles Vol 1”

Applications Now Open for Citizen Advisory Committees

Grow Green Network Launch

At the beginning of each new term, Brampton City Council approves a list of committees, boards and tribunals that will provide them advice on specific matters requiring a citizen voice and aligning with the City’s Strategic Plan. Each committee has a mandate and workplan, (usually updated annually), is supported by city staff and, in many cases, handles work that staff don’t usually perform.

Most of these committees are composed of citizen volunteers who have an interest in specific aspects of the city building process and who want to be involved in helping shape the policy and direction of city growth. The Environment Advisory Committee (BEAC) is one of these civic bodies.

BEAC’s purpose is to assist, educate, and engage the community to advance the goals and actions of the City’s Environmental Master Plan (EMP). The Committee advises Council on environmental planning policy and sustainability matters to promote the protection, enhancement, and management of the City’s natural and built environment.

The BEAC is comprised of 12-15 citizen members including one Council member who, for this term, is Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor. BEAC meetings are held every other month and usually last about 2 hours. Sub-committees are formed to perform specific tasks identified in the workplan.

I joined the BEAC as a citizen member in 2012 and have participated through 2 1/2 Council terms and three Mayors. I have seen the environment move from being a fringe topic of Council discussion to being a mainstream Council priority, driven mostly by climate change.

I’ve been involved in many environmental advocacy initiatives including Heart Lake Road Ecology, the City’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan, the declaration of a climate emergency and the creation of an active transportation department and master plan, (ATMP).

I’ve been involved in many community outreach activities including helping organize an Ontario environment advisory committee symposium, the creation of the Grow Green Network, (now the BEA), and the City’s first Earth Day festival and awards celebration.

I’ve also had considerable input into the City’s 2040 Vision, the development plan for Heritage Heights, the Uptown densification strategy, the Downtown revitalization plan and the Riverwalk Flood Control and Management Project, among others.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have met and worked with some very wonderful people, committee members, council and staff. We sometimes disagreed on approach or priority but we all felt passionately about the importance of environmental sustainability to the health and well-being of Brampton’s citizens.

I’ve decided not to put my name forward for a BEAC position for this Council term. It’s not because I think the job is done, far from it. Continued environmental degradation is by far the biggest threat to the quality of our way of life, maybe even to our very survival. But it is time for those with new and innovative ideas to step forward and be heard. I encourage you to do so.

As quoted in the Citizen Appointment Public Notice published by the City Clerk’s office, “Citizen appointments play a critical role in how we plan for the future. Public participation is vital to good governance and growth. Together, we can make the best possible Brampton. Please consider putting your name forward to help shape today and a thriving tomorrow for our City.”