Brampton Environmental Alliance hosts Annual General Meeting

AGM Announcement Tile

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) hosted its second annual general meeting this past Wednesday March 13th. Twenty-two individual and organizational members attended along with 9 non-members and 5 guests. Among the guests was Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor who engaged with members at the conclusion of the meeting.

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Heat Pump Chronicles Vol. 6 Is “Axing the Tax” really a good idea?

This is the sixth 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.

I realize I’m about to wade into the political swamp by arguing that taxing carbon is a good thing for Canada and for most Canadians. Mr. Pierre Poilievre, leader of his majesty’s loyal opposition, has made carbon taxation the key plank in his Conservative party’s unofficial election platform. And, if the polls are correct, he has successfully convinced the majority of Canadians that this villainous initiative of the Liberal government’s environmental strategy is the root cause of virtually all of this country’s economic woes.

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BEA to Co-host Provincial Election Debate

Ontario 100 debates on the environment

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) is teaming with Engage Peel, Human Impact Environment and GreePAC to host an all-candidates debate for the upcoming Provincial election in the riding of Brampton North. The debate will take place virtually on May 17th, 6:30-8:00pm.

GreenPAC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that runs 100 Debates on the Environment, with the objective to make the environment an issue that no party and no candidate can ignore. GreenPAC works with local groups to co-ordinate and underwrite the costs of hosting an all-candidates debate.

“GreenPAC believes, debates let candidates know that the environment is a top voter priority”, according to GreenPAC Program Coordinator Rizwana Hussain. “They help voters to make the connection between climate change and their other priorities, like health and affordability, and to make an informed choice at the polls.”

The debate will offer local candidates the opportunity to answer questions on the environment and other issues important to voters in the Brampton North riding. Attend the debate by registering through Eventbrite here. If you would like to have your question put to the candidates submit your question here.

Passive House for Brampton’s Mount Pleasant Village

Courtesy of Daniels Homes

There is a new development coming to Brampton that raises the bar for environmentally sustainable buildings in the GTA suburbs. Built by The Daniels Corporation, on the north side of Bovaird between Mississauga Road and Creditview Road and located within easy walking distance of the GO station and Mount Pleasant Village’s Civic Square, this master-planned community will boast innovative features designed to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Construction on a 26 floor condo tower will start later this year. A state-of-the-art ground sourced geo-exchange system will provide zero emissions heating and cooling for the condo units.

Next year, the company will start construction on an environmental highlight, two six story purpose built rental buildings to meet Passive House standards. Availability of these rental units is forecasted for 2025.

Passive House comes from the German “Passivhaus” and is considered to be the most rigorous voluntary, energy-based standard in the design and construction industry today. Passive House buildings can result in up to 90% savings in energy used for heating and cooling, compared to conventional buildings. And the energy efficiency is designed into the building’s core and exterior rather than being dependent on complex heating and cooling systems that add cost and require care to maintain efficiency.

A neat feature of the Daniels’ rental project is that it will use mass timber construction, the first building of its kind in Brampton. Mass timber is made from layers of boards using a “cross-grain” technique, meaning each layer is glued at 90 degrees to the layer below it. This creates a slab of wood that can be used to make the entire building including, floors, walls, ceilings and other structural elements.

Mass timber is as strong or stronger than concrete or steel. It does a better job of insulating the building from heat and cold and from transmitted noise both outside and inside the building. The slabs can be manufactured in a plant and then transported and assembled on-site. This reduces construction costs and timing as well as the amount of site transportation.

Generally, people are happier, healthier and more productive working or living in a space where they experience higher levels of thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is a concept worthy of its own article but, basically, it is the combination of air temperature, air velocity, relative humidity, and the radiant temperature of walls, floors, ceilings, that affects a person’s sense of how cold or hot they feel. Mass timber buildings typically deliver superior thermal comfort.

Counter intuitively, mass timber can also perform better in a fire than concrete or steel. As the outside layer of wood chars, the inner layers are shielded from the heat slowing down the burning process. A burning mass timber building may remain standing longer than its steel or concrete counterpart where structural integrity deteriorates rapidly at sustained high temperatures.

Perhaps the best feature of mass timber construction is the carbon emissions reduction it provides. Wood supply is effectively carbon neutral so long as it is sustainably sourced. A substantial amount of carbon is sequestered in the wood itself. More carbon is saved by the reduced building time and transportation requirements by assembling the building in modular form. On balance mass timber buildings reduce global warming potential by more than 25% according to a study done by the University of Washington.

Environmentalists are rightly concerned about the sustainability of forestry practices that may be used to harvest wood for mass timber construction. Procurement must come from sources using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) practices, considered the gold standard of “climate-smart forestry”. But mass timber may be the only way to accommodate our growing population while meeting our carbon reduction goals. So, hats off to Daniels for bringing this innovative building material to Brampton. Let’s hope it is the first of many!

Peel Region wants your feedback on garbage user fees

Peel Region Waste Bins

Do you regularly use your green bin for compost and kitchen waste? How about garbage vs. recycling. Are you diligent about separating and rinsing out plastic and metal containers before you toss them? Would it change your habits if you had to pay based on the amount of garbage you dispose of?

Currently everyone in Peel Region pays the same regardless of garbage bin size. Sure, if you have more garbage than your bin will hold, you have to buy tags to have additional bags collected. But, if you stay within your bin size, you pay the same as all your neighbours, whether your bin is small, medium or large. That may be about to change.

The folks at the Region of Peel are thinking about changing the rules for garbage collection and they want to hear from you. They are considering charging user fees that vary depending on the bin size you use. One option is to rely solely on a user fee system. Another option is to rely on the tax-base to cover some of the costs of garbage collection while the remainder would be recouped as user fees. Or they could just leave the system as is.

What would your preference be? Here are somethings for you to consider.

Blue-box contamination is a growing problem in Peel Region. Eighty to ninety percent of households do a good job of properly separating garbage from recyclables. But the high contamination rate in the remaining 10-20%, raises Peel’s overall contamination average to 30%. It matters, because contamination of blue box recycling materials costs the Region over $3.6 million in added collection and processing costs each year.1

Another problem is that about half of what Peel residents put out to the street as garbage is actually material that could go into the Blue or Green bins. Fifteen percent of the garbage collected could have been recycled. And over forty percent is actually kitchen scraps or food waste.2 Not only is this expensive for the home owner but it is also bad for the environment.

When food is buried in landfill it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 3 About 6-8% of the world’s human caused greenhouse gases come from food waste.4

Cutting down on waste is a great way to help the environment. Properly separating and sorting waste is another. Being better at both will help the Region save money and reduce what we pay in taxes. Let the folks at Peel Region know what you think about waste collection and user fees by attending an open house or completing the on-line survey.

1 https://pub-peelregion.escribemeetings.com/FileStream.ashx?DocumentId=4482
2 https://peelregion.ca/officialplan/review/pdf/waste-management-discussion-paper.pdf
3 http://www.cec.org/flwy/food-waste-climate-change/#:~:text=When%20food%20ends%20up%20in,more%20potent%20than%20carbon%20dioxide.&text=When%20food%20gets%20wasted%2C%20we,earth%20%E2%80%93%20and%20polluting%20our%20environment.
4 https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/fight-climate-change-by-preventing-food-waste

BEA Meeting Wednesday December 8, 2021 6:15pm

The next meeting of the Brampton Environmental Alliance will be held virtually on Wednesday December 8th. Informal networking at 6:15pm. The meeting starts at 6:30pm sharp! Click the Register button for your free ticket.

Presentations

Dianne Saxe

Keynote presentation by Dr. Dianne Saxe. Dianne Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers and was the independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, until the Conservative Government rolled that position under the Office of the Auditor General in 2019. Dianne is running as a member of Provincial Parliament candidate for the Green Party of Ontario (University Rosedale riding) in next year’s Provincial election. Dianne is an articulate defender of the environment and a champion of the new green economy. The BEA is thrilled Dianne has agreed to share her passion and environmental knowledge with BEA meeting participants.

Tooba Shakeel – LEAF newsletter

Spotlight presentation by Tooba Shakeel. Tooba is a Senior Coordinator of Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program (SNAP) at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC). She is an ISA Certified Arborist, an EcoDistrict Accredited Professional and a Board member of LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) a Toronto-based not-for-profit group dedicated to urban forest protection. Thanks to Tooba for agreeing to share information about CVC programs in Brampton including the Fletcher’s Creek SNAP!

After the main meeting, those who wish to become more involved in the BEA can join one of the three working groups described below. Sign up to join one of the three working groups here.

Working Groups

  • Events
    This group coordinates events for members and assists with events for residents – BEA Collaboration event, Brampton Earth Day event
  • Education and Resources
    This group arranges talks on environmental topics, using the One Planet principles of focus: Land and Nature, Culture and Community, Travel and Transport as they relate to Brampton. The group also helps connect members to needed resources and expertise on financing and various environmental topics
  • Advocacy
    This group helps coordinate and amplify community advocacy campaigns and environmental initiatives under the three One Planet principles above.