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Smart Power Strips & Why You Should Buy One

Here’s a great way to save energy (and cash): invest in a smart power strip. Vampire power is a real thing. Many things that stay plugged in all day – like your TV, computer and toaster oven – keep using energy even when they’re turned off. This vampire – or standby – power means that electricity is being leaked and wasted. Smart power strips prevent this.

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Net Zero: The Future Standard

I haven’t discussed it often here on my blog, but I’m a founding member of the Canadian Home Builder Association’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council. The mandate of the council is creating a market advantage for CHBA builder and renovator members pursuing Net Zero Energy performance. What is Net-Zero? Simply put, it’s a building practice that uses a multitude of renewable technologies to build homes that consume either less or an equal amount of energy than they produce on an annual basis. The concept has become quite attractive to homebuyers, especially amidst rising hydro rates that have caused a hyper awareness of our carbon footprints – and the overall energy consumption of our homes.

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Millennial Homebuyers

Millennials are changing the way the world works. We see this more and more as they are becoming increasingly involved in social activism, seen through an array of different movements such as Occupy Wall Street, and the political process. Also, and most notably, they are the most environmentally conscious generation ever. A recent survey revealed that 83% of millennials allow the sustainable attributes of a product to influence their purchasing decisions. They also tend to favour working for companies that care about their impact on the planet, and many of them are choosing buses and bikes over cars. As they begin to enter the housing market, they’re focusing on sustainable features that not only save them money but also help to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

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Subsidized Solar Energy

There’s no doubt the renewable resources, such as solar energy, are the future of our planet. With the impending depletion of more harmful energy sources, it only seems logical that we’d all want to work toward finding cleaner, more economically friendly ways to power all of the things that matter most to us, both on a residential and larger scale, commercial level. Solar energy is especially interesting, because it presents the idea of energy independence, allowing households to produce what they need, without relying on the grid. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive to get your foot in the door, so to speak. This past week though, one start-up got the seed money necessary to help eliminate the cost barrier to photovoltaic energy production.

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A Solar Powered City

Could solar energy power an entire city? Well, globally we’ve gone from a capability of 1275 to 136,697 megawatts annually over the past 15 years, which is enough clean electricity to power over 27 million average homes. Its adoption, however, has been generally quite slow due to the financial commitment necessary. A medium sized system can start from $4000 – $6000, dependant on its complexity and capability. That being said, prices – and technology – are starting to become more digestible, and various incentives from energy companies are beginning to make the prospect of making the switch (or addition) more attractive.

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