Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy New Year!

I've been thinking about starting this blog for a while. Every morning I read Vanessa's blog at and I am inspired by all of the changes she has made in her life to reduce her impact on the environment (among other things she sold her car, unplugged her fridge and stopped using her oven!). I often go through the day thinking of all of the changes our family could be (should be) making in our own lives to lighten our impact on the planet. So I'm starting this blog to challenge our family into making 52 changes in the next year (one change per week) beyond the basic things we are already doing because I believe small changes can make a big difference.

Change #1 - 'This Old House'
Two years ago, shortly after we got married we bought an old house in downtown Ottawa. We aren't exactly sure how old it is, but we know that it's over ninety years old. Since living here I have developed a love/hate relationship with our house. There are lots of things to love. The main thing we love is the location. The fact that we live downtown means we only need one car - my work is only a 30 minute walk away. Derek's commute is only 10 minutes by car. It's only two blocks away from my sister's place. It's walking distance to all of the amenities (which I'm especially enjoying now that I'm on maternity leave). It has a huge yard (which is unusual for downtown) with big trees that give us lots of shade in the summer.

There are however a few things we don't like that much.... one of them strangely enough being... the location. Some parts of our street has a bit of a 'cracktown' feel to it. Though many of the houses on our street are well taken care of, there are a few houses that look like they may collapse at any given moment. We witnessed a drug deal in a car parked in front of our house a few weeks ago.... yuck. We are only one block away from the Greyhound bus station (where day or night the buses can be found idling away) and only two blocks away from the Queensway (hello air pollution).

But the main thing that I would say that really bothers us about the house is how drafty it is. In the Summer the house is very warm which usually forces us to use the a/c and in the Winter it's so cold we have to crank up the heat and still we need to use a space heater at times. It bothers me that we spend a great deal of money every month to either cool or warm our house and that most of that expensive air is being lost because our house isn't properly insulated (or whatever the problem is). Not to mention the impact this has on the environment!

So our first change for 2008 will be to get an energy efficiency audit of our house to give us an idea of what we can do to improve things. It will likely cost us somewhere around $350-400 (minus the provincial and federal rebates) but hopefully it will be well worth it.

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