Community Stories

New Year, New Focus on Our Homes

January 09, 2020

With winter fully settled in and the busy holiday season over, now’s a good time to focus on our homes.

Considering making some changes in 2020? Does your new year resolution have an environmental focus? The City of Red Deer spoke to one resident, who is passionate about the environment and reducing the impact she and her family make.

Meet Heidi, a total environment and recreation enthusiast! A few years ago, her family was ready to build a new house, and in the end, it would turn out like one they’d never lived in before. From orientation (the backyard gets all the sun), to neighbourhood (walkability was a priority) and to building materials (aimed for local as possible), every decision was made with efficiency, sustainability and durability in mind. 

Heidi admits this was not easy or cheap “I probably wouldn’t do it again!” she laughed, but the effort was worth it to live in her dream home. “Reduced energy use and a very comfortable interior are just two of the highlights,” Heidi continued.

Understandably, not everyone is able or wants to build a new house, so she also gave a number of tips that can work just about anywhere. 

Tips to Try at Home:

  • Take advantage of passive solar gain. The sun is your friend, so open or close window coverings to warm up or cool down your home.
  • Switch lighting to LED, especially in rooms used often. LED bulbs can be more expensive than other bulbs, but worth it over the long run. Keep an eye on sales for the best deal.
  • Create an edible yard. Plant native fruit trees and bushes such as saskatoons or raspberries and consider composting at home, or use your Green Cart regularly.
  • Look for upcycled materials when doing home projects. Talk to friends, neighbours and try looking online. In Heidi’s home, beautiful accent walls were made from unused bricks from a different project.
  • Reduce the number of trips by vehicle. Carpool, take transit, ride your bike to work or walk to the store whenever possible.

“With all changes, be patient and don’t be afraid to dream big,” said Danielle Carpenter, Environmental Program Specialist with The City of Red Deer. “Designing your environmentally friendly home should be fun, as you want to enjoy your space and the changes you’re making.”

If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, check out The City’s Healthy Yards webpages, or stop by the Red Deer Public Library to see what types of resources they have available.