Whether you’re thinking about making a condominium your next home, or simply considering the implications of the condo lifestyle you’re currently living, your impact on the environment is an unavoidable reality to consider. It makes perfect sense: when you call a condo home you’re presented the unique opportunity to make a massive, collaborative impact on the environment.
While the impacts of climate change become an increasingly common talking point, it’s understandable that the hottest new trend in the highly competitive condo market is the green condo, developments that are highly sustainably and environmentally responsible.
What exactly though is a “green” condo? There’s no hard line in the sand when it comes to what consumers consider green, but instead a sliding scale of sustainability initiatives. Roof gardens are becoming incredibly popular as they provide a small oases from our glass and concrete jungles while simultaneously serving as a habitat for birds, bees and thriving vegetable gardens.
Some developments are built with renewable energy in mind, specifically geothermal and solar energy. Geothermal energy is obtained by accessing the earth’s stable temperature to heat homes in the winter and cool them in the summer, while solar energy is derived from rooftop solar arrays that transform energy from the sun into electricity.
The benefits of going green are undeniable. Not only can homeowners and renters walk away feeling great about reducing their carbon footprint but the positive impacts extend to their own bottom lines: green living results in smaller hydro bills and there’s the potential to earn income for the building if more energy is produced than the building consumes.
Of course, if your building isn’t ready to install solar roofs and the like, don’t worry! Speak to your board about making these small, easy changes and celebrate the subsequent relief you’ll be giving the environment:
- Install bicycle racks to encourage residents to own and use bicycles
- Host regular clothing and toy swaps for gently used items to reduce the need to buy new products
- Start a tool library so residents can share tools and appliances as opposed to buying new products
- Ensure that recycling bins are in a convenient location to encourage residents to recycle their waste
- Choose eco-friendly cleaning products when cleaning your home
However there’s another option out there for condo residents to pursue, one that eliminates the need for parking space drama and expensive on-going car payments. The solution: car-sharing!
Car sharing is the ideal option when it comes to condo living for a number of reasons. First and most important to the average Torontonian, car-sharing programs are often much more affordable than owning a vehicle. Research tells us that households can save between $154 to $435 a month by joining a car sharing program. There are two types of car sharing to consider: one-way and two-way.
In Etobicoke, the one-way car sharing service Car2Go dominates the market. One-way sharing means that you pick up the car from location A and drop it off anywhere in the predetermined service area, making its use easy and convenient (perfect for your commute). In most cases, insurance is included and anytime you spend refueling with be credited back to you in minutes. One of the perks? Car2Go’s entire fleet is comprised of low-emission vehicles!
The interest in this new form of transportation is evident, Car2Go was originally located in Humber Bay Shores but had been removed due to initial push-back from a small group of residents. However, the service has recently returned due to popular demand! Clearly going green isn’t just a passing craze…
Another environmentally friendly option that more and more condo residents are making the switch to is swapping their current vehicles for electric cars. Electric cars are not only significantly healthier for our environment (and also us), they tend to be more cost-efficient than filling up your tank of gas each week. Electric car owners simply need to charge their cars overnight to enjoy countless kms of commuting. The one downside? Condo boards haven’t yet caught up with the demand for charging stations! In Humber Bay Shores, the lack of charging stations is becoming an issue as more residents get on the electric car scene. This will surely need to be addressed in the coming years as more drivers begin transitioning into green lifestyles.
Get started today by speaking to your condo board about making your residence greener, and the transportation options surrounding your home as well!