While perusing the local CBC news I found two great articles that highlight the effect our building choices have on the environment.
The first, “Alberta Households Emit Most Greenhouse Gas in the Country,” was less than uplifting. (It can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/household-emissions-study-1.3697959). While we have a cold climate to deal with, our province has one of the highest solar gain potentials in the world (sunny prairie skies!), which can be used to passively heat our homes with no additional technologies, simply by orienting the houses and planning seasonal shading in a way that capitalizes on the potential gain. PV panel technology has been improving rapidly and we can use those free sun beams for electricity or to preheat our water.
The second story highlights that people are catching on to this! (read here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/brant-colony-net-zero-solar-egg-farms-alberta-1.3695571) Maybe in the future, much like we currently vote with our wallet for factors like organic or not, free range or free run, we will be able to choose based on our food’s carbon footprint, too!