Environmental Sustainability Policy

1. BACKGROUND

Environmental sustainability is about meeting our own needs without preventing future generations from meeting theirs. To achieve this goal, all of society must take action to protect the natural environment, minimize use of resources, and reduce the human contribution to climate change.

2. PURPOSE

Old Grace Housing Co-operative intends to manage our property in an environmentally sustainable way and will seek to influence our members’ and suppliers’ practices to the same end. The board of directors, co-op members and staff will work together to put this policy into action.

Old Grace Housing Co-operative will respect the principle of “rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle” by:

  • providing members with good quality housing at a fair price, while keeping our environmental footprint as small as possible.
  • providing members with alternative transportation options (Peg City Car Co-op, private car sharing, car-pooling, ride sharing, secure bike storage).
  • complying with all environmental laws, regulations and by-laws that apply to us; incorporating environmental considerations in all occupancy policies and house rules.
  • prohibiting smoking in all parts of the building and on co-op property, and installing signage to this effect.
  • extending the useful life of buildings, fixtures and fittings by consistently taking proper care of them.
  • requiring that any replacements or additions to the building, or to the building’s original fixtures and fittings, meet the originally-specified environmental standards, or better.
  • considering the environmental impact of all co-op purchases; purchasing goods and services from suppliers with good environmental practices.
  • considering the environmental impact of all co-op activities, and reducing this when possible.
  • providing members with easily accessible areas for collection of reusable, recyclable and compostable materials.
  • educating residents by providing resources on Energy and Water Use, Alternative Cleaning and Laundry Products and other relevant topics.
  • installing point-of-use signage in common areas to prompt conservation actions.
  • seeking out opportunities for members and staff to learn more about reducing our co-op’s environmental footprint.
  • establishing a working group (Green Team) to regularly monitor progress; encouraging everyone living or working in our co-op to contribute to a healthier environment; publicizing our achievements.

SCHEDULE 1 – EFFICIENT ENERGY USE

Old Grace Housing Co-operative has been designed and constructed for efficient energy use, viz:

  • LED lighting installed throughout the building.
  • Sensor-controlled lights installed in stairways.
  • Energy-efficient appliances installed in the common kitchen.
  • High-efficiency washing machines and dryers installed in the common laundry.
  • Energy-efficient appliances installed in suites.
  • Low-flow shower-heads installed in suites, and in the guest-room bathroom.
  • Suite-level controls provided for temperature, lighting and ventilation.
  • Blinds installed in the building reduce solar heat uptake in summer, and heat loss in winter.

The co-op will make further efforts to reduce energy consumption by:

  • moderating room temperature in the common areas, in summer and winter.
  • using occupancy sensors to switch off lights when common areas are not in use.
  • putting common area computers and other electronic devices into sleep or hibernate mode when not in use, and turning them off overnight.
  • reminding residents to conserve energy in common areas through point-of-use signage.
  • requiring that replacement appliances, fixtures or fittings meet the building’s original energy-consumption standards, or better, in both common areas and suites.
  • requiring that any member-supplied appliances in suites meet the co-op’s energy-consumption standards for appliances, or better.
  • allowing the use of clothes drying racks on suite balconies
  • providing residents with resources on Energy and Water Use, and other relevant topics; regularly updating and promoting these.
  • monitoring building energy use over time and regularly sharing results with residents.
  • celebrating and publicising the co-op’s progress towards environmental sustainability

The co-op will encourage residents to reduce their home energy consumption by:

  • moderating winter (heating) temperature settings
    • daytime 20-21°C (68-70°F); night-time 18.3°C (65.0°F)
    • away for > 4 hours 18.3°C (65.0°F); during planned absences 16°C (60°F)
  • moderating summer (air-conditioning) temperature settings
    • daytime and nighttime 25.6°C (78°F);
    • away for > 4 hours (26.7°C (80°F); switching off during planned absences
  • using room fans for additional cooling, instead of lowering air conditioning temperature
  • installing programmable thermostats
  • switching off lights when not in use; switching off computers and other devices when not in use.
  • recharging batteries as many times as possible.
  • using cold water for cleaning purposes, when appropriate
  • participating in bulk purchasing, Community Shared Agriculture, and home delivery of food to reduce personal vehicle use.

SCHEDULE 2 – EFFICIENT WATER USE

Old Grace Housing Co-operative has been designed and constructed for efficient water use, viz:

  • Low-flow shower-heads installed in suites, and in the guest-room bathroom.
  • Low-flow faucets installed in suites, and in the common area kitchen and washrooms.
  • Dual-flush toilets installed in suites, and in all common-area washrooms
  • High-efficiency washing machines installed in the common laundry.
  • Drought-tolerant plants selected for landscaping
  • Rain gardens included in the landscape design, to reduce water run-off.
  • An underground cistern constructed to retain storm water for landscape use.

The co-op will make further efforts to reduce water consumption by:

  • using rain barrels to collect run-off from building eavestroughs.
  • watering landscaped areas only when needed.
  • requiring that replacement appliances, fixtures or fittings meet the building’s original water-conservation standards, or better, in both common areas and suites.
  • providing residents with resources on Energy and Water Use, and other relevant topics; regularly updating and promoting these.
  • reminding residents to conserve water in common areas through point-of-use signage.
  • monitoring co-op water use, and regularly sharing results with residents
  • celebrating and publicising the co-op’s progress towards environmental sustainability

The co-op will encourage residents to reduce their home water consumption bytaking actions such as:

  • avoiding leaving taps running (e.g., while brushing teeth, rinsing fruit or vegetables)
  • running the dishwasher only when full; handwashing dishes at other times
  • washing full loads of laundry
  • saving water for indoor use, e.g., watering houseplants

SCHEDULE 3 – EFFICIENT WASTE MANAGEMENT

During building construction, Old Grace Housing Co-operative participated in construction waste diversion measures as part of LEED Certification.

The co-op will make further efforts to reduce waste, and manage waste disposal efficiently, by:

  • buying second-hand furniture and equipment where practical.
  • purchasing office paper products containing post-consumer recycled content.
  • communicating with members and others face-to-face or electronically, whenever possible.
  • holding paperless meetings, with documents under discussion projected on a screen.
  • as much as possible, not purchasing or using disposable paper or plastic products in the common area kitchen, or for co-op social events.
  • reminding residents using common facilities to dispose of waste materials appropriately, through point-of-use signage.
  • seeking out suppliers that use recycled materials in the manufacture of their product.
  • sharing information on Alternative Cleaning and Laundry Productswith members
  • purchasing common area cleaning products in re-fillable containers, when possible.
  • providing residents with opportunities to dispose of unwanted, but usable, household items (eg. developing a list of community groups, and items needed).
  • offering unwanted equipment or goods to co-op residents or to community groups, before sending these items for recycling.
  • providing residents with information on community recycling programs for items not accepted by the City recycling program; organizing periodic collection drives and group drop-off.
  • providing assistance to residents in disposing of household hazardous waste products.
  • monitoring co-op waste reduction efforts, and regularly sharing results with residents.
  • celebrating and publicising the co-op’s progress towards environmental sustainability.

The co-op will encourage residents to reduce their home waste production by:

  • sharing a newspaper subscription; taking magazines to common areas after reading.
  • taking used newspapers to pet shelters, or offering these for landscape mulch
  • making their own cleaning and laundry products
  • purchasing personal hygiene and home cleaning products in refillable containers, when possible.
  • repairing clothing and household items when possible (eg. Sewing Repair Club)
  • offering unwanted but usable items to other co-op residents, or to community organizations.
  • offering surplus electronics for upgrading and reuse, rather than recycling
  • participating in City of Winnipeg curbside recycling program, and other community recycling programs.
  • participating in co-op composting activities (on-site or off-site).
  • promptly taking household hazardous waste products to a city waste facility; assisting other residents who need help to do this.
  • using rechargeable batteries.

SCHEDULE 4 – HEALTHY INDOOR ENVIRONMENT

Old Grace Housing Co-operative has been designed and constructed to provide residents with a healthy indoor environment and good air quality, viz:

  • Indoor air quality standards meet LEED Certification standards.
  • Low VOC adhesives, sealants, and coatings used throughout the building.
  • All common areas and suites painted with low-VOC products.
  • Composite wood used throughout the building, including plywood, MDF and particleboard, contains no added urea-formaldehyde (NAUF).
  • Vinyl flooring and carpeting in both common areas and suites meets low-emission standards.
  • Windows in suites and in common areas provide residents with natural daylight and views to the outdoors.

The co-op will make further efforts to protect the health of co-op members and staff by:

  • prohibiting smoking inside the building and on co-op property, and installing signage to this effect.
  • requiring that any replacements or additions to the building, or to the building’s original fixtures and fittings, meet the originally-specified air-quality standards, or better.
  • repainting common areas and suites as necessary using low VOC products.
  • cleaning common areas using environmentally-sound methods and eco-friendly cleaning products
  • providing residents with information on Alternative Cleaning & Laundry Products.
  • requesting member support for the common laundry to be a “scent-free zone”
  • investigating member support for including the cost of eco-friendly, unscented laundry soap in the common laundry charge-per-load
  • providing dryer balls for use in the common laundry, as an alternative to dryer sheets.
  • keeping building entry-ways ice-free in winter using non-toxic products
  • using non-chemical approaches to pest control in both common areas and suites; when chemical treatment is necessary using the least-toxic product.
  • using non-chemical approaches to pest control for indoor plants, and landscaped areas.
  • disposing of household hazardous wastes in ways that protect human health and the environment
  • providing assistance to co-op members to dispose of their hazardous wastes.
  • advertising all co-op meetings as “scent-free” events
  • monitoring co-op air-quality improvement efforts, and regularly sharing results with residents
  • celebrating and publicising the co-op’s progress towards environmental sustainability

The co-op will encourage residents to maintain air quality in their suites by:

  • using low-VOC products when repainting their suite walls.
  • purchasing furniture, fixtures or furnishings that emit low levels of VOC and formaldehyde.
  • using home-made eco-friendly cleaning products when possible.
  • purchasing unscented, eco-friendly personal hygiene and home cleaning products, when possible.
  • promptly taking household hazardous waste products to a city waste facility