Natural Living in the Mountains: How to minimize your housing ecological footprint

You most likely fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding your home (or potential new residence!) in the mountains. The peaks, trees, blue sky, and wildlife take your breath away. In order to preserve the landscape, we encourage all homeowners to practice reducing their ecological footprint. Below are a few ways to guide you toward natural living in the mountains and minimize your housing ecological footprint. 

Energy Efficiency

There are plenty of ways to make your home more energy efficient. Many of these are small, simple changes. Using energy efficient light bulbs and turning off the lights in rooms we aren’t in are simple things most of us do already. Other easy acts include unplugging appliances and cords when they aren’t in use and trying to reduce the amount of time spent in the bath or shower. Interestingly enough, small things like running the dishwasher or doing laundry overnight helps minimize the amount of energy used, too! There are typically less appliances running at night, so you aren’t overloading your home’s energy sources.

Bigger changes that can help conserve energy can be a bit more difficult to immediately implement. With some planning, though, they are excellent ways to be more energy efficient. If you are furnishing or replacing your home’s appliances, opt for high-efficiency machines to conserve energy. Insulate your home and seal your windows and doors to avoid hot and cold air from getting places it shouldn’t. Another form of renewable energy that is becoming more popular is the installation of solar panels. At one point, solar panels were thought to be very high priced. Today, solar panels have been made very affordable and also come in less conspicuous forms. If you are planning on re-roofing your home, solar panels are a wonderful way to minimize your ecological footprint. If you are making renovations or adding on to your home, work with your contractor! They will be your experts in the most effective insulation, strategic ventilation points, and outdoor features that innocuously provide shade.

Local Suppliers

As you look to modify and update your home, simply keeping your products in the local area can help with wastefulness. By buying local, you reduce the amount of packaging needed, as well as energy costs of transporting products. When you source your work locally, you are also able to better monitor what type of materials are being used on your home. You can verify that businesses you hire use sustainable resources. You will also be able to ask directly if they create their materials from natural or recycled products.

Landscaping Decisions

To help maintain the beauty of the nature around your home, there are many ways you can reduce your housing ecological footprint with your landscaping choices. First, you should always check with your local naturalists about what plants are native and well-suited to the area. You should also try to stay up-to-date on any diseases impacting plant life and remove potential illness-carrying plants. As far as caring for your landscaping, you can install a rainwater tank to collect water from the pop-up mountain showers. This is a great way to reuse nature’s gift to us and also save some money on your water bill! Rainwater tanks can also be used for indoor use, which is a great way to bring your energy-conscious efforts to all of your home.

Take Advantage of Your Home’s Features

Many homes in Canmore were designed with the cool mountain temperatures in mind. Take advantage of these accessible energy-saving features by using your fireplace to help heat your home. During the seasons with high and low temperatures, close the doors to unused areas and close the vents in these rooms. This helps you avoid trying to heat or cool a larger space than needed!

Speaking of heating and cooling, most homes are equipped with programmable thermostats. Take advantage of this! If you know you will be working most of the day, or if you plan to take a weekend trip, program your thermostat five degrees lower or higher. Your home doesn’t have to be the perfect temperature for you when you’re not in it! If your home isn’t working hard to maintain a warmer or cooler temperature, less energy is produced, reducing your housing ecological footprint.

Drive Less

The pedestrian-friendly design is one of the more attractive qualities of small mountain towns. Take advantage of this on nicer days! Instead of driving two blocks to go watch a movie, enjoy the view and fresh air and walk. Canmore also has an excellent cycling culture, so if you need a few things from the grocery store, take your bike and your backpack for a nice leisurely ride to save energy from driving a vehicle.

We all love the wilderness that surrounds us in the mountains. For current homeowners, there are simple and inexpensive ways to adjust your properties to become more energy efficient. If you are a prospective buyer, Canmore Real Estate Company would love to help you find the home that embraces natural living. For more information on the available properties and local energy efficiency trends, reach out to Devin Stephens! A seasoned real estate agent in the Canmore area, Devin has the knowledge and expertise to answer any of your questions and guide you toward finding your perfect property. Contact Devin at 403.688.7769 or reach out via email at dstephens@live.ca.

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