Case Study: Green a Home, Improve the Quality of Life

Case Study

A small home office, the Bankview Bungalow, was a 1950’s rental with potential, but needing a lot of work. Where does a tenant start and how far do they go on a small budget? Spread over a couple of years, a number of affordable money-saving items were installed (some from re-purposed materials via FreeCycle, others new  from Green Calgary). Some of these will be taken with the current tenants when they move on and others will be enjoyed by the next.

To be clear, not everything was about saving money, it also improving the quality of life in their home.

Air (improving air quality, saving energy)

  • changing furnace filter and cleaning air vents every 2-3 months
  • improved venting of natural gas range
  • switched to no scent/phosphate detergents, local soaps, vinegar & water sprays, etc. 
  • adding yucca, aloe vera, dracaena, bamboo, philodendron, fig and spider plants  


  • water reduction toilet kit for most frequently used washroom
  • low flow shower head with “navy shower” trickle-flow button
  • faucet aerators to reduce flow rate
  • four rain-barrels for lawn and garden


  • Kill-A-Watt energy meter to check for phantom loads
  • Energy Star electronics on switchable powerbars 
  • LED and CFL lamps inside and out (halogens used on dimmer and motion-sensor circuits)
  • programmable “setback” thermostat
  • leaky attic hatch received new weather-stripping and latches
  • converted "leaky" utility closet to a food cold-closet with insulation and weather-stripping
  • outdoor solar oven used to cook occasional meals
  • 100 Watts of photovoltaic modules mounted on garage wall to charge electric bikes (solar-bikes!)


  • compost bin for yard waste
  • vermiculture (worm) bin for food scraps
  • bird and squirrel feeders for the wee critters
  • box garden from broken concrete and wooden railway ties (lined with landscaping material)
  • two private relaxing nooks, one with fire pit (all from re-purposed wood, bricks and rocks)
  • locally sourced metal, stone and wood art pieces throughout yard