Canada contains many radon gas-generating regions and, because we have constructed population centres across all of them, radon is the primary cause of lung cancer in 10,000- 40,000 Canadians per decade. We have conducted detailed radon gas analysis of 11,000+ homes spread across Alberta and Saskatchewan, finding that 1 in 6 contain hazardous amounts of radon with newer homes in many regions (but not all) having much higher total radon. We have revealed an unknown “X factor” within environmental design practice across regions that is a major contributor to radon exposure, and our goal now is to understand this and develop solutions to protect the population. We aim to (i) identify modifiable behaviors and environmental design practices influencing chronic radon exposure in our changing world and (ii) define engineering and community intervention solutions applicable within the Canadian context to eliminate radon as a source of cancer in the future.
The primary goal of this guide is to provide design recommendations – derived from evidence-based scientific literature – that may enhance mentalwellbeing. This guide hopes to be a benchmark to allow affordable housing stakeholders to consider the psychological impact of certain design elements. This is achieved by considering a balance between the cost efficiency of the design elements, and the benefit as supported by peer-reviewed psychological studies.
In 2018 Academic Research, Affordability, Healthy Homes, Homeowners, Housing, Publication
This report examines the important contribution that municipalities can make to biodiversity conservation in Alberta where amendments to the Municipal Government Act empower, and indeed require, Alberta’s municipalities to enhance their environmental protection efforts. An examination of these changes, assessed using the principles of subsidiarity, environmental governance, and biocultural diversity, reveals that municipalities, both large and small, urban and rural, can innovate with novel legal initiatives to improve their biodiversity related conservation actions. Concurrently, while municipal innovation is possible, improving local biodiversity conservation action also requires innovations in funding, citizen engagement, and regional environmental governance. Municipalities are already recognized contributors to biodiversity conservation and great strides have been made at the municipal level to increase habitat connectivity. Current municipal conservation efforts need to be augmented to harness new statutory powers, capitalize on local knowledge and initiative, and enhance citizen education and engagement.In 2018 Academic Research, Homeowners, Land Stewardship
The final report of a study investigating the adoption of technological advancements in irrigation agriculture found irrigators are actively adopting these technologies, generating benefits for irrigators, the broader communities that depend on irrigation, and the environment. Often referred to as “precision agriculture”, the technologies improve crop yield and quality, as well as reduce farm inputs. Examples of such technologies are GPS systems, satellite imagery, auto-steer technology, and weather monitoring sensors.
The study, entitled “Advancements in Irrigation Agriculture with Implications for Economic and Community Development and Environmental Stewardship in Southern Alberta”, surveyed Taber Irrigation District irrigators. The findings were recently released by researchers Drs. Lorraine and Chris Nicol of the University of Lethbridge.
The study found:
– 81% of irrigators have adopted some form of precision agriculture;
– yearly crop yields have increased an average 20% and yearly crop quality has increased an average 16%;
– yearly reductions in irrigation water, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides have ranged from 14% to 24%;
– precision agriculture technologies are being applied largely to specialty crops;
– for 85% of adopters, precision agriculture has affected their overall farm management approach;
– 89% of adopters are highly satisfied with the technology;
– 92% of adopters plan to adopt additional precision agriculture technologies in the future;
– non-adopters indicate small operations, high investment costs, and incompatibility of machines are the main reasons for their non-adoption of precision agriculture technologies.
Alberta does not have a land transfer tax on the sale of real property, nor should the province contemplate bringing one in. Instead, if the Alberta government seeks new tax revenue, it should institute a sales tax or raise property taxes.
This paper examines previous research on land transfer taxes in Canada, Australia and Europe, and concludes that such a tax would only add its own volatility to that inherent to Alberta’s resource revenue-based economy. Calculations show that a one-per-cent land transfer tax in Alberta would have yielded between $460 million and $500 million for provincial coffers in 2017. However appealing that amount of revenue sounds, the tax’s benefits do not outweigh its drawbacks.
In 2017 Academic Research, Policy
Poised to implement its own Property Assessed Clean Energy program (PACE), Alberta is in an ideal position to develop regulations that address the program’s main issues by learning from other jurisdictions’ experiences with PACE.
The goal of PACE is to help Albertans live greener by providing financing for clean energy upgrades to their properties. The funding would take the form of a loan repaid through an annual amount added to their property taxes.
A 2018 survey reported that 68 per cent of Albertans believe the provincial economy would benefit by transitioning to lower carbon energy sources. Nova Scotia’s experience has borne out PACE’s intrinsic value – homes with PACE-financed upgrades in that province reduced their total energy consumption by 33 per cent, thus saving approximately 10 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year for each home.
This paper examines the experiences with PACE in both the U.S. and Canada and offers a framework for creating an Alberta model. Still at square one with newly enacted legislation, the Alberta government must address through regulation such issues as the size of PACE loans, eligibility requirements for property owners, what types of environmental upgrades will be permitted and even the interest rate on loans funding the program.In 2017 Academic Research, Energy, Policy
The project incorporated the Settlement Growth Simulator into Alberta Tomorrow, enabling students in the Alberta Education System understand the effects of land use. Online delivery to the classroom enabled students to explore alternative land-use scenarios and human settlement growth strategies. The system is publicly available and free of charge.
In 2010 Academic Research, Land Stewardship, Publication
This study entitled Aboriginal Housing in Canada: Building On Promising Practices was prepared as part of a series organized by the International Housing Coalition (IHC) for presentation at the World Urban Forum in June 2006. This resource is available as a hard copy in the AREF office.In 2005 Academic Research, Community, Housing, Publication
This course was funded as part of the Albert Eco-Home Demonstration project and identifies the builder and renovator requirements for developing “green” homes. It also outlines the homebuyer benefits of each of the “green” programs and initiatives in Alberta, including: EnerGuide for New Houses, EnerGuide for Existing Houses, Built Green and R-2000. This resource is available in hard copy format at the AREF office.In 2004 Academic Research, Convening, Environment, Housing
A case study on implementing a Municipal Growth Management Strategy. This resource is available in hard copy format in the AREF office.In 1995 Academic Research, Community, Housing, Publication
Education program which explores the roles played by private and corporate land development companies as they design, plan and build new residential communities. This VHS tape resource is available in the AREF office.In 1994 Academic Research, Community, Video/podcast
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