Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

duvet_300_1Can you imagine a better way to keep yourself warm than snuggling under a soft fluffy duvet on a cold February night?

Now imagine, on that same winter’s night, how comfortable it might be if the whole house were tucked under a massive fluffy duvet. Well, we decided to find out.

The existing attic insulation, barely enough to pass the 1983 building code when our house was built, had compressed over time and had been further trampled by contractors over the years. Our recent Home Energy Audit revealed that it averaged no better than R-20 and, in some spots the upstairs ceiling was virtually naked to the cold! Our hard-earned dollars, in the form of heating and cooling costs were, quite literally, going through the roof! Dayle and I decided our house needed a new blanket. 

certainteed_insulation_300Our recent Energy_Audit  recommended upgrading our existing base to R-50, aligning it with Ontario`s current minimum standard for new home attic insulation. With energy prices expected to rise steeply in the coming years we wanted better than the minimum and opted to increase our insulation value to R-62. That meant raising the existing level to 21 inches! 

Although cost was certainly a factor,

we were more concerned about job quality and the use of eco-friendly materials that would continue to keep us cozy and comfortable for many years.  We plan to stay in our home for at least 10 more years and we have been told to expect the energy cost savings will pay for the investment in about half that time. So it is certainly worth it, and we can list this feature on our “Green Property Information Sheet” when we do sell.

dayle_speaking_inline_fiberglass_3_300Conscious Consumers are having energy audits performed and are looking for the best value when renovating or putting on additions.

“Windows are the weak link in terms of energy efficiency and cold-weather comfort.  Windows can account for up to 30 percent of the heat loss from a conventional home, adding significantly to heating costs.” Natural_Resources_Canada

Design professionals and architects gathered in the showroom of local fibreglass window and door manufacturer, Inline_Fiberglass_Ltd for seminars in February and March of 2012. Dayle delivered the straight goods on window physics, and explained precisely what to look for when specifying windows. Anyone in the market for new windows will want this information.

energy_star_logo_100Selecting windows with the Energy Star certification for your zone rating in North America is an important start.

Energy Star has become recognized internationally from Australia to Europe. Performance windows allow for a higher, more comfortable relative humidity in winter. In Canada, selecting Hard-coat Low-E for south and west windows, and Soft-coat Low-E for north and east windows are preferred options for minimizing heat loss in winter and controlling solar gain.

dayle_speaking_inline_fiberglass_2_300Fibreglass window frames may provide 40 or more years of low maintenance, making them the preferred choice for reduced life cycle cost. Their low embodied energy of manufacture adds to the green features. Some installations have resulted in the equivalent of an R-8 value, making them exceptional considering glass itself is not a good insulator. Fibreglass frames may be painted and are available in a multitude of custom colours. Frame interiors can be laminated with wood which makes for an elegant design option.

magnifying_glass_300Have you been present when an energy audit is being conducted on a home?

Even if you have a pretty good idea of where air leaks are occurring, there can be surprises and some simple cost-effective solutions.

While you hear messages to unplug the chargers responsible for ‘phantom loads’, it is even wiser to consider that there might be literally gaping holes in your home from which hard-earned money could be escaping!

I recently had our home inspected for an energy audit and discovered the air is changing nearly 4 times in an hour (air leakage at 50 Pa). That almost feels like someone is leaving a door open in the winter! The horror subsided when the inspector gave me some practical inexpensive solutions, as well as a range of mid and high priced remedies.

thermal_imaging_camera_300I had called several local independent contractors and selected Green_Tech_Services to perform this audit.

I was looking for a company with an auditor that would use a thermal imaging camera, since I wanted to “see” the air leaks! (That's my interior design training!)

Thermal imaging is a visual display of the amount of heat radiated, reflected or transmitted from a surface or an object.  The camera allowed me to ‘see’ the temperature on a surface by converting the infrared spectrum to the visible spectrum.

dayle national park 300A zero carbon footprint may not be realistic for everyone yet.

If you are planning a vacation and want to become more environmentally responsible, you might consider an eco-tourism vacation.

Bright and early, local guide Miguel collected our group for a day of the real Mexico, away from tourist beaches and resorts. Nestled between the mighty Sierra Madre del Sur mountains and the pacific coast of the state of huatulco national park 300Oaxaca, sits a 12,000 hectare national park. Parque Nacional Huatulco was carved out of roughly half marine areas and half lowland jungle in 1998.

Miguel told us the government wisely continues to pay the local people to look after the park habitat, since the park extends 5 miles out into the pacific, locals needed repayment for losing fishing as well as hunting rights. This was in addition to amounts for expropriating local land. The community reaps the benefit of Huatulco being awarded the Green Globe International Certification as a sustainable tourist area that conserves natural resources in an environmentally friendly manner.

Greening_of_healthcare_fabrics_paper_300Published in the Journal of Green Building, Fall 2011, Volume 6, Issue 4, this paper was written by Dayle Laing and Walter F. Kean (MD (Glas), FRCP (Edin, Glas, & C), Clinical Professor in Medicine (Rheumatology), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The Greening of Healthcare Fabrics Abstract Link

“There is no separation between environmental issues and health issues” (Smith and Lourie, 2010 a). Researchers from Environment Canada (Muir and Zegarac, 2001) estimate that North American healthcare costs and lost productivity linked to environmental factors total between $568 billion and $793 billion per year ($46 billion and $52 billion for Canada alone). These are staggering numbers and could be easily overlooked when various government budgets are examined as “silos” and the interconnectivity of the environment and health care costs are not considered. They are costs borne both financially and in terms of quality of life.

The greening of healthcare textiles is a topic of great importance for the overall greening of healthcare spaces due to the large number of chemicals used in the production of fabrics. Both patients and healthcare workers are exposed to these chemicals through dermal contact, inhalation, and ingestion. Hospital “green” teams and purchasing agents need to be aware of how to best select textiles for their facilities.

 

david_laing_smart_meter_350Are electricity costs going through the roof? David Laing wondered, so he analyzed 5 years of his home utility invoices.

If your electricity bill is anything like ours you’ll understand why this was a non-trivial task. Multiple lines of confusing and inconsistent charges make it difficult to compare and imply there might be something hidden or manipulated.

David said, "I duly entered each line item into an Excel spreadsheet, comparing the annualized numbers ending in September 2011 to the same period ending September 2006". Pleasant surprise – our average monthly bill actually dropped 26% from $152 in 2006 to $112 in 2011! Was this due to lower prices or reduced consumption? 

energy_star_logo_100In an earlier article, Big_Impact_Energy_Decision Dayle described how the replacement of our aging chest freezer with a newer, smaller one plus a second fridge was projected to save us over $200/year. In addition, 4 years ago, we upgraded to a high efficiency furnace with a direct drive fan, and 2 years ago, we installed Energy Star efficient appliances when we remodelled the kitchen. Of course there was also the systematic replacement of incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and compact fluorescents. What was the impact of these changes to our electricity consumption?

greening_of_healthcare-fabrics_used_in_healthcare_facilities_250Healthcare textiles may pose a serious risk to health and safety when patients and healthcare workers are unknowingly exposed to chemicals of concern.

A scientific Poster and Abstract citation “Greening of Healthcare – Fabrics used in Healthcare Facilities" by Dayle Laing and Walter F. Kean (MD (Glas), FRCP (Edin, Glas, & C), Clinical Professor in Medicine, (Rheumatology) McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada was presented July 4-6, 2011 at the International Conference on 20 years of Inflammopharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

A pdf of the Scientific_Poster is available with this link.

Many studies have been done on acute or chronic exposure of large doses of these chemicals and toxicity profiles have been identified. However it is difficult to assess the risk of exposure of these chemicals at low doses, over a long period of time, or consider the risk on patients who are already immuno-compromised.

This research focuses on an analysis of textile toxicity as designated by agency, and which healthcare choices minimize the toxicity.

Click here to access a reprint of Dayle and Dr. Kean's paper, "The Greening of Healthcare: Fabrics Used in Health Care Facilities, and this scientific poster.

Dayle is available to present the findings of this research in a seminar for your group. Please contact the office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 905-846-3221.

david_laing_don_quixote_sculpture_300Some of friends call me DonX; short for Don Quixote. That’s because they say I exhibit characteristics similar to this mythical figure.

Like Don Quixote I, David Laing, am tall, relatively slim, no longer young and have spent much time recently reading information that has disturbed me. As a result I believe that humanity is facing its greatest challenge and I feel it is my duty, nay it is my privilege to fight what some believe to be the unbeatable foe. 

Distinctive from the real Don Quixote, rather than tilting at windmills, I instead tilt in support of them, as well as any other activities and programs that will help move our society towards living sustainably!  The unbeatable foe I have chosen to take on and thump is Climate Change. Yet I take on this challenge willingly, enthusiastically and with the help of many others!

I have chosen this path because, for 35 years I worked in the corporate world, rising to Senior Vice President, eventually becoming a Management Consultant. Much of my career was spent helping organizations become more efficient and effective. I became pretty experienced at designing and implementing change management programs that dramatically affected the daily working lives of employees and altered the organizations’ relationships with their customers and suppliers. 

Through this experience,

robson_bight_300Designers love positive clients. Clients love positive designers. Experts tell us to focus on our goals. How to be sustainable. Select sustainable design. Reduce our carbon footprint.

These goals require some thought before they become second nature to us. At vacation time, our goals become simpler. Have fun and see some whales!

johnstone_strait_mist_150During my annual sea kayaking trip with my sisters, fun was a very easily attainable goal. However, killer whales had shown up only briefly one day the previous week and no one could predict when the giant mammals would return to their salmon feeding grounds in the ecological reserve Robson Bight in Johnstone Strait. There are only 80 Resident Orcas in the northern Vancouver Island population.

dayle laing speaking earth matters sunnybrook 2011 300Toronto, Canada March 29, 2011. More than 100 healthcare professionals filled the hospital auditorium to hear Dayle, a professional green keynote speaker, present “Greening of Our Fabrics”.

 

sunnybrook earth mattersAttendees learned which fabrics are safest and which should be avoided. Dayle answered the questions that improve personal safety. Are all natural fibres green? Are all synthetics harmful? What choices are suitable for stain repellency? What heavy metals are used in fabrics and what are the alternatives? How can fabrics be safely cleaned? What are the best choices for fabrics?

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is one of many hospitals that is embracing 'green', which translates into positive health consequences for patients, staff, visitors and ultimately the planet!

Healthcare professionals commented:

'Coolest Shade of Green'

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