Eco-friendly Living: A Beginner’s Guide

To help save the earth’s resources, we all should consider adjusting some of our daily habits to reduce our environmental impact. It is never too late to learn about starting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Our new GEC Buildings are LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and we proudly support environmentally-conscious living. Keep reading to find out how you can reduce your eco-footprint, save money, and the earth’s resources. Every small step counts so, let’s get to it!

Environmentally Friendly Living Guidelines


Separating food scraps has been mandatory in Metro Vancouver since 2015. The rule has been set because if organic materials (food scraps) end up the garbage, they may:

  • Create methane: Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Methane in food compost cannot decompose the way it is supposed to, so it increases greenhouse gases.
  • Occupy Landfills: Throwing compostable organics with garbage means there will be more waste to occupy landfill space. We have the opportunity to reduce that by separating food scraps and decomposing them into healthy soil.
  • Make Waste-to-Energy Less Efficient: The high moisture content of compostables slows down the process of converting waste to energy programs due to its high moisture.
Electric switches on grey tinted walls. Save energy for environmentally friendly living.
by Karim Manjra

A simple rule of thumb for environmentally friendly living: Turn it off if you are not using it! 

  • Lights: Turn off the lights during the day to benefit from the daylight. When you leave your room, or apartment, turn off the lights.
  • Unplug the Charger: Unplug chargers or chords when you are not using them; remember that plugged chargers still use energy.
  • Taps: When you are not using them, turn off all the taps. Make sure all leaks are fixed to reduce wasting water.
  • Dishwasher: Did you know that you use 27 gallons of water if you wash dishes by hand? Use a dishwasher if you have one to reduce water use down to 3 gallons.

We all like a long hot shower to destress after a long day, but did you ever think of the amount of hot water that is wasted in the shower? According to a study by Harvard, the average shower is 8 minutes long, which uses roughly 75 litres of water. That’s almost 19 of the 4-litre milk jugs that you buy at the supermarket! Try to cut down on your shower time or implement turning the tap off when using soap during your shower.


Your dryer runs more efficiently and uses less energy when you clean the filter. If you do not clean the lint, it fills up the vent and uses much more energy to do its simple job. To help the environment, and your dryer, clean your vent after each wash.

A black bike with yellow wheels standing against the wall. Biking is good for environmentally friendly living.
By Sole

Automobiles produce carbon footprint, greatly contributing to global warming. If you can, consider using public transportation to reduce carbon footprint release per person. Even better — walk or bike to work, school, grocery store, etc. to get a good exercise and release 75% fewer greenhouse gases compared to driving the same distance.


Getting your daily pick-me-up coffee should not cause harm to the earth. You can invest in reusable bottles and mugs — One for your daily water intake when you are on the go and one for your coffee intake. If you drink one cup of coffee every day, imagine not wasting those 7 cups! What a difference you’ve already made!

lemons spread in and out of a reusable grocery bag -- we should invest in reusable bags for environmentally friendly living.
By Mathilde Langevin

Do you get a plastic bag every time you visit the grocery store for a small item? If so, you are contributing to plastic waste pollution in the environment. Plastic never entirely degrades. When it ends up on our streets or water, it tangles to the trees or gets washed off on beaches; it is also a danger to animals like turtles. You can reduce plastic waste by purchasing reusable, cloth bags. A plastic bag is at least $0.10 at a store each time you shop, whereas a reusable bag is $5 for at least a few years. In the long run, you save a lot of money and resources.


When you get sick of a clothing item, or a book, do you throw them in the garbage? If still usable, you should donate such items to the nearest thrift store in your area. Someone else can wear your t-shirt; after all, your old one is their new! Never throw away items in good condition, consider donating or swapping instead for environmentally friendly living.

GEC Pearson Building Leed Certificate in a frame
GEC – LEED Certification

Eco-friendly Actions Implemented By GEC Living

  • We prioritize energy saving in both our residences and Granville hotel. Our buildings in development, as well as new GEC buildings, are LEED certified.
  • LEED certification ensures buildings use less energy and water, avoid waste, save on maintenance costs, improve indoor air quality, offer comfort to their occupants, and create fewer environmental burdens that may impact communities. (Read more about LEED)
  • In our hotel, we encourage our guests to request towel change when they need to rather than every single day. 
  • We deliver paper towels, toilet paper, disposable cutlery and cups by request and we limit those requests to a number. This encourages guests to be more conscious about their use of disposable items.
  • We charge students if they overuse their monthly electricity quota in our student residences. This encourages students to be mindful of their energy consumption.

Kudos to you for reading this far! Every step towards eco-friendly living counts, and you just completed Step 1. Continue to live environmentally conscious by implementing small changes to your daily routine — Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!