Bullfrog Founders Club member
Bullfrog Founders Club member Mohrgan Pratten is an engineer in Waterloo, Ontario, who signed on his house for green electricity with Bullfrog in 2006. Mohrgan has made extensive efforts to green his home, and took some time to share his knowledge with us and talk about why he signed on for Bullfrog Power.
BP: When did you first develop an interest in the environment?
MP: I have been interested in the environment my whole life. When I was five years old, I would go around the house and turn off the lights in empty rooms. If my parents or my brother would leave the lights on, I would encourage them to turn them off.
One of my most memorable childhood experiences was going camping with my parents. Back then, we did not bring water bottles with us—we could dip a cup into the nearby stream or river and come back with a cup of clean drinking water. I guess you could say I developed an appreciation of the natural world at an early age.
BP: How did you first hear about Bullfrog Power?
MP: I closely follow environmental news and issues, and I remember hearing about Bullfrog about five years ago, before I moved into my current house. I did some research on Bullfrog’s green electricity sources, such as the Pincher Creek wind turbines in Alberta and the wind facilities on the Bruce Peninsula, and made my decision. Once I moved into my house, I signed on for Bullfrog Power.
BP: Why did you decide to bullfrogpower your home with green electricity?
MP: I always draw a direct connection between energy consumption and its impact on the environment. I am more in favour of preserving the environment rather than expending the additional energy to leave a light on or to turn up the heating or air conditioning in my home.
Choosing Bullfrog Power just makes sense to me. If I have the option to choose an environmentally friendly source of electricity, I don’t know why I wouldn’t—it just seems like a natural choice to me.
BP: You have made extensive efforts to green your home. Can you tell us about what you’ve done?
MP: One of my first efforts was to make my house more airtight by replacing the windows—the less air that escapes from your home, the more efficient your heating and cooling becomes. I also upgraded the insulation in the roof with locally manufactured, non-CO2-based foam.
One of my biggest projects was putting in a geothermal heating system. Before I bought my home, I knew I wanted a natural way to heat or cool the house, instead of relying on conventional energy sources. I had to be able to install a geothermal system ground loop on the property. When I bought my home and installed the system, I also took care to reduce waste by recycling the asphalt that was removed from the ground.
I have also replaced the existing roof with a locally produced steel tile roof, because of steel’s longevity. The new roof has allowed me to install a rainwater collection system. I have overhangs that are two feet long around the entire house, which help in shading the house in the summer and keeping the house dry during rainfalls. A key to a strong house foundation is keeping it dry.
BP: What else do you do in your personal life to reduce your environmental impact?
MP: I committed years ago to walking, cycling or taking public transit instead of driving. Buying locally is also very important to me.
The asphalt laneway I removed to install the geothermal heating system became a garden, which I now use to grow a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes, onions and carrots. My garden has been a great source of local produce!
BP: What would you suggest to people looking to start their own green home efforts?
MP: Start with the basics by investing into making your home’s insulation more airtight. The couple hundred dollars you may spend in insulation and sealing the house can save you thousands of dollars in energy expenditure.
Before looking into more extensive measures, always examine the simple ways you can save. There are a lot of ways you can do more with less. It may even be as simple as putting on an extra layer or two during the winter.
BP: If you had one message for all Canadians about taking action on the environment, what would that message be?
MP: We all need to realize how important the environment is to us. People can talk about how important children are, but if we don’t have a clean environment for them to grow up and live in, we’re not helping to provide them with a better future. In everything we do, we have to look at ways we can reduce our environmental impact. We have to take care of this planet. We were given this wonderful place to live in, and we need to respect and preserve it.