Credit: BCA

Guest blogger series:

Crawling Toward Sustainability

This is the fourth in a series of guest blog posts in which Emma will track the progress of her office to become more sustainable.

Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside are, even in light of the obvious social and economic problems, vibrant and thriving neighbourhoods full of fantastic businesses and merchants. BCA has always been located in this part of Vancouver. We enjoy being an active part of the neighbourhood, and one simple but significant way that we stay plugged into the community—and sustainability—is through buying local.

Buying local is easy to do every day. We could go to Starbucks, but instead we buy our coffee and sandwiches at the Wilder Snail, Benny’s Italian Market, or the Union Market. We get groceries and supplies at Sunrise Market and Rice World, and we get our celebratory Friday afternoon beer at the Astoria Hotel.

We took advantage of local business during our renovations as well. Of course there were the requisite trips to Canadian Tire and Home Depot, but we bought all our paint from Vancouver institution Ted Harris Paints, conveniently located just a few doors down from us on the 700 block of East Hastings.

Buying our paint at Ted Harris was socially and economically sustainable. Our money stayed in the neighbourhood to support another business that flourishes in Strathcona. It was also environmentally sustainable because we didn’t have to drive to pick up extra buckets or brushes, and because Ted Harris sells low-VOC paint. Paints that contain fewer nasty chemicals like formaldehyde are an increasingly popular, common and super-easy way to stay green. Plus, the name of the colour we painted our front façade is “Witching Hour.” Cool!

Buying local is not only a great way to be more sustainable without a lot of effort, but also a way to discover your city. There are hidden gems in neighbourhoods like Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside that deserve your business, so consider seeking out local merchants the next time you need a bucket of paint or a really awesome sandwich.



The Bruce Carscadden Architect crew

bruce carscadden ARCHITECT inc is a boutique architecture and planning firm, based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside since 2000. Specializing in recreation, institutional and commercial projects for public and private clients, BCA is committed to producing beautiful and thoughtful buildings, and finding green and sustainable solutions within a client’s budget.  Almost everyone rides a bike to work.

Emma Carscadden is the promotions and marketing assistant at BCA, and writes proposals, submissions and copy for the website. She’s also in charge of setting up the office’s worm composter.