Windsor Family Finalists in National “Live Net Zero” Eco-Challenge


The Waddell-Shankland family in Windsor has been bringing the concept of “environmentally friendly” to an impressive new tier, and their relentless efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. The family has been distinguished as finalists in a national contest that advocates for a lifestyle that holds a metaphorical seal of approval from Mother Nature.

Crystal Waddell reveals that the family’s mode of transportation is predominantly their bicycles, eschewing car ownership entirely. They’ve resigned from the use of air conditioning and are ambitiously attempting to go an entire year without purchasing anything brand new.

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Their conscientious and green living principles led to their selection as one of the eight final competitors in a novel contest titled “Live Net Zero”, undertaken by Canadian Geographic. Waddell explains, “All contestants receive an immediate prize of $5,000 from Canadian Geographic. The contest involves a sequence of six challenges centered around making your home more eco-friendly and a few additional tasks.”

A grand reward of $50,000 awaits the final winner, to be utilized for further ‘greening’ of their home. However, the journey to winning this title is steeped in trials, particularly making their home more energy efficient – a task that Waddell admits is the hardest. Their domicile, a classic 1940’s edifice, equipped with double-layered brick walls and no insulation, will surely be a challenge to modernize for energy efficiency.

Addressing the issue, Luke Shankland noted that everything carried a carbon footprint. Shipping, production, and the necessary burning of oil for construction necessarily contribute to environmental damage.

The family’s relentless march towards achieving a net-zero status brings them closer to clinching the $50,000 grand prize. “We wanted to learn more about this and also to share our knowledge. We hope that others can learn from our experiences,” states Shankland. He adds that the subsequent monetary savings and decreased electricity bills serve as major incentives toward leading a greener lifestyle.

Crystal Waddell stands firm in their commitment to their cause, firmly believing that their undertakings will prove beneficial for both their family and the larger community. She shares their forward-thinking mindset: “We’re planning for seven generations ahead.”