One of Solus’ customers shared the elemental appeal that fire has over even the most impenetrable of personalities: “When I turn my firepit on, my teenagers come sit around it and spend time with us all by themselves. It’s the only time they do that. They put down their phones, their games and their computers and just watch the fire.”
Since 2012, we have been busy working behind-the-scenes on the Climate Smart program and we now have some exciting news to share with you about the great initiatives we have put in place to cut our carbon emissions.
What is Climate Smart?
Climate Smart helps businesses measure and reduce their carbon footprint while cutting costs. They help small and medium-sized enterprises, like Solus, calculate emissions and strengthen businesses while building a resilient economy.
What we measured:
In 2012, we measured everything that contributed to the production of our products from energy used to heat produced and the production of concrete all in the goal of identifying where the biggest producers of carbon were. From this we made a plan to make some changes to cut our carbon. In the end of 2014, we will re-measure our carbon output to see how successful we were at reducing our carbon footprint.
What we learned and implemented:
The main area where we concentrated our efforts was in shipping. Shipping heavy objects takes a lot of gas which contributes to carbon emissions. So we are in the middle of a sustainability plan to switch from wooden crates to crates made of recycled cardboard.
The second area was in the production of concrete. In order to make concrete, we use water, cement, aggregated stone and sand. In simple terms 1lb of cement = 1lb of carbon. By replacing 10%-15% of cement with fly ash which is an industrial by-product, we have reduced our carbon count by 15%. We are also investigating the use rice bran husks, another by-product, and will see which works out better.
The third area was in the pouring and production side of concrete. Here, our ultimate goal was to reduce wasted concrete and energy. We have (and are still in the process) of creating procedures that will allow us to make more accurate batch sizes. We want to make sure that every employee that makes a product, makes it in exactly the same way so we know exactly how much water is needed, for how long a batch must vibrate and make sure that moulds are cleaned perfectly so there aren’t imperfections in the finished product.
The Climate Smart program isn’t just reserved for production though, we were also able to make some improvements in our office too. For instance, we implemented a paperless system to reduce paper waste and now have implemented paying suppliers electronically. We also put in energy-efficient lighting in a number of areas in the building and now use T5 fluorescents which are more efficient than our previous lighting.
In implementing all these changes, the biggest impact we faced was in changing our own habits which has resulted in a cultural shift in our staff. We were environmentally concerned before, but now having gone though the Climate Smart program, we’re so much more aware of the materials and energy we use and take the extra time to do the little things like, turn off the lights, not use an extra piece of paper etc.
Why we joined Climate Smart:
Fundamentally as a manufacturer we are always striving to produce a product that is better and become more efficient at producing it – it almost goes without saying. But there is more to it than that. By eliminating waste and changing our attitude to waste and over production we have eliminated literally tons of material from landfill and the recycling depot.
We feel good about this – it can‘t help but translate into less carbon emissions. We are not sure we will ever be a zero-waste facility but we are trying. It has been a very worthwhile exercise from a production warehouse person putting up signs to turn off the lights at the end of the day to the office staff moving paper docs to the “cloud” when we used to produce countless boxes of paper documents. More to come – for more information visit Climate Smart.
We are happy to finally share photos of one of the winners of our Greatest Gift Father’s Day contest from June 2014. Brian Darnell (below) of New Westminster, BC was nominated by his step-daughter Sascha for being the greatest father ever. Our team was touched by her story of how he came into her life at the age of 5.
Here, we can see Brian and his lovely wife Sue, happily enjoying their new Hemi 36-inch fire pit and roasting marshmallows on them (oh yes, you can do that!).
We wish Brian & Sue many warm and toasty evenings around their new fire pit with their family and are happy to have provided them with this gift.
September is now here and although it’s not ‘technically’ Fall, the weather may be changing for some of you which may lead you to think that fire pit season is over. The great news, however, is that this could not be further from the truth!
Here are 3 great benefits of a Solus fire pit during the Fall:
1. NO DISCONNECTION FROM FUEL REQUIRED!
That’s right! You can keep your Solus fire pit hooked up all Fall and Winter.
2. NO SHELTER FROM RAIN REQUIRED!
There is no need to pick up and store the fire pit elsewhere. You can absolutely leave it where it is so it can continue to be a work of art on your terrace or backyard. We would, however, recommend getting one of our sunbrella covers or table tops to protect from leaves and debris.
3. PROFIT FROM SPONTANEOUS FALL & WINTER EVENINGS UNDER THE STARS!
Whenever the weather clears-up and the family wants to spend some time together, just grab a sweater, a glass of vino or a hot cocoa and voilà, your fire pit is on! And, if the weather changes for the worse, you can quickly turn it off and run back in. No stress!
Labour Day is one week from today and as you know, it’s our last long week-end in Summer to celebrate with a BBQ before the weather goes dreary (well, for some of us!). In case this is your last chance to gather friends and family around a fire pit, we thought we’d give you a few tips on how to effortlessly put together a last-minute Labour Day party.
1) Send a ‘Save the Date’ invite now
Chances are, 99% of your guests are on Facebook so why not create a Facebook Event now to get everyone to RSVP as quickly as possible? You can always fill in the details later, but the goal is to get them to ‘save the date’ ASAP. Obviously, text or call those who don’t check Facebook regularly.
2) Make it a ‘whiteout’ themed party
Staying in line with the Labour Day tradition, we suggest making it a ‘Whiteout’ themed party where everyone must come in as much white clothing as possible. As the old adage goes, no white pants (or shoes, or clothing) after Labour Day so why not have fun with this and encourage everyone to come in white? This may be their last chance after all. You could also work this colour theme into your decorations (napkins, table clothes, foods) should you choose.
3) Make it BYOF and BYOB
Having a Potluck is a great way to take a lot of the responsibility off your shoulders and most guests will be more than happy to bring a dish. In order to make sure you don’t end up with 8 dishes of guacamole, assign everyone a category to have an even assortment of dips, snacks, side-dishes, salads and desserts. For guests that aren’t ‘food savvy’ ask them to help with drinks. See if they can also bring coolers and ice so drinks can stay outside and you can minimize the people walking in and out of your home.
4) Main course – Your bring it, we grill it!
With the amount of dietary restrictions (gluten-free, vegetarian) and food preferences (organic, grass-fed, free-range) guests have these days, it’s almost impossible to know what guests will and won’t eat. A better way to entertain is to offer a ‘you bring it, we grill it’ option so that everyone is satisfied with their meals. Perhaps have some hot-dogs and veggy-dogs on hand just in case. Do offer the condiments and buns though. For the ‘gluten-free’ guests, have some gluten-free buns or iceberg lettuce available for lettuce buns.
5) Don’t forget the marshmallows
One of the benefits of having a fire pit is that you can cook marshmallows directly over it just like a real campfire. A note of caution, there might be some gooey mess to clean up the next day in the burner, but hey, at least the party will be fun. Designate some kids to find some sticks beforehand so they are all ready for when the kids (or parents) arrive. Also, if you have any vegetarian guests, you might consider picking up some vegan marshmallows as well (yes, there is such a thing). Obviously, exercise the same amount of caution roasting on a fire pit as you would a real campfire. As for hot dogs or skewers, we recommend using the actual BBQ.
6) Set up ample seating around your fire pit
Lastly, in case you haven’t already, set up ample seating around your fire pit as you’ll surely want to take advantage of this social feature to warm your guests as the sun sets. A fire pit is such a great way to have guests spend time with one another. In case you’re unsure, here are 6 ways to position seating around a fire pit.
Being a local to BC does have advantages! Once a year we decide that our warehouse needs a good solid cleaning – time for you to clean out your piggy bank and bring it down to the Solus Annual Clearance Sale, August 22 & 23.
Our designer-inspired concrete fire pits, fireplace surrounds and tiles are the envy of the landscape architects and designers around North America. As you may already know, our product is made right here in Vancouver, BC. Our local fabrication and production team is brilliant – but even they make a mistake now and then. Most people wouldn’t even notice the odd blemish or imperfection!
Some of the guests we meet in our show room know they absolutely want a fire pit, but aren’t exactly sure about how best to arrange their outdoor seating around one. Thus, we have compiled 6 of the simplest ways in which fire pits can be arranged for your outdoor space or patio. And of course, if none of these layouts work for you, any of our of sales associates would be happy to strategize with you by phone or in person.
Although all our fire pits will fit this bill, we have 3 in particular that create an ambiance best suited for entertaining large groups of people; the Firetable, Firetrough and Elevated Halo.
1) Maximize heat The linear shape of these fire pits allows for a line of fire that is not only aesthetically pleasing but maximizes heat, great for keeping larger groups of people warm.
2) Table space The flat surfaces of these fire pits allows for table space so guests can place their plates, drinks or even sit on some of them lending to a more comfortable social experience during the soirée.
3) Large outdoor furniture
If you have an outdoor sofa or a sectional, the Firetable, Firetrough or Elevated Halo are the perfect shape to match your furniture allowing you to maximize space and get more people around the chosen fire pit.
4) Larger spaces These fire pits are very conducive to larger spaces allowing you to best plan your outdoor spaces for seating, dining, entertaining and games etc.
Designing your outdoor space should almost be as exciting as enjoying the finished result. Should you feel it has become daunting, let our design team experts help you get the best result for your space. Don’t ever hesitate to call and talk with our friendly team – 1 877 255 3146.
For years now, Solus has been a proud sponsor of A Loving Spoonful, a local charity that delivers free nutritious meals to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Metro Vancouver. Last Thursday, we celebrated Project Empty Bowl, their largest fundraiser, which was a smashing success raising over $125,000.
This year’s Project Empty Bowl Gala Presented by Coast Capital Savings was hosted by Jonny Staub from The Beat 94.5 FM. The evening of charity began with the ‘Complicated Cosmo’ martini, a bowl swap, complimentary wine and beer, and a stunning silent and live auction including rare and incredible works of art. Solus is proud to have donated our new Firecube firepit with its matching propane tank holder to this auction (as seen above).
The money raised will help provide about 28,000 locally-produced meals from Mava Foods (almost 1/3 of annual meals) and serve about 350 people each month. A loving Spoonful only receives about 20% of their funding from the government so relies heavily on community support and its fundraising events to provide these essential services.
Solus prides ourselves on supporting our community and are touched that the money raised from our Firecube will feed many people in need. Check out A Loving Spoonful if you would like to donate or volunteer your time.