Heating Cooling & Energy

 
Dual axis solar tracker
What to consider when choosing between a fixed-angle solar mount or one that tracks the sun all day. The first step when considering home solar power is to get your demand down as low as possible before sizing and pricing a system so that you can get the smallest system possible to...
The Spring House Passive House
You can have a Passive House certified either by the Passive House Institute (PHI) or PHIUS, the US specific system. Find out the differences. This article was written by Charlotte Paquin-Béchard and translated to English by Sarah Cobb, both of Rocket Construction. Read here...
EcoVéa,the intelligent shower
A more efficient shower head can pay for itself in 6 months of savings on your hydro bill. So, let's start with this somewhat shocking reality -  the average Canadian will  use over 1.4 million litres of water per year, or about 4 to 5 times that of most European...
Tesla solar roof
The Tesla Solar Roof is available this summer in Canada but it won't be cheap. Tesla's Solar Roof hit the news last year on the heels of their Powerwall home battery, both of which brought a lot of great attention to home solar power generation. When we first reported on it...
Exterior compresssor heat pump water heater
The SANC02 is the first heat pump water heater available in Canada to use outside air for heating water. Great technology, if a little pricey. There are many manufacturers of heat pump water heaters on the market, which, rather than heating water with an electric coil as a normal...
Flexible 'solar glitter' from Mpower Technologies
Not only are they more durable, they are also pliable, lightweight and easily transportable. Standard solar panels are rigid, relatively heavy and fragile. A new product on the market called Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV) from mPower Technology may change...
Ssolar air heater
Solar air heaters are fairly easy to make or affordable to buy and offer a quick payback. How solar air heaters...
Wind turbine © Jinterwas, Flickr
Last summer the 20/20 Catalysts Program kick-started a clean-energy initiative for Indigenous communities. This summer the focus will be on improving community housing. Representatives from 18 communities across Canada attended three week-long intensive sessions last summer as part of...
Passively-heated off-grid LEED Gold home
Energy modeling can help you find the weak link in a building envelope and tweak your design before you start building. This is the fifth piece in a blog series called Sunshine Saved, written by Craig Anderson as he  documents the design and construction of...
Tesla Solar Roof shingles
The name Tesla inspires visions of fast cars, rocket ships, high speed trains and now home solar roofs. So far they are big on fanfare but short on hard facts. Tesla is a powerful brand that when riding on its track record of electric vehicles needs to do little but step into a market...
Off-grid leed home
How to keep power consumption at a minimum in an off-grid house without affecting quality of life. This is the third post in a blog series called Sunshine Saved written by Craig Anderson as he  documents the design and construction of an off-grid LEED...
Thermal batteries for passive solar design
Just as a regular battery stores electrical energy, a thermal battery stores heat. Solar heat can be collected, stored and distributed later as needed. . What is a thermal battery? Thermal mass of any kind could by definition be called a thermal battery as it stores...
Balanced insulation levels in a home
Homes are often over-insulated in some parts and relatively under-insulated others. Balanced insulation means applying your insulation dollars where they are most needed. . Keeping heat in your home during a Canadian winter is a battle of epic proportions, one that needs to be fought...
Icicles are an indication of heat loss, which can cause damage to insulation
Tips for preparing your house for winter: how to make your house more efficient, more durable and more comfortable. . Extremely low temperatures can test your home in many ways, and sometimes return a failing grade. Even brand new homes built to code can see failures of their building...
Product of the month: Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion saltwater home battery
Aquion Energy's Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI™) saltwater batteries offer a safe, clean, non-hazardous and hassle-free solution to storing your own power . Renewable energy is a hot topic, not just in green building circles, but all across the globe. The need is urgent, the products are...
How solar panels work
Ever wonder how solar panels actually work? Here is a great explanation of how sun is converted into electricity, and some resources for getting set up with solar panels in Canada. Going solar at home is more straightforward and affordable now than ever before, with areas throughout...
Off-grid, passively-heated LEED Gold home
In this second post in a series on off-grid living, Craig Anderson outlines the energy systems of his house and explains why he chose them. This is the second piece in a blog series called Sunshine Saved written by Craig Anderson as he  documents the design and construction...
Ice dam
Ice dams form at the bottom of roofs, letting water penetrate and cause damage to the interior of walls and roofs. Ice dams form at the bottom of roofs, letting water penetrate and cause damage to the interior of walls and roofs.  When snow melts on a roof it runs down until...
Solar panel installation
Ten things to know that will help you get the best value out of a photovoltaic solar panel system. Diligent research is absolutely essential for any homeowner looking to install a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system on their home. But at some point, you need to hand the reins over to...
High efficiency fireplace
Making sense of fireplace and wood stove specifications and knowing how to choose the right one for you. Reading the specifications of a wood stove can be rather complicated. So let's shake loose the important points from all the technical jargon and make the process a bit more...
Problem areas of air leakage in a home and blower door test being conducted
Odds are that at any given time the air pressure in your house is out of balance and either drawing air in or forcing it out. Learn the causes, the effects and the solutions. We go on incessantly here about the importance of air barriers in home construction, but no matter how hard...
Short of a wood stove, pretty much all heating systems require power to operate. So in the event of an apocalypse (zombie, climate, asteroid, etc) these two pellet stoves can keep you warm when the power goes out. . Burning wood to heat a home does not make you an eco-terrorist, let's...
Earthship in Taos, New Mexico
Despite the good intentions, Earthships in cold climates come with a much heavier environmental cost than they claim and contradict the laws of physics. I'm not the Mike Reynolds who invented the Earthship, I'm the Mike Reynolds who thinks Earthships in Canada and other cold...
Aeratron AE2 ceiling fan
To ensure comfort and get the highest efficiency from the systems in the Edelweiss House air must circulate. . In order to ensure comfort and get the most from the various systems of our house air needs to move around. Our air source heat pump and our heat pump water heater  work...
Heat pump water heater
Heat pump water heaters can help cut your hot water energy consumption by close to one third, particularly when partnered with an air source heat pump. Water heaters are generally the biggest energy drain in a home after heating. Air-to-water heat pumps are potentially a big...
Ductless mini-split air source heat pump
Heat pumps can heat a house three times more efficiently than other forms of heat. When paired with a heat pump water heater you can significantly drop the cost of heat and hot water in a home. The Edelweiss House has a radiant floor to keep our feet comfortable but we rely on a...
Blown-in fiberglass attic insulation
Some welcome announcements in 2016 provincial budgets about tax incentives for energy efficiency home upgrades. Some provincial budgets have made big announcements regarding renovation tax credits. This is excellent news for everyone, as it could be argued that renovation tax...
Warm light and dimmable LED bulbs
LED light bulbs now come dimmable and with warm colours. Check out our video on choosing bulbs and DIY installation tips. . DIY video about choosing the best LED bulbs and DIY lighting fixture installation...
Radiant floor heat in a bathroom
Radiant heated floors add comfort to a home and can help you heat more efficiently. ...
Archetype Sustainable House at the Living City Campus
Comparing the performance of air source and ground source heat pumps at the Living City Campus Archetype Sustainable House. . The Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) is run out of The Living City Campus at Kortright, ON, where you can find The Archetype Sustainable...