Mechanical systems

Mechanical systems and plumbing are at the heart of a home's operation. We cover heating and air conditioning, ventilation, electrical systems, efficient water management and renewable energy production. Informed decisions on design and product selection can affect comfort, efficiency, durability, operational cost and above all, health for occupants.

Wood Combustion - How it works and the different stages
Wood stove and biomass heat

Wood Combustion – How Firewood Burns & How to get the best heat while being eco-friendly

Wood Combustion – How Firewood Burns, the stages and processes, & how to get the best heat for your $ while being eco-friendly… Understanding how firewood burns, the technical details Stage 1: The Evaporation of Moisture – otherwise known as “getting the d@mn thing going” If you’ve ever tried to burn wet or unseasone…

Decentralized Energy Generation for LEED, Passive House & Green Homes
Renewable energy

Which is the Best Type of Home Energy Generation for Green Homes?

Solar panels good, coal-fired power plant electricity bad. If only it were that simple to choose. We discuss the best alternatives for producing your own power at home, from solar to wind turbines to generator bikes...… Home Energy Generation, which option is best? How the electrical grid is fed near you will be a hug…

60 Minutes On This Bicycle Can Power Your Home For 24 Hours (In Theory Anyhow)
Renewable energy

Can you really power your home with a bicycle generator?

Would you exercise for an hour every day if the workout powered your home for twenty-four hours? EcoHome investigates if Bike Generators cut the mustard...… Mitigating climate change at home, get on your bike! As we look for ways to mitigate climate change, improving home energy efficiency and decentralising power gen…

Solar Radiant Heated Floor Slab Kit
Delivery: radiant, forced-air and decentralized

Solar heated radiant floor with radiant heated hot water for a site with problem soil - expansive clay

Ecohome’s new demo house will be a slab on grade with Solar radiant floor heating powered by air tubes heated with air solar panels - Ingenious! Ideal for boosting Passive House heating in cold climate zones… EcoHome is in the process of building our next demonstration low-energy house, and to do so we have partnered …

Solar thermal collectors

Product of the month: Solar water heater with overheating protection

The flat plate solar thermal collector from Viessmann has a modulating collector to prevent overheating.…   Solar thermal panels in cold climates are at risk of freezing in winter, so in the North, we use a glycol mix as a heat transfer fluid. This prevents panels from freezing but introduces new problems in the summe…

Solar thermal collectors

All about solar thermal collectors

Choosing the right solar thermal water heater system… What is a solar thermal collector? A photovoltaic (PV) solar collector converts solar radiation into electricity, but a solar thermal collector is much simpler than that. It refers to a device that collects heat directly from solar radiation. That can be as simple …

Air-heated radiant concrete floor
Delivery: radiant, forced-air and decentralized

Air-heated radiant floors

A comeback for radiant floors heated with air tubes… Radiant heating systems are very common in concrete floors now because they provide a very balanced and comfortable distribution of heat. Those systems are most commonly hydronic, meaning heated liquid is pumped through tubing in the concrete which then radiates tha…

Solar panel reflectors
Solar photovoltaic

Using reflectors to increase the yield of solar panels

A study showed that reflectors on solar panels can increase their performance by up to 30%… The continuing drop in cost for home solar power generation has led to a dramatic increase in the rate of installations, for both residential and commercial use. Increasing the yield through reflection could make that an even m…

Lithium-ion solar home battery
Solar photovoltaic

Lithium-ion solar home batteries

How to choose and properly size a solar home battery system… Home battery systems have recently improved in two substantial ways, and the first big improvement is in the batteries themselves. Lithium-ion batteries on the market today are much more robust and functional than the lead-acid batteries we have relied on in…

Dual axis solar tracker
Solar photovoltaic

Choosing between solar trackers and fixed solar panels mounts

What to consider when choosing between a fixed-angle solar mount or one that tracks the sun all day.… When considering home solar power you will first want to: Update your appliances and get your demand down as low as possible. Convert any appliances that you are intending to convert (such as installing heat pumps to…

The importance of Cleaning HRV intakes
HRV and ERV

How to keep your HRV clean and operating efficiently

Cleaning your heat recovery ventilation HRV unit will extend the lifespan & Keep it running Efficiently… Why Cleaning HRV Units is a Great Idea! When any machine has its normal operation hampered, it will reduce its efficiency and ability to function properly. Many of us are probably guilty of forgetting about basic m…

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