Mechanical systems

Exterior compresssor heat pump water heater
Plumbing and water heaters

Heat pump water heater with exterior compressor

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 electric hot water tank does, employ a…

Flexible 'solar glitter' from Mpower Technologies
Solar photovoltaic

Flexible PV 'solar glitter' panels coming soon

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 that. The cells in these pliable sheets are made fro…

Solar Air Heating Panels for Homes - How to Build DIY
Solar thermal collectors

All about solar air heaters - DIY or purchased

Passive solar air heaters are easy to make for competent DIY'ers from downspouts, pop-cans or roofing sheet or there are affordable heaters for sale online & both offer a quick payback - discover more here. How solar air heaters work: Solar air heater diagram © Ecohome The above diagram indicates the basic concept o…

Celsius Solar Igloo
Solar thermal collectors

Celsius: The solar heated igloo!

On display at Igloofest in Montreal, the Celsius solar igloo is an artistic demonstration of solar heating. A solar igloo at first sounds counterintuitive, but contrast is at the heart of this design concept created by the L. McComber architectural team for Montreal's Igloofest. The solar igloo known as 'Celsius' can…

LED filament bulbs
Lighting

LED filament bulbs

A great vintage look, reminiscent of Thomas Edison's handmade bulbs but with LED longevity and low energy consumption. At the beginning of the 20th century, light bulbs were handmade, with incandescent filaments painstakingly being placed in tiny glass globes. Manufacturing is a little more automated now, but the perf…

Tesla Solar Roof shingles
Solar photovoltaic

The Tesla Solar Roof: we love the hype, but we'd like to see some actual facts.

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 to get glowing accolades. Some of…

Product of the month: Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion saltwater home batte
Renewable energy

Aquion’s 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. Updated: Aquion as a saltwater battery is no longer available in North America having moved to China after being bought out. But we've heard about a Dutch company who are…

How solar panels work
Solar photovoltaic

All about solar panels - the different options and how they 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 Canada experiencing a jump in resid…

Solar panel installation
Solar photovoltaic

Ten questions to ask a solar panel contractor

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 a trustworthy contractor. To get…

High efficiency fireplaces and how to choose one
Wood stove and biomass heat

Choosing the right wood-burning stove or fireplace for both heat output & the environment

Making sense of fireplace and wood stove specifications and knowing how to choose the right one for you if you're looking to burn wood for minimum environmental impact & maximum heat output. Wood Burning Stoves - which are best & which burn cleanest? Reading the specifications of a wood stove can be rather complicated…

Milwaukee expander tool for Uponor pex tubing
Plumbing and water heaters

Plumbing just got faster and easier with the Milwaukee ProPEX expander tool - video

Developed to be used with Uponor pex tubing only, the Milwaukee expander tool will shave tons of time off any plumbing job. Traditional pex piping is installed by slipping a metal ring over the exterior of the pipe, then slipping a union or any other joint inside and crimping the ring to hold it in place. It works, bu…