Planning and Design

This first section of our building guide is intended to act as a platform from which all your next steps become visible. Whether you want to build a new home, improve an existing home, choose a neighbourhood and home to purchase, there are priorities to set and decisions to make that may be intimidating if you are new to it. From lifestyle and location choices to design concepts, this is where to start.

Wood and organic materials

Hemp building supplies

Hemp cabinetry materials as an alternative to standard wood boards

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Real estate

Downsizing your home: buying tips for seniors

What to look for in a home if you are downsizing in retirement

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Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

A Toronto Off-grid home 20 years later; how did it fare?

The Toronto Healthy House was built in 1996, completely independent of municipal water, sewer and electricity systems. Here is a look back at it.

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Green building certifications

Powerhouse: the new standard for positive energy design

The new Powerhouse standard factors the entire energy consumption and life cycle of buildings from cradle to grave.

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Lifestyle and environment

Emergency preparedness guide for homes

How to prepare for emergencies and power outages

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Concept, design and architecture

Resilient design features for new home construction

Design ideas and home-durability measures to help families and homes withstand a changing climate.

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Lifestyle, location and commuting

Home-buying tips for seniors looking to downsize

Learn how to trim down your possessions and find the home that suits you.

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Waste management

How to dispose of Construction waste responsibly

Sensible design, material re-use and using recycling centers can reduce what you send to a landfill.

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Passive House in Quebec
Passive House

Passive-Aggressive House

Recounting the trials — and joys — of building a Canadian home that meets the "Passivhaus" standard.

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Patio stones with very low greenhouse gas emissions
Concrete and masonry

Reducing emissions with CO² cured-concrete

This type of concrete reduces the carbon emissions by 70%, fuel consumption by 30% and water use by 80%.

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