Buying or building a house / Guides

Drywall and construction dust
Cleaning and maintenance

Tips for keeping air clean during renovations

...aterial selection: This is less about what you will breathe as work is in progress and more about what you will breathe for years to come - for a very small premium you can get plywood and other cabinetry materials that have less or even no VOCs and formaldehyde. Some building materials will off-gas for many years afte...

Resilient Homes, why they're important in dealing with Climate Change
Lifestyle and environment

Resilient Homes; Why we need to build to withstand climate change events

...arly has an exponential warming effect in the area. Surface temperatures on the seas are about four degrees above normal, while some areas are beating the norm by 10 degrees. “For sea surface temperatures, that’s just astronomical,” said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and ...

Why Electric Heating Systems are Best for Sustainable Homes
Heating with electricity

Heating with Electricity - The Best Choice for High Efficiency & Zero Energy Homes?

...affordable heating system for a house, and the most sustainable for the future. Is buying a new gas furnace a good idea? A gas furnace may last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but the average life expectancy is 20 years. Also, choosing to add gas to a home means adding additional energy infrastructure, and with that ...

Blower Door Tests - What's the Cost & Who Does Them?
Air and vapour barriers

What is a blower door test? What's the cost? How do you find a company to do one?

...orth America seems to return an average air leakage rate of about 3 air changes per hour. Some building rating systems set ACH targets that must be achieved. The Passive House air leakage rate has to be 0.6ACH or lower , which is several times more airtight than the average home and that is partly why a Passive House c...

Bike lanes in Vancouver
Lifestyle, location and commuting

Vancouver's goal of becoming the Greenest City by 2020

...and can cause damage to the interior of walls as many litres of water carried in warm air can pass through even the smallest of holes in a heating season. A house with an EnerGuide rating is like a car with a safety check. It is an independent third party report on the quality of what you are buying, and an indicatio...

How much is Too Much Insulation in my Attic or Walls?
Insulation and soundproofing

How much insulation is too much in attics and walls?

...all too much insulation in a home? Sometimes people can get a little over ambitious and install far more insulation than is necessary or even effective. And sometimes they have to do that in order to meet a certain performance standard. Case in point - for all that we like about Passive House and their performance ta...

Bike lanes in Downtown Vancouver
Choosing where to live

Urban living

...ansportation, as you will spend a lot of time in a car. Transportation fuel makes up a much greater part of our carbon emissions than a lot of people might think, consequently home location is one one of the biggest variables in your personal carbon footprint. The average Canadian house size: Canadians on average...

Real estate

Are you selling a house? Here are the top 10 things homebuyers look for

...A market study by AVID Ratings Canada for the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) surveyed 12,000 homebuyers across Canada to see what Canadians are looking for when they go house shopping. We were pleased but not at all surprised by the results - here they are: The top 10 assets that homebuyers value: 1. Wa...

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

...ather than clear-cutting a portion of a forest will have a lower environmental impact. While we found no truly reliable claims on the net, consensus seems to be that you can sustainably harvest between 1/2 and 1 face cord* a year from an acre of land, more if you include deadfall. *A 'face cord' (or just a 'cord') is...

How to choose the best home EV charger or EVSE?
Lifestyle, location and commuting

EV home charging stations & How to decide which is the best EVSE for you

...ortable and all-weather EV chargers: You have an option between: hard-wired and permanently-mounted chargers, or portable units that can plug into a 240-volt receptacle on an exterior wall. Though a little less ‘clean’ looking and convenient at home, there are two advantages to portable EV chargers to consider – you ...

Recycled barn beams and a refinished clawfoot bathtub
Recycled and Reclaimed Materials

Recycled & reclaimed materials far ahead of time as you can so you can plan for any changes that might need to be made to accommodate unusual sizes. Building with pallets: last but not least - one of the most abundant supplies of ready-made building materials are shipping pallets. They are generally considered about the same as 'packaging' an...