Efficiency / Guides

The passive solar home in Lac Kenogami, Quebec
Passive solar home design

Ecohome design wins House of the Year Award from Green Builder® Magazine

...Efficiency Coordinator Denis Boyer who set out to find the ultimate building envelope for one specific climate. The Northern Quebec climate that he chose (or more accurately was presented with by homeowner Alain Hamel) was by no means an easy one. PSI is a design service and home performance recognition program, inte...

Problem areas of air leakage in a home and blower door test being cond
Air and vapour barriers

Airtight Construction of Homes is Essential: "Your house sucks." "Oh yeah? your house blows!"

...efficiency score. And put lids on pots! Your water will boil faster and emit less water vapour, reducing condensation . Central vacuums : Efficient central vacuum systems with hepa filtration certainly have their benefits in terms of convenience, reduced noise, and not ejecting airborne particles into homes. Howeve...

Solar thermal collectors

All about solar thermal collectors

...efficiency are determined in part by its rate of absorption, and in part by its emissivity; meaning, not just how much heat it can collect, but how much it will emit (or lose) before it is delivered to its destination. Earlier models had high-absorptance rates in the range of 90-95% (effectiveness to absorb solar rad...

Air and vapour barriers

Aerobarrier home and attic air-sealing spray

...efficiency of their home. The important thing is for the customer to contact us as soon as possible so that we can together determine the appropriate time to perform the work. For major renovations, that would be once the drywall is installed but before the furniture is brought back in”. Aerobarrier works with any ty...

Comparing ground source and air source heat pumps
Heating and cooling

Heat Pumps: Ground source geothermal GSHP or air source ASHP, which one is best for heating a home?

...efficiency in performance to ascertain which is the best. Mechanical heating systems being tested: House A Heated with a 10.5 kW (3 ton) high-efficiency variable capacity air-to-air source heat pump manufactured by Mitsubishi™ with a direct expansion coil air handling unit (AHU) and a multi-speed fan to supply wa...

Basement wall insulation
Insulation and soundproofing

Properly insulating basements and concrete slab floors

...efficiency. The rate of heat loss through foundation walls also varies between below-grade and the parts above. Over a heating season, there will be much more heat loss through above-grade walls than those below. Therefore, with one wall and two rates of heat transfer, this leaves the dilemma of insulating more tha...

Slab-on-grade construction technical guide
Slab on Grade

Slab-on-grade technical guide

...efficiency: In the absence of 5 feet of dirt, a slab-on-grade in cold climate zones requires additional measures to avoid frost heave, so it includes levels of insulation that otherwise seem to be omitted from basement construction. That insulation can be paid for with the thousands of dollars that would have gone in...

Non-toxic building materials can improve home air quality
Healthy indoor air quality

Maintaining healthy indoor air quality

...Efficiency Particulate Arresting) vacuum filter. Avoid carpet under pads, and ensure that older foam cushions are well covered and not deteriorating. While it is really not easy, you can try shopping for safer alternatives. They do exist, but you will probably have to do some leg work to find them. Like so many oth...

High efficiency wood stoves
Wood stove and biomass heat

Heating with wood and biomass fuel

...efficiency wood burning insert, as an open fireplace will often draw warm air from your home even when not in operation. High performance woodburning fireplace insert © RSF Fireplaces Fireplace inserts are sealed cast iron stoves that fit into your fireplace, which helps it burn more efficiently and better dist...


Case Study: Kenogami House, Saguenay, Quebec

...efficiency and along with interior appliances is powered by a 5.4 watt photovoltaic solar panel system. The ceiling is insulated to R151; walls have a 'true' R value rating of 80, and the energy load needed for heat on the coldest days is estimated at 12 W per square meter or a total of 2100 W. For the most part, thi...

Solariums in cold climates won't heat homes unless carefully designed and built
Greenhouses and Sunrooms / Solariums

Solariums in cold climates won't heat your home

...efficiency and, conveniently for us, used to live in a house in a cold climate with a solarium. This makes him uniquely positioned to report on their performance. Living in an open concept home with a four-season solarium overlooking the living room and the kitchen, his solarium consisted of an aluminum structure wit...