Energy efficiency / Guides

LEED Platinum prefabricated home Kit
LEED Homes

LEED® Platinum prefab kit home has superior air quality and performance

...energy source that was both environmentally responsible and local. Also, wood pellets are an inexpensive way to heat a home. We are also fortunate in Quebec to have an abundant source of clean and renewable energy, so along with the pellet stove the house has an electric furnace, though its intention is primarily as a ...

Choosing a home and neighbourhood
Real estate

Shopping for a home? Some tips for finding the right house and neighbourhood

...Energy efficiency - ask to see utility bills Quality heating equimpment and affordability in operation Exterior durability - building enclosures and water management Interior air quality Interior durability - water resistant surfaces in wet areas Interior design and functionality of space Soundproofing from...

Passively-heated off-grid LEED Gold home
Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

Off-grid living blog part 6 - energy modeling projections and real performance

...energy modellers are able to put together estimates of total energy use for a home. Below is our "Home Energy Rating Certificate", which shows the overall estimates, including the major details about the home, the systems, and expected energy use. To boil a house down to a single number, many efficiency experts use t...

How to Choose between an HRV and ERV system
HRV and ERV

Choosing between an HRV and an ERV

...efficiency rate' of an HRV unit determines how much energy will be saved by using that particular device. Although it requires the operation of a fan on a continual basis, the energy recovered from the inside air is many times that of the energy required for the fan. Worth noting that in our experience it's worth spend...

Concrete floors and timber frame as thermal mass
Efficient home design

The pros and cons of thermal mass in buildings

...energy: A lot of us grew up watching our parents turn thermostats down for the day and back up when returning home in the evening. This saved energy for one main reason - older houses weren't built anywhere close to the energy-efficiency standards of today, so maintaining a lower constant temperature during the day d...

Skylights can be problematic in a high performance home
Windows and doors

Are skylights an asset or a liability?

...energy efficiency: Any way you slice it, the deck is stacked against skylights in terms of their energy performance . They will add a little bit of heat on sunny days in winter (with the right orientation and angle), but the heat they lose when the sun is down will far outweigh any heat they gain. The real heat gai...

Natural gas fireplace
Heating with gas and oil

Heating with natural gas

...energy. With a conventional boiler: This is a clean burn and it emits very few particles. However, overall efficiency is between 50 and 80%, much lower than a condensing boiler. Both types of boilers are compatible with hydronic heating systems. Gas fireplace: A gas fireplace is an efficient way to heat a home an...

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

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

...energy efficiency during the design process of his new home. Alain enlisted the help of Ecohome (and Quebec counterpart Écohabitation), and together they set their sights on a target at the top end of building performance - Net Zero Energy - which refers to the ability of a building to produce as much energy as it co...

Alex and Jerelyn Wilson's Vermont farm
Lifestyle, location and commuting

Creating a farm and building a resilient lifestyle

...energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building for more than 35 years, there were countless ideas, materials, and innovative products I wanted to try out. This would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a model of sustainability, accessible design (where we can age in place), and resilience. Renovat...

Hemp insulation products for USA & Canada rolling off the production line
Insulation and soundproofing

Hemp insulation in Canada & USA - insulating naturally is an Eco-friendly alternative

...energy-efficiency coordinator for Ecohome. For those wishing to reduce their impact during construction and renovations, it’s worthwhile to consider the embodied energy of products and remember that polyurethane requires an input of 14 times more energy to achieve the same thermal performance as hemp. And at the end ...

Off-grid leed home
Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

Off-grid living blog post 5: appliances, mechanical and other systems

...efficiency of all of the electronics used in our homes. The normal, high-efficiency, often ENERGY STAR approved appliances and other electronics of today use just a fraction of the power of their predecessors. Put all of these trends together, and it is now possible to use all off-the-shelf products from standard s...