Energy efficiency / Guides

Shipping container homes, Good or Bad?
Architecture and plan design

Are shipping container houses environmentally friendly & good or bad to live in?

...Energy efficiency: Metal is a conductor - of both heat and cold - as evidenced by the popularity of metal frying pans over say...wooden ones, for example. This makes metal a less than ideal substance in many applications of home construction. To render a container house energy efficient in a cold climate, you'd nee...

Water efficiency
Plumbing and water heaters

How to save money on your hot water bills!

...energy efficiency with a tankless delivery system are somewhat exaggerated. In reasonably-sized homes without extremely long hot water feeds, the savings are negligible. And at two or even three times the price of a conventional water heater, your return on investment will be an awfully long way off, and your money is ...

ProductiveHouse in Montreal
Choosing where to live

Green living in the city

...efficiency. It isn’t necessary to embark on an expensive remodeling project, you can gradually and affordably reduce the energy needed to run your home. Improving the seal of windows and doors , replacing old inefficient doors and windows, install electronic thermostats and dimmer switches, install water-reducing and...

Photovoltaic solar panels
Renewable energy

Solar heating and energy generation

...energy production essentially a noble, yet unprofitable undertaking for homeowners. Regardless of financial returns though, any home renewable energy system is clean energy and will reduce the demand on our energy infrastructure, and consequently emissions. Passive solar heating Passive solar heating is the conce...

Condensation on windows leads to mold & mildew in homes, ERV & HRV systems help
Ventilation

Ventilation & air exchangers

...energy recovery in the USA is the ability to meet the ASHRAE ventilation and energy standards, while improving indoor air quality and reducing total HVAC ratings and energy requirements. ERV technology is not only an effective means of reducing energy cost and heating and cooling loads, but allows for smaller equipme...

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...

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

...energy efficiency’ argument. Overall performance of Solariums: The idea that a solarium will heat the interior of the building in winter and reduce its energy consumption unfortunately does not seem to materialize in all but the warmest regions of Canada, like Southern Ontario and perhaps the sunnier regions of coa...

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...

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...

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...

Basement wall insulation
Insulation and soundproofing

Properly insulating basements and concrete slab floors

...energy 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 m...