Finding a home / Guides

Solar panel installation
Solar photovoltaic

Ten questions to ask a solar panel contractor

...ady and able to offer up any information that makes you feel at ease with such an important financial investment. Do solar installers have a NABCEP certification? A certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is not a prerequisite for declaring oneself a solar installer, and there ...

Carpenter ants are a common pest and nuisance to get rid of in homes
Pest control

Removing insects and rodents from your home, safely & humanely (by preference)

...atch and release (far from your home). The live traps that are available commercially are usually a small box with a triggered door that can hold one mouse. Getting the mouse out can sometimes be challenging, especially for the squeamish. My favourite is a homemade trap that can hold as many mice as are duped into us...

wood ceiling in Reclaimed sunken lumber
Walls and ceilings - interior surfaces

Wood Ceilings or drywall - how to choose your ceiling material & what's the difference in cost?

...a half-day and a day to install the drywall, one worker 3 days to do 3 coats of mud, and 1 day of sanding. That’s a total of about $2,400 for material and labour, but you haven’t applied paint yet. To do one coat of primer and two finishing coats you’d need 8 cans and it would easily take a day and a half with taping...

Are Laminate Countertops Good for Sustainable Green Counters in Homes?
Interiors

Are laminate countertops good for a sustainable green home?

...an ready for an additional coat of food-safe sealant! And secondly, today’s laminate surfaces are far more resistant to scratches and burns from contact with hot pans or purses with metal feet than older laminate counters. That said, take sensible precautions to make laminate countertops last as long as you can with ...

Alternative wall coverings to drywall
Walls and Roofs

The best alternatives to drywall for finishing interior walls

...and healthier interior air quality - making it one of the most sensible, affordable and agreeable drywall alternatives. Cork is also really good as a DIY sustainable flooring material . Cork panel boarding could be used as a funky drywall alternative Lath and plaster walls Lath and plaster is rarely seen anym...

Why you should Never put Coffee Grounds In the Garden
Exteriors - Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Why to NEVER put coffee grounds on plants or the garden...

...ation (you can thank us later). However, for all its goodness, are coffee grounds really that beneficial to use in the garden? Our initial searches suggested "yes, coffee grounds are great for acid-loving plants like hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, lily of the valley, blueberries, carrots, and radishes" - and we sa...

Painting with zero VOC paint from Benjamin Moore
Paints, finishes and natural coatings

Choosing safe paints

...an easily ventilated area with a respirator or face mask. Paint strippers are pretty easy to use and fast acting. They will usually contain methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, which is a known carcinogen. Instant side effects from vapours can be nausea, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Read labels car...

Fire retardants in furniture are intended to slow flames
Interior design and furnishing

Flame retardants in furnishings - an unnecessary and serious health risk

...abrauskas replied, "In an exceedingly blatant and disgraceful way, yes." Why do we continue to use flame retardants? This can be traced to a California law dating back to 1975, Technical Bulletin 117. Faced with high rates of residential fires, California passed a code which decreed that any article sold in Califor...

The Pros & Cons of Lasagna Gardening for Growing Food
Food production

Lasagna Gardening: the pros & cons of a lasagna garden

...at easy is better as far as gardening is concerned – then a lasagna garden may be the perfect fit for you. A Lasagna Garden is an easy way to convert a lawn into food producing garden Lasagne gardening also saves waste , as it makes use of materials that would otherwise be sent to landfills. So a big lasagna ga...

Passive House certification - PHI or PHIUS? The Spring House Passive House
Passive House

Everything you need to know about Passive House certification

...ace. A Passive House owner in Juneau gets to use more energy heating their home than a homeowner in El Paso, while the Alaskan has a much smaller allowance in the cooling department than their counterpart in the south. Were one to give a pair of sandals and a pair of winter boots to an Alaskan and a Hawaiian, would...

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

Are skylights an asset or a liability?

...al, and given the amount of time humans spend indoors I welcome features that make you feel a bit more like you are outdoors; skylights are great for that. If they are operational and within reach, they can also act as an exhaust vent in summer for releasing stale warm air. The benefits of skylights are real, but tha...