How to / Guides

Thermal batteries for passive solar design
Efficient home design

Thermal batteries: how to passively store heat

...to make the 1 kg block go from 20°C to 21°C. To make it go from 21°C to 22°C, you will also need 2.5 kJ (i.e. the same amount of energy). Paraffin melts at approximately 37°C. If it drops to 36°C, you will again only need 2.5 kJ to bring it back to 37°C, but you would need 210 kJ (84 times as much) to go from 37 to 3...

Slab-on-grade construction technical guide
Slab on Grade

Slab-on-grade technical guide

...to pour a footing, again to pour walls, and a third time to pour a basement floor. For every ton of concrete produced, one ton of greenhouse gases is released into the atmosphere. Once a basement foundation is completed, a subfloor must be built on top. This is another cost that will be incurred in order to create a ...

Polished concrete floors and counters
Paints, finishes and natural coatings

Finishing concrete floors with silicate densifiers

...to 2,000 PSI to the compressive strength. As a result, it is more resistant to chipping than it would be with just a finishing sealer. Concrete densifier product options: To choose the right densifier, you first need to make a fairly insignificant choice between how much sheen versus how much depth of penetration y...

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

Creating a farm and building a resilient lifestyle

...tove if we need to. Moving our focus outdoors As the cold of winter gradually ceded control to the sunshine of spring, I was only too ready to turn my attention to the out-of-doors. I had been thinking a lot about resilience and what exactly that meant for a rural landowner. We had done a good job with the house,...

Correctly installed Triple pane south facing windows on Ecohome's Demo House
Windows and doors

Installing doors & windows for the best performance in high efficiency homes, LEED & Passive House

...To discover how to choose the best windows for your house, see here or see here to know which type of window frame to choose between wood, aluminum or PVC / Vinyl Members get great Discounts - sign up today... Top Tips: For Well Fitted & Sealed Windows & Why It's Important: Attention to Detail is essential ...

Water efficiency
Plumbing and water heaters

How to save money on your hot water bills!

...to save hot water is a low flow showerhead . They are no longer the painful jets that you find in cheap roadside motels, with modern low flow showerheads you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference. Insulate your water heater and pipes © Ecohome To avoid heat loss, you can add a layer of insulation to th...

90 year old red pine refinished with zero VOC floor oil
Paints, finishes and natural coatings

How to find a healthier wood finish

...to interior air quality and health. For this reason non-toxic wood floor finishing oils are gaining in popularity. There are a lot of benefits to oiled floors, especially with softwood which are prone to damage - it's very easy to touch up an oiled floor, especially when compared to a varnished one. Environmental imp...

Radon Mitigation - Installing a radon evacuation stack in a slab floor
Radon in Homes - Mitigation

Mitigating radon gas in homes

...to evaluate radon levels of their properties and investigate ways to mitigate it. Radon mostly enters through the basements, and the natural stack effect of homes means air from the basement will find its way to the top floors. More specifically, radon penetrates through: Stone foundations Crawl spaces Floor dr...

Frost Heave Prevention Helps Stop Frost Heaving Breaking up Home Foundations
New foundations and slab-on-grade

What causes Frost Heave? Preventing frost heaving is down to good foundation design

...to fill your head with their own misconceptions to get the job. In most cold climates we have grown accustomed to having basements, and adopted the notion that a house needs to be in the ground to be below the frost line. That just isn’t so. You also do not need to pile dirt against the side of your house to stop it ...

How to Insulate Exterior Walls from the Outside US Canada Ecohome
Walls and Roofs

The easiest way to insulate walls from the exterior in older homes

...tor, and when you have metal that passes from one side of a wall to the other, you have a thermal bridge, which is a path for heat to leave your home, and money to leave your wallet. To those of you living in Toronto or New York in older homes, this also applies to the elegant brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and tene...

How to Fasten Cement Board Facing to slab on grade insulation
Slab on Grade

Finishing the exterior of an insulated slab-on-grade floor

...to know how to finish the edge off durably. Typically the exterior edge of a slab on grade is made of EPS foam and can be parged. Having used rigid Rockwool panels meant we needed an additional solid exterior surface. Here we installed an exterior cement board , though that left the challenge of how to attach it with...