Off grid / Guides

Lifestyle and environment

Emergency preparedness guide for homes

We are seeing more frequent and more severe weather events as our climate changes, and all evidence points to that trend continuing. Here we have a list of ways to prepare yourself in the event of grid failure or absence of municipal services. Storing emergency food and water: City water systems will remain pressu...

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

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

...off, where Alain Hamel lives in Northern Quebec (marked on the map to the right) is on the far edge of where this is even possible. Because of his particularly challenging location, Alain's heat strategy goes beyond simple insulation and into the storage of heat. This is achieved passively through placing thermal mas...

Where to place solar panels
Renewable energy

Where to place solar panels

There is a lot you can do in home construction to take advantage of the free energy provided by the sun. That can be passive solar , which is about home orientation and window design to passively heat your home, or active solar which involves mechanical solar panel systems. Solar panels can be either thermal (which ...

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

Net Zero Energy house in Edmonton, Alberta

This project, affectionately referred to as Belgravia Green, is a collaboration between home owners, local experts and Effect Home Builders . Together they are pushing the envelope to design and build Net Zero homes that produce as much energy throughout the year as they consume. Net Zero Energy home ©...

Passive solar heating & cooling in Homes has a long history in USA
Passive solar home design

Passive house and passive solar - free heat for homes

...offer shading in summer as well as heat in the winter after the leaves have fallen off. Despite the time we spend opening and closing curtains to keep the sun out, interior blinds and curtains have very limited ability to prevent summer heat gain. Once the energy is in, it's in. They will heat up when exposed to the ...

Ecohome's passively heated Edelweiss House
Efficient home design

Are better insulated homes worth the money?

...offset by savings in heating bills. So there is actually more money in your jeans at the end of every month, starting immediately, and tons waiting for you at the end of your mortgage. Our engineer, Denis Boyer, did a true cost comparison between homes built to meet code, and ones that perform several times better, a...

Concrete floors and timber frame as thermal mass
Efficient home design

The pros and cons of thermal mass in buildings

...off-peak hours: If you rely on radiant heat from thermal mass such as heated concrete floors, this can make heating with electricity a more realistic option in regions with high peak rates. A radiant floor can be charged with heat overnight during low rate hours, and timed to stay off during peak rate hours. Comfort:...

Net Zero Energy Home ZNE in Edmonton Alberta
Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

Award winning Net Zero house in Edmonton Alberta Leads the Way

...office, a secondary accommodation on top of the garage and two electric vehicles. In designing the home we applied the principles of passive solar design , increased insulation, airtight construction techniques , highly efficient mechanical systems and photovoltaic power generation . These systems and design features...

Building Green Homes on a Budget is Possible - Our top tips
Planning and Design

Top tips for planning and building a green home on a budget

...off-grid eco home , or are budgeting for extensive solar pv panels to charge up the Tesla, make sure you've accurately budgeted for a building lot that's within easy reach of transit or urban centres that have everything you need for everyday life. 3. Fix a realistic green home building budget Your available budg...

The Affordable Architect-Designed Modern Green prefab 2 Bed kit home
Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

Le Refuge - An Architect-Designed modern Green prefab 2 bed kit home

The tiny house movement is on the far end of the scale of a very encouraging and growing trend towards modern smaller home sizes . Small homes take less materials to build than large homes, and they consume less energy to operate. Ergo, smaller homes are ‘greener’ homes. At least most of the time… Tiny houses are on...