Renovations / Guides

Cambrian Black Granite
Kitchens

Granite counter tops

There are substantial environmental impacts that come with shipping building materials around the globe, particularly something as weighty as granite. It is for this reason that the credit MR5 in the Materials and Resources category of LEED for Homes certification exists. To get a point for buying local, LEED has a ...

Crawl Spaces or Slab on Grade Foundations?
Crawl spaces

Should I Build on a Slab on Grade Foundation or a Crawl Space?

...renovations. So how to deal with that? No basement storage: build a shed, or build your slab slightly bigger to include room for storage; that can be combined with a mechanical room, and laundry as well. Or, fill your garage full of junk like most people do... Main floor mechanical room: build it away from bedroo...

What is Interstitial Condensation? (And how to stop it!)
Walls and Roofs

What is Interstitial Condensation in Walls or Roofs? (And how to stop it!)

...renovations and want to avoid any unwanted repairs and costs then we say invest in a ventilation system if you don’t have one, there are countless benefits for health, durability and energy efficiency. Now you've learned all about interstitial condensation in walls and roofs, why it happens & how to prevent i...

Laminate Kitchen countertops can be beautiful & green too - Counter by Formica
Kitchens

Choosing green kitchen countertops for sustainable homes Including LEED v4 & Passive House PHIUS+ certified

The most common kitchen counters you will find in homes are traditional laminate countertops. And they certainly live up to the adage ‘you get what you pay for’, as most of them still contain a lot of formaldehyde and they aren’t very durable. Maybe the latest generation of laminate countertops for kitchens & bathroom...

Ecohome's passively heated Edelweiss House
Efficient home design

Are better insulated homes worth the money?

There are probably only two general desires we share when imagining a dream house - we all want the nicest one possible for the least amount of money. And we want both of those things right away, rather than waiting a lifetime to see the 'payback' for noble design choices we might have made to save polar bears, bees, ...

Lifestyle and environment

Resources and getting started

Choosing between buying, building or renting 1. Building a new home. Building a sustainable and energy efficient house is not necessarily more expensive than building a house simply to meet provincial building codes. Many new home starts have achieved far superior performance while still coming in the same or lowe...

Timber frame construction
Wood and organic materials

Wood frame construction

...renovations and certain commercial applications as well. The truth about fire resistance and wood structures: The combustibility of a building's framing material has little to do with fire safety. Statistics show that the risk of fire is no greater for wood frame homes than for those built with other structural mat...

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

...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 of life, hemp insulation is reusable and/or recyclable, which is not the case for polyurethane. Hemp wool ha...

Non-toxic building materials can improve home air quality
Healthy indoor air quality

Maintaining healthy indoor air quality

Mold in homes is a bad sign so how to get rid of it or prevent mold in drywall? Mold and mildew in homes develops in conditions of high humidity , most often in bathrooms, kitchens and basements, unless caused by roof leaks and other building envelope failures. Along with affecting the durability of your home, mold ...

Frost in Attics: What causes Attic Ice? How to Fix it?
Roof assemblies - renovation

Why is there frost in my attic? Is ice in roofs a problem & How do I stop it?

Frost in Attics: why is there Ice in my roof? When a warm sunny day arrives after a long cold stretch and it seems like you have a roof leak when there isn't a cloud in the sky, it's probably Attic Icing , otherwise known as Ice Dams or Ice Damming, and the surprising thing is that it's very unlikely that the roof c...