Solar thermal / Guides

Slab-on-grade construction technical guide
Slab on Grade

Slab-on-grade technical guide

...Thermal mass within the conditioned living space has the ability to absorb and store heat, greatly helping to regulate interior temperatures. Homes with significant thermal mass inside the building envelope are also easier to keep cool in summer. Affordability: Bringing a building project to the point where it is r...

Off-grid and Net-Zero Housing

A Toronto Off-grid home 20 years later; how did it fare?

...Solar energy collection A successful strategy to power a home with solar energy begins like the water system, with the core principle of first reducing demand. To that end, the appliances and systems of this house were designed and chosen for their reduced operational demand of energy. On the roof are eight photovo...

Tips for finding a reliable green home builder
How to Find Qualified Green Building Professionals

How to choose a home-building contractor

...Solar, Green Builder, or Green-home builder. Passive House and LEED are green building certification programs, but even if you don’t want to bother certifying a home, finding a builder that has built a Passive House, LEED or ZNE certified home is a good thing because they'll know and understand the importance of the ...

Passive home designer Harold Orr, one of the original high performance homes
Passive solar home design

The principal designer of the house that inspired the global Passivhaus movement reflects on the project that started it all.

...solar energy". The solar people on the committee then designed a solar furnace consisting of about 17.9 m2 or 193 sq. ft. of vacuum tube solar collectors and a 12,700 litre or 3,355 US gallon storage tank insulated to about R100, with appropriate pumps and heat exchangers to supply heat to the house and provide domesti...

Polished concrete floors and counters
Paints, finishes and natural coatings

Finishing concrete floors with silicate densifiers

...solar home - especially as built correctly with sufficient subfloor insulation a concrete slab on grade makes a perfect thermal battery for solar heat . Sealing concrete floors: Raw concrete is very porous and will have a lot of tiny, interconnected air pockets in it that will absorb moisture and other contaminants...

Why Electric Heating Systems are Best for Sustainable Homes
Heating with electricity

Heating with Electricity - The Best Choice for High Efficiency & Zero Energy Homes?

...thermal heating ) or water source heat pumps. What are the different types of heat pumps? Is electric heating expensive? Depending on local utility rates, yes, it can sometimes be fairly expensive to heat with electricity. The key to heating efficiently with electricity anywhere, is to cut your home heating d...

Natural Building Insulation Made of Grass - Eco-friendly, Green
Insulation and soundproofing

Non-toxic natural building insulation made of grass

...thermal mass absorbs and releases heat (meaning - the way stone, concrete, wood, water, substances with a lot of mass absorbs and holds heat). When relative humidity levels inside your home or walls change, some of that moisture will be absorbed and released by the materials in your home. And, as it's that time of year...

Crawl Spaces or Slab on Grade Foundations?
Foundations and Basements

Slab on grade or crawlspaces, which is better?

...solar air heated slab floor here . What’s cheaper to build – a slab on grade or a crawlspace? A slab is cheaper . A crawl space is like building a mini (and dysfunctional) basement, so you get most of the cost, all the durability issues and potential hassles of a basement, PLUS a sore back and bruises on your head ...

Crawl Spaces or Slab on Grade Foundations?
Crawl spaces

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

...solar air heated slab floor here . What’s cheaper to build – a slab on grade or crawlspace? A slab is cheaper . A crawl space is like building a mini (and dysfunctional) basement, so you get most of the cost, all the durability issues and potential hassles of a basement, PLUS a sore back and bruises on your head if...

High efficiency wood stoves
Wood stove and biomass heat

Heating with wood and biomass fuel

...thermal mass to retain and distribute heat. As older fireplaces are often located on exterior walls, installing a cold air intake can often be relatively easy and will significantly increase the efficiency. Wood burning stoves: While we can do without some of the amenities we have grown accustomed to, heat is not...

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?

...Solar Thermal Collectors - direct "free" heat from the sun Also find all about sustainable home construction in the EcoHome Green Building Guide pages