Thermal solar / Guides

What is a heat pump
Heat pumps, geothermal and AC

Heat pumps: what they are and how they work

...thermal heating and cooling, where the heat is either taken from, or added back to the ground. Heat pumps may sound like a pretty magical device that can accomplish anything; however they do have a few important downsides. First of all, their performance is very much dependent on the climate. In very cold climates wh...

Slab on grade or a foundation and basement?
Foundation choices

Slab-on-grade vs foundation and crawlspace or basement slab-on-grade construction Slab-on-Grade Construction is best if: Slab on grade polished concrete floor © Bala Structures A slab floor is a fantastic way to start a passive solar home , as your entire floor surface consists of several inches of thermal mass to absorb heat. A slab is a great place to bur...

Passive House in Quebec
Passive House

The Passive-Aggressive House - Our History of a Passivhaus Build” houses from the 1970s, which often had too many windows, causing wild temperature swings from day to night. “There’s no good reason,” I used to say, “why we don’t build more Passive Houses in this country.” I assumed it was just Canadian denial of our climate; we like to wear thin jackets and complain about th...

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!)

...thermal efficiency of insulation that is saturated with moisture. Mold growth, which is a cause of respiratory allergies. Mildew - most frequently found as black spots on drywall, especially behind furniture. Staining coming from behind drywall and around baseboards and any junction points in walls. Corrosion o...

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 ...

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

Zero Carbon Homes - The S1600 Prefab Eco Home is affordably Close
Planning and Design

Zero Carbon Homes - The S1600 Prefab Eco Home gets affordably Close

...Solar heated floor - an Ecohome concept house And in other news… There is one energy saving feature that has not been included in the carbon footprint and energy consumption calculations of this particular house, which is the solar air heated slab-on-grade floor. Unlike most radiant floors where heated liquid is pa...

Saving Energy in Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs - Our Top Tips to Save Money
Natural swimming pools and ponds

Top tips for energy efficient swimming pools - reduce pool cleaning & running costs

...Solar powered heating system saves energy while extending comfort While the initial cost of installing solar water heaters might be high, in the long run it makes financial sense. You can even connect the solar panels so they can serve both your home when they are not required for the pool - for more details on solar...

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...

Comparing ground source and air source heat pumps
Heating and cooling

Heat Pumps: Ground source geothermal GSHP or air source ASHP, which one is best for heating a home?

...thermal?" First let's clear up some confusion on terminology regarding heat pumps - search Google for Geothermal Heating Systems and you will find hundreds maybe thousands of companies using the word "Geothermal" to describe ground source heat pumps, two systems that have only one thing in common: they sit on and in ...