Waste Reduction

The construction of today’s modern house expends a lot of energy and creates a lot of waste. We’ve worked hard to reduce waste while building the Mill Creek NetZero Home.


Green Door Builders framed the home, and along with building us a very airtight double-walled system, they were extremely conscientious about keeping their waste to a minimum. Here is a picture of 100% of the OSB waste that they created:


(a tiny pile of OSB waste, considering that a 2000+ sq. ft. home was framed with OSB sheathing)

Our LEED inspector was very impressed with this tiny pile.  read more... »

Buy Energy Efficient Stuff

When we need to "consume", we should be buying stuff that uses as little water and electricity as possible. Comparing the different products for these attributes can be difficult. Here are the best resources:

Searchable Canadian Government Energy Efficiency Ratings of all available:

The (user-unfriendly) master page is here. I always have trouble finding these databases, so I thought that I would post them here for easy reference. After you've run your initial search, click on "Energuide Rating (kWh/year)" twice. This will order the appliances by the smallest consumption first.

For cars, if you simply must buy one, refer to the U.S. Government's Fuel Economy comparison website.

Low-carbon Solar Mass

I was relieved to see the the house at 9805 - 84th Avenue get torn down a couple of weeks ago. Once it was gone, I figured, I wouldn't be obsessively compelled to recycle it anymore.

The day before the tear down, though, Peter Amerongen started talking about reusing the foundation bricks as a mass wall inside the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH). I had raised the idea a few times previously, and he hadn't seemed all that enthusiastic, so I was going to let it go. He's the expert at reusing old material, after all.

The night of the demolition, this is what the site looked like:  read more... »

Saving Wood

100 year old houses are relatively convenient to take apart because the original structure contains no screws. Two by fours will come out just by being banged with a sledgehammer if there are no screws. My friend Ed and I saved about 50 2x4 studs from the old pink house that stood at 9805 - 84th Avenue until last week.  read more... »