energy efficiency

Insulated Basement Slab

The best two things a home builder/renovator can do in the name of energy efficiency is to insulate and seal a house. It's almost too bad, what with our culture's obsession with everything high tech. When people ask me about the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH), they're often expecting to hear about technology's magic answers. When I start talking about insulation levels, eyes start to glaze over, but the truth is that 75% of the difference between this house and a conventional one is that it's sealed as tight as a plastic bag and it's super-insulated.  read more... »

Solar Retrofit - Part 3: Looking for Installation Help

As mentioned in my previous posts, I've signed a contract with Taylor Munro Energy Systems from BC for a solar thermal system to help provide space heat and domestic hot water.  My contract is for system design and
major component supply - it does not include installation.

I wonder if anyone familiar with the solar industry in Edmonton could put me in touch with local installers that could help me get my collectors installed on my house.  This is the proposed south elevation:

 

And the proposed east elevation:  read more... »

Solar Retrofit to a mid-1960's bungalow - Part 2

Well, since my first posting about doing a solar thermal retrofit to my house back on May 10th, I'm sorry to day it's been pretty much a nightmare.  When the collectors arrived on March 14th, they looked like they'd been shipped through a war zone.


 read more... »

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... »