reclaim

Using What You've Got: Recycling Renovation Waste

In October of last year we bought our first house in Edmonton--and we've been renovating ever since.  Sound familiar?

Our initial attraction to the property was it's three-fold potential:

•  Potential to make this old house (1942) into a energy-efficient family home (hopefully for many years to come);

•  Potential to make this huge double lot (8000+ square feet) into a more environmentally sensitive/edible landscape (we love growing our own food); and finally,

•  The potential (and challenge) of being good neighbors/citizens in an older and struggling North Edmonton community (Build better communities, stop urban-sprawl, "improve, don't move", etc.).

 

Idealistic? Yes, whatever...

One of the biggest challenges to renovations and landscaping we are constantly up against is cost. Not making a lot of money, the cost of creating a space we can enjoy without guilt has called for some genuine creative thinking... and I hope some of the ideas we've come up with will be of interest to readers who can relate.  read more... »

MCNZH - Progress (part 7) - stucco, hardwood, moving in

IMG_1973

The Mill Creek NetZero Home is substantially completed.

The stucco is finished on the outside. We went with a cement-based stucco because of its looks and durability.

Peter Amerongen built a brick wall behind the wood burner. We used the bricks from the foundation of the house that used to be standing on the property. This wall adds more thermal mass (to capture both solar and wood heat) to the house, as well as a bit of history.

IMG_1980  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... »

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... »