green building

Solar Retrofit - Part 4: High Efficiency Heating & Domestic Hot Water

My previous post regarding the problems with Taylor Munro Energy Systems was very negative.  While the problems with TMES are still not resolved, I'd like to focus this posting on a part of my renovation that worked really well:  The high efficency boiler and the heating system.  

There are three main components to the system: 1) a source of heat: the boiler, 2) something to replace my furnace: a fan coil and 3) a domestic hot water (DHW) tank that runs off the boiler.  In addition, I've done a retrofit of radiant floor heating.  This step is optional and was done to allow zone heating of different areas of the house.

 read more... »

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... »

She's a Big'n








I remember viewing a home on the ecosolar home tour a few years back that had just been expanded to 3000 ft.² plus a full basement.  I walked away from that home shaking my head - can we really call 1000 ft.² of living space per person green?

The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) is now fully framed, and it's looking pretty big on the streetscape.  We built a pretty big house, and I wanted to document some of the considerations that went into the decisions we made.

The official square footage of the MCNZH is 2280 ft.² With a full basement, that's 3267 ft.² of living space.  For four people, that's definitely more space than we need. I am not a believer in the "techno-fix".  Technology will not save us from having to make changes to our lifestyle. We will have to scale it down considerably to start fixing the problems that we've caused.



   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... »