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high performance building

How to install cladding so your walls can dry

The walls of your home are an environmental separator. Their job is to keep the inside in and the outside out. Exterior cladding is your first line of defense against weather elements, and its job is to allow the control layers – like your vapour barrier, air barriers and insulation to do their jobs without being assaulted by wind, precipitation and UV rays.

By Mike Reynolds

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Farnham Avenue House

Old ideas and new technologies merge in eco-friendly Toronto infill

Farnham Avenue House is a single-family detached residential infill project. Some of the eco-friendly design aspects are time honoured such as, vertical ventilation and natural daylight shafts, dynamic cross ventilation, passive solar shading, and super insulation. Other features have been around for a long time, but are not that common on a confined city lot, such as geothermal heating and cooling. There are major elements that are reclaimed such as the exterior brick and structural timbers. Numerous locally sourced materials are incorporated. And some components are cutting edge technology, such as the bifacial solar panels tied into the Ontario government’s FIT [Feed-in Tariff] program. This house is a merging of old and new eco friendly architectural technologies.

By Kyle England

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The Elliott Residence

Reno and addition make farmhouse a local destination

The Elliott Residence is a retrofit / addition to a 1930 farmhouse near Ottawa. Designed for durability, energy independence and carbon neutrality, it meets R-2000, ENERGY STAR and GreenHouse, is participating in the 1000 Home Challenge and is Certified LEED Gold. Situated on five acres, the flex design stresses home-based income and food security, accessibility, community and rural aging-in-place. The house is designed to be divided so half may serve as a caregiver suite, a rental unit, or a home-based business.


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The Ecohome Demo House

Stage One: Slab-on-grade construction

The Ecohome Demonstration House is well underway, the following page chronicles the first stage of constuction, building the slab-on-grade. The house is oriented facing south to maximize passive solar heat gain in winter, but will be shaded in the summer by deciduous trees, wall mounted sun shades and a large overhang to prevent overheating.

By Mike Reynolds

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Heat pumps

What they are, how they work

When it comes to residential heating and cooling systems, few types of systems are as energy efficient as heat pumps. But what exactly are they and how do they work? In short, a heat pump is simply an electrical device that is capable of transferring heat from one place to another. Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, heat can actually be extracted from cold air and added to warmer air.

By Jason Ng Cheng Hin

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Maurer House and Studio

Case Study inachieving Net Zero energy

Built in 2003, the 1,850 sq. ft. Maurer House overlooks Lake Okanagan in BC on a sloping site with bedrock outcrops that we built around by dividing the house into three pieces around a central garden and mature trees: a studio/garage on the east, the master bedroom pavilion on the south, and the main living pavilion on the west.

By Florian Maurer

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