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7 Tips to Designing a Zero Energy Home

Tax Breaks For CanadiansDesigning a zero energy house (ZEH) is a complex procedure. A properly functioning ZEH is like a well composed concerto; all systems need to be working seamlessly together to create a masterpiece. The most important requirements include a well insulated building envelope, efficient HVAC, a reliable source of renewable energy and energy efficient appliances. All of these components must work together to create a home that is healthy and produces as much energy as it consumes. Here are 7 tips to designing a ZEH so harmonious, it would make Mozart proud. Read more

Tips for successfully retrofitting or building your green house

Choosing a Contractor for your Green Home

Building a house is one of the most important investments you will make. Hiring an inexperienced green building contractor may cost less initially, but you will pay for it in the long run. Many green building techniques and materials are state-of-the-art and contractors have not had enough experience with them to do a good job. If your contractor has been ‘building this way for 20 years’, he’s probably not the right man for the job. But how, exactly, does one tell the good from the bad and the ugly? Read more

Tilt-up Building Revolutionized

Amvic combines the best of ICF building with tilt-up technology to create the EnerTILT system

The copious advantages of building with concrete are already well established. Concrete is impervious to the destruction caused to wood framed homes by rodents and insects. Mould and mildew also hold no sway and concrete structures are known for their resilience to extremes in inclement weather. Earthquake and fire resistant, concrete structures enjoy lower insurance premiums than their wood framed counterparts. Concrete walls offer increased noise reduction and lower heating and cooling costs. Read more

Saving Lives II: Fire, Demented Driving and Random Acts of God

Each year, fire claims more Canadian lives than all other natural disasters combined. Fires cause billions of dollars in property damage and destroys vital natural areas. To combat loss of life and property, building techniques have been developed to protect your family, home and belongings from fire damage. ICFs are the leading materials in fire safety technology. ICFs block wall systems provide solid concrete, reinforced exteriors that have a 3 to 4 hour fire rating. The exterior Styrofoam insulation simply melts off the walls rather than combusting. A study conducted by the Southwest Pacific Research Institute found the emissions from burning the insulating foam on ICFs “no more toxic” than smoke from wood frame housing. Read more

Saving Lives: ICFs and Tornados

Over 1,000 tornadoes touch ground in the US every year, leaving a path of devastation as they scatter people’s lives across the countryside. This year has seen the deadliest tornado season since 1953. Already, 519 People have lost their lives and billions of dollars of damage was caused as twisters ripped through parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. The magnitude of the devastation has people questioning current building practices and looking for alternatives. Many are turning to ICFs to provide protection from extreme weather conditions. Read more

Greening the City

Investigating the Benefits of Green Roofs and Roof Gardens

The return of the roof garden heralds a new era of greening our urban spaces. Studies espousing the virtues of greenery and fresh air have encouraged many to find environmentally friendly uses for dead roof space. Green roofs and roof gardens offer environmental benefits and save costs for building owners.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, green roofs and roof gardens reduce the heat absorption of the building. If a significant number of roofs are greened, they can reduce the heat island effects of cities. For example, the temperature of Tokyo can be reduced by 0.11 to 0.84 degrees Celsius if half of the rooftops were green. This would result in a savings of $1.2 million a day in energy used to cool buildings in the city. Green roofs capture rain water and reduce run off so storm water drains are better able to cope in times of high rainfall. They improve the air quality and filter smog and pollution from cars and factories. Plants absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. They offer aesthetic appeal and enhance biodiversity. Read more

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