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Green Home Architecture

150 150 Nisha Muire

Green architecture are buzzwords that are gaining in strength and credence as more people begin to understand what the craze is about. In the not-too-distant past, people were understandably wary of green home architecture as the eco-friendly buildings produced in that category were not as comfortable or inviting as standard homes. However, big strides have been made in this area and today’s eco-friendly properties are very much the way of the future.

What is Green Architecture? Green architecture really encompasses anything designed for sustainability, durability and efficiency. Usually green home designs include one or more of several elements, such as:

passive envelopes
renewable energy options
water capture features
natural waste water treatment for reuse in non-potable functions
living, reflective or adobe style roofs
repurposing existing materials
using recycled materials
compostable sewage options

The goal of green architecture is to build structures that give off zero emissions and that generate their own energy.

If you are interested in building a green home, then it is very important to hire the right people to help you design it. Hiring an architect or an architectural firm well-versed in eco-friendly design and construction will ensure that you have the proper planning, certification and studies done prior to the actual building of your project.

It is important to have a thorough assessment of your building site to determine the proper placement of your property to maximize passive heating and cooling options, the feasibility of renewable energy sources and the impact of the construction on the environment. Once all of these things have been determined, then a proper eco-friendly design can be proposed and the right materials can be sourced.

Green architecture might cost a little bit more than regular architecture, but costs are improving every year and the savings that you will see from better insulation and a lower footprint will more than compensate for the initial expenses.

Renewable Energy for your Toronto Home

150 150 Nisha Muire

There is no question that energy costs in Ontario are high. There is also no question that renewable energy sources are gaining in momentum and that larger numbers of people are interested in finding out more about them. Although most folk are not ready to overhaul their existing power source structure, it is worth knowing that there are some very viable alternatives on the market and that they are becoming more accessible every day.

Forms of renewable energy

There are four basic forms of renewable energy:

Solar (photovoltaic)
Hydro power

Harnessing the Sun
The most popular form of renewable energy is that of solar power. Given the sun’s immense potential it makes sense to harness its energy. There are three types of solar power technologies available. Here they are as described on the Microfit Power Authority website:

Solar PV using crystalline technology
Solar PV panels using crystalline technology generate electricity by converting the sun’s rays into direct current electricity using a crystalline semiconducting material made of silicon. Generally, these systems use panels made up of a number of individually manufactured photovoltaic cells that are assembled together in panels. The panels are then strung together to form the arrays of a solar PV system to provide higher voltages and more power. These systems tend to make use of either monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells/panels. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive, but are also more efficient, and so produce more wattage that a similarly sized “polycrystalline” panel.

Solar PV using thin-film technology
Solar PV uses thin-film technology in which the cell and module are manufactured in the same production line, created by depositing one or more layers of photovoltaic material on top of a semiconductor material in a single process. These modules are much thinner and lighter than crystalline solar PV modules; however, they have lower efficiencies and therefore often require more panels for a given area than crystalline panels.

Solar PV using concentrated technology
Concentrated Solar PV concentrates the sun’s rays through a lens, or by using a mirror, onto highly efficient solar cells, increasing the power output of the system. These solar panels are generally mounted using a tracking system in order to use the sun’s rays more efficiently by increasing the amount of time the solar cell is exposed to direct sunlight.

Water (Hydro) and Wind

Water and wind power are also both very effective and clean forms of renewable energy although not quite as popular as solar as they require a large space and access to a windy spot and/or a constant water supply such as a stream or river.


Bioenergy is produced through the natural decaying process of residual waste products from a number of sources including agricultural by-products, forestry operations, livestock activities and food processing operations.

Renewable Energy and the Government

The Ontario government actually has a very attractive program to help subsidize those who are interested in switching to renewable energy sources. Through the Microfit program, you can have your renewable energy source hooked back up to your electrical grid so that any excess energy you produce will go back to the grid and you get paid for it. The full details of this program can be found over here //microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/.

For an indepth account of a homeowner who took the plunge and installed solar panels to his home, go over here //www.yourturn.ca/solar/. The informative site answers all the questions you might have on solar technology including the installation process for the entire system, the cost and how much you can expect to get back from the Microfit program.

Renewable energy systems are still in their infancy, but have since immense leaps recently. Moving forward expect to see more new construction projects offering these clean and green technologies as alternatives to existing technologies.

It’s Earth Month – A Look at Green Initiatives

150 150 Nisha Muire

April is earth month! The eco-home movement is growing steadily and greater numbers of homeowners are curious about what “green” means, how they can lower their home’s footprint and how they can start down a green path in a manner that will not significantly impact their daily lives.

What does “Green” mean?

The term “green” is typically used to encompass any initiative aimed at reducing waste of any kind and to lowering one’s footprint. Whether it is a reduction in consumer waste, energy expenditure or the use of toxic products in your daily routine, green covers it all.

Where to start

If you aren’t already immersed in green living, from the outside looking in it can seem daunting. A newbie to the eco-movement might wonder where to start when it comes to reducing their waste and energy consumption and to ridding their home of toxic chemicals. Baby steps is really the best way to start. If you begin by changing small things in your routine, then it will be easier to slowly move to the larger items.

The three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The old adage every schoolchild is taught is entirely applicable in this context. Begin your green home makeover by reducing your consumption, reusing what you do have for as long as possible and recycling all the items that can be recycled.

To Reduce Consumption

One of the best ways to reduce your consumption footprint is to buy in bulk or to buy products that are unbundled, thereby reducing the amount of packaging going into your recycling bin or garbage. Making large quantity purchases also cuts down on the number of times you have to drive to the store, further reducing your emissions footprint.


The word is really self-explanatory – reuse everything that can be reused. From clothing, to shoes, to plastic bags, to water – if you can reuse then do so! Here are some ideas:

Use rain barrels to capture rainwater to use when watering the garden or your house plants
Wash, dry and reuse plastic baggies for lunches, snacks or storing items. Better yet, use glass, tin or plastic containers instead.
Buy classic cuts of clothing that won’t go out of style and wear them out – then turn them into something else or give them to the thrift store so that they go on to live some more!


Again here, the sky’s the limit with what you can do to recycle items. Old tires can be turned into attractive flower containers, tin cans make great bird feeders and empty laundry detergent bottles can be turned in sturdy scoopers to use in the garden. Do a simple internet search for “recycling ideas” and you’ll get a plethora of easy and awesome ideas to follow.

On a simpler note, merely getting a large recycling bin and putting all recyclable materials into it for city pick up is the easiest way to recycle. Composting kitchen waste is another great recycling idea.

Energy Efficiency

Ensuring that your home is energy efficient is another way to make a big eco-impact. Here are some ideas for reducing your energy consumption.

– Install programmable thermostats
– Cut down on dishwasher and dryer use by letting dishes and clothes air dry
– Turn lights and small appliances off when not in use
– Shower instead of soaking in a tub
– Stop any leaks around windows and doors – changing them if necessary
– Increase the insulation in your attic
– Open blinds in the winter to warm up your home passively and close blinds in the summer to cool your home passively

Reduce Your Toxic Footprint

Reducing the number of toxins in your home can be as simple as replacing all of your cleaning products with natural products that are chemical free. In fact, making your own using simple vinegar and baking soda is the easiest way to go!

Being green doesn’t mean having to install solar panels on your roof or switching to an electric car – although you can certainly do that as well! As long as you take small steps in the right direction, you will be able to make a positive reduction in your home’s eco-footprint.

To read more about the incentives offered by the Ontario Ministry of Energy click here