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September 2010
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Build it … Greener

This morning I was inspired by a friend of mine after he sent me an article from the New York Times on passive home construction. Last week   I attended the IIDEX Green Building Festival at the Direct Energy Centre, hoping to be inspired for my dream home.

Here are some of the highlights:

LEED for Homes

Last year I achieved the LEED AP accreditation, just before the new system of rating was implemented. Now LEED has introduced new rating systems for New Construction, Commercial Interiors, Core and Shell, Existing Buildings, Neighbourhood Development and Homes. Both Derek Satnik and Richard Vermeulen gave presentations the Thursday morning on how to design homes and neighbourhoods to be sustainable and more livable. They argued if you looked at it from both a bottom line and a life cycle cost perspective that you could build a home for none to very little additional cost.

Although it is argued that a LEED home only saves about 15% of the energy of a traditional home, it does get you thinking about how to do things with a minimal foot print. Ideally we begin to design and construct homes that are 50% more efficient, off the grid, and with recycled or renewable materials. Satnik discussed the other environmental standards including Energy Star, EnerGuide,   BREEAM and many, many others. While he said none of these is perfect it does help to minimize the impact of homes.

And think how good would it feel to not have to pay your hyrdo or water bills ever again…


Made in Canada by Canadian designers with Canadian materials (mostly), meet Nienkamper. Their website seems to be down this morning but I was really impressed with the quality of the furniture at the store. I’m currently trying to figure out if I can order a coffee table from them without having to put a commercial order in.

Fatboy also peaked my interest. They have unique lounging chairs and blocks for the home. I think I’ll have to get one of their hammocks for reading and relaxing next summer!

While there were many textiles that were intriguing, they were only available for commercial purchase. While I’m interested in purchasing eco-friendly textiles I do not need to outfit a commercial space; I only need enough for a small 1-bdrm space.

I was also interested in the green roof and gardening materials. I attended a presentation on Thursday morning regarding gardens, but it was more about the International Garden Festival than about how we can use vegetation to minimize our carbon footprint.

I will be reluctant to attend the Green Building Festival next year. Although the presentations I attended were well done, I was not impressed with the exposition this year. The Direct Energy Centre was an improvement in venue location from when I attended two years ago out by the airport. It would be good to see industry getting together with the universities to brain storm both large and small solutions to our sustainability conundrum.