My cousin is our major inspiration for this next project. She and her spouse bought a run down triplex in Montreal a few years back and renovated it. They did something I had never even heard of at the time: they made their renovation as environmentally friendly as they could. Here is a CMHC report on their house. There are SO many "green" things in their house it would be hard to list them all. Oh! But I must! Or at least, I'll try!
Here they are in thier fabulous green kitchen
This house holds the first dual-flush toilet I ever saw, not a big deal by now, but it was at the time! Other water saving devices in the house include a front loading washer, a rain water capturing system and the little gizmo on their sink in the picture above. You know when you want a drink of water so you let the water run a minute? They have this little spout thing where they dump the clean water. It goes to the rain water cistern and they then use it for washing clothes and flushing toilets. Pretty neat I thought!
Any energy saving skeems in this house? How about a geo-thermal heat pump, right there in almost downtown Montreal! Solar water heating and a green roof. They also have the ability to turn off some of their plugs when they are not in use in order to cut down on phantom loads (electricity that is consumed by appliances even when they are turned off). I'll try to find pictures of their house and put up another post about it. It is such an inspiration for us that I really want to say more about it.
I have to point out that they did most the the "unskilled labor" themselves, evenings and weekends. Their immediate family helped them out when they could, and they hired skilled workers for what they could not do themselves. It is now a stunning home with a small rental unit and is as green a building as you can get!
So now, we want a green house too! But where to start? We have lots of research ahead of us about green building but also about living green in general.