Category Archives: Environment

Healthy Housing Overseen By Experts

You may wonder if sustainable houses designed, built, inhabited and then monitored step-by-step by professionals actually exist. The answer is yes. The EQuilibrium Housing Initiative is just that.

If you wish to learn and understand more about the sustainable housing industry – which is about to become fundamental in the fight against climate change – the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) initiative is for you.

The CMHC seeks to expand the construction of EQuilibrium houses across the country. Even if you’re planning to buy an existing home, exploring an EQuilibrium house will give you the required knowledge to properly evaluate another home that some owners might try to sell you as sustainable.

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The initiative exists since 2006. The EQuilibrium house is meant to serve as a model for sustainable living: safe and environmentally friendly materials, lower utility bills, renewable energies, conservation of our planet’s limited resources, reduced environmental impact, greater comfort and cost-effective construction. And, believe it or not, as an added value, sustainable houses are a better investment than traditional homes. Continue reading

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For your children’s health

We’re not trying to scare you or turn you into an environmental fanatic. Although many of the following recommendations are based on scientific evidence, others are just assumptions. The assumptions are serious, but they’re based on probabilities. The thing to keep in mind is to do your best according to your budget.

Children are in contact with their bedroom floor quite often, so the choice of floor covering is crucial. It’s best not to use vinyl-based covering because it contains PVC, an irritant that can cause allergies. It’s may also cause cancer. If you really want to use it, make sure you ventilate your children’s room as often as possible.

A haven for mites, traditional carpeting is to be avoided. If not, choose carpets with natural fibres. Wool is known for its resistance and durability, two essential qualities given how rough children can be.

Cork is the almost perfect covering. It prevents noise from the bedroom from spreading to the ground floor and doesn’t contain any toxic substances. Natural latex is used as a glue. Some leave it unchanged, while others apply a coat of paint or a biological varnish.  Continue reading

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Ceramic passes the test

Ceramic is as old as the world. It has been manufactured and used for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans were crazy about it. Ceramic is found in every corner of the world.

Clay is the first material used to manufacture ceramic. It is baked at very high temperatures. Clay is abundant in nature, even if manufacturers have been using it for ages. From this aspect, ceramic is definitely an ecological material.

On top of that, ceramic is extremely durable once it is placed on the floor or walls. It can last for almost half a century. And it requires little maintenance, which in itself is a distinguishing feature of a sustainable material.

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The surface of ceramic is often vitreous, which means that there is no risk of toxic substances spreading in the air of a home. Even better: more and more manufacturers are resorting to recycled material, such as glass, to manufacture ceramic.

Is ceramic ecological. Not quite. Continue reading

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Green carpets and rugs

From the 60s to the 80s, everyone was rushing to install wall to wall carpeting. Decorative, warm, comfortable, sometimes soft, they had everything. Synthetic fibres proliferated on Quebec floors.

Faced with the accelerated degradation of the environment, ecologists pushed carpets out of our houses. There are many reasons. Carpets cause a great deal of pollution, from manufacturing to use. Carpets are not biodegradable, don’t last long, can barely be recycled, contain numerous toxic chemicals and are made of petroleum products.

Health professional have added their grain of salt with a concrete argument: carpets can be dangerous for your health. They attract everything that floats in the air: dust, chemical residues, mites, humidity and even outdoor waste that sticks to soles. They also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sometimes turn into germ nests. That was the end for carpets. We see less and less.

Hardliners have tried to group rugs with enemies of the environment, but in vain. Today, certain rugs are made entirely of recyclable materials. Continue reading

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Glass, the material of the future

The future doesn’t just belong to ecomaterial. Glass is the shining example.

Initially, i.e. many centuries ago, glass was not very transparent or resistant. Scientific progress allowed glass to gain in transparency and strength. That is why the manufacturing of glass requires a great deal of energy because the transformation temperature is high. It emits CO2, heavy metals and polluting gases in industrial quantities.

Glass is far behind wood, stone, earth or straw in terms of ecological materials. However, it is far ahead of the pet peeves of ecologists: PVC, aluminium and even steel. Continue reading