Archive for the ‘Construction Materials’ category

Sustainable Building Courses At Endeavour Centre 2018

January 16th, 2018

 The Endeavour Centre in Peterborough, Ontario has consistently developed excellent, hands-on courses for students of all ages to learn the craft of building low-impact, sustainable homes. The “low-impact” aspect is important because there are lots of “green buildings” out there that use materials with toxic chemicals and have a high carbon footprint. Our version of “traditional building” is so far removed from the traditional building before the 20th century, it is almost unrecognizable. The Endeavour Centre’s sustainable building programs highlight the use of natural materials, many of which are renewable (ie., wood, straw, cork, flax, wool), or are made from recycled materials (insulation, roofing).

If you’ve ever had a dream of learning how to build sustainable homes, there are two great courses coming up in 2018.

From the Endeavour Website:

Natural Building Intensive – Though we do lots of work with natural materials, this is the first time we’re offering a natural building intensive. This one-month course will give participants a chance to construct two small buildings from foundation to finish, and gain experience with just about every natural material/strategy available in this part of the world.

For more information:

Sustainable Renovations – We’re expanding the successful model of our five-month, full-time Sustainable New Construction program, but giving participants the chance to focus on making a net zero energy, net zero carbon, zero toxin and zero waste renovation to an urban lane way garage to turn it into healthy and efficient living space.

For more information:


Ed note: Chris asked me if I would spread the word, but I was not paid, nor did I ask for payment for this post.

Buy Clean California Act, the state’s latest move to curb its greenhouse gas emissions

November 24th, 2017

San Diego Skyline (under construction)On October 15th, California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed into law, the “Buy Clean California Act.” The intention of this law to prevent contractors from using material that is shipped in other states and countries with considerably lower quality than standards than required by California. At the same time, it is pushing the envelope with respect to forcing contractors to use better quality materials. Specifically, this law affects the following materials: carbon steel rebar, flat glass, mineral wool board insulation and structural steel. It only applies to contractors bidding on state projects, including its substantial state university network.

While it does only apply to state construction jobs, it is estimated that that market alone is worth $10 Billion, so it will have quite an effect on the market.

The way the law will work is that all contractors must submit an Environmental Product Declaration for each product indicating that they have chosen products that have the lowest possible impact on greenhouse gases within its category.  Maximum GHG levels for each category still have to be determined, and the law will go into effect in 2019.

This is a very progressive law and could have the effect of raising standards across the country. Most building material manufacturers located in North America already try to develop products to meet California standards.  The fallout, however, could also be that more inferior products get sucked up by other North American markets if manufacturers feel that they’ve suddenly lost a market in California and push it on other jurisdictions — especially in recent hurricane zones in Texas and Florida.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

::via Smart Cities Dive

Canada’s Greenest Home — One Year Later

March 24th, 2015

Canada's greenest home

Usually once a home is built, the builder hands the keys over to the new owner and unless there’s a problem, the builder moves on to the next project. However, in the case of a straw-bale built home in Peterborough, the home has been lived in for the past year and all water and energy consumed has been recorded. The goal was to see if, in fact, the home is Canada’s greenest home. You can read all about its features in the article I wrote last year. Chris Magwood, director of the Endeavour Centre, whose students built the home emphasizes that it’s not supposed to be a competition, it’s meant to demonstrate that building a green home is achievable using currently available technology that is locally available.

» Read more: Canada’s Greenest Home — One Year Later

Tips on Green Building Materials

February 18th, 2015

Tips on Green Building MaterialsThere are many ways green building materials can be defined, especially when it comes to taking account of their environmental impact and social results. There are quite a few materials being used today, such as engineered lumber, natural earthen materials, biomass building panels, paints with low or non-existent volatile organic compounds inside them, as well as a number of other products manufactured all around the world by companies who focus on protecting the environment and workers all around.

As the years have been going forward, a lot of manufacturers have been getting on the bandwagon concerning green building materials. There is hardly a product today that is not capable of being replaced by a type of environmentally safe and sound alternative, as well as a variety of green materials that only get better and better as time goes by.

» Read more: Tips on Green Building Materials

EuroShield Recycled Rubber Roofing System

December 16th, 2014


Canmore Black Shake

Canmore Black Shake

Euroshield is a rubber roofing product that has been manufactured in Calgary, Alberta for the last 13 years.  It is made from 75% recycled rubber tires and 20% other recycled material for a total of 95% recycled material. Each new roof contains between 250 and 1000 rubber tires, and any scraps produced during installation can be collected and recycled into new product (depending on location).

There are four product lines:

  • EuroSlate, mimics the look of slate. Available in Brownstone, Greystone and Blackstone colours.
  • EuroShake, mimics the look of cedar shakes — available in either the hand split or taper-sawn looks and three colours: weathered brown, grey and black.

Both the EuroSlate and EuroShake are the original products developed by EuroShield. They are about 3/4″ thick at the butt end and interlock using a tongue and groove system. They weigh approximately 3.3lbs/square foot and need no additional truss support.

» Read more: EuroShield Recycled Rubber Roofing System

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