Gifts for the Green Builder in Your Life

December 14th, 2010 by Cathy Rust Leave a reply »

I’ve been browsing through old posts to see if I could come up with any “gift suggestions” for all the green builders out there. There is a definite slant towards practical materials in these posts. I don’t think anyone would be thrilled to see SIPs panels, a bag of insulation or a 3 litre toilet under the tree. But I do think a bucket of all natural iQ cleaners would make a nice house warming gift!

Anyway, I did manage to collect a few products and services out there that might actually appeal to the green building enthusiast in your life. Here are a few of my suggestions:

Kill A Watt EZ

1. The Kill-A-Watt. Are you really surprised by this one? It’s one of my all-time favourite measuring tools. I’ve used it on almost every appliance and gadget we have in our house. It’s straightforward and easy to use and measures the number of watts your computer, TV, iron, toaster, basically whatever you plug into a wall, uses. It’s a great gadget to identify the biggest and smallest energy users in your house.

Available through and other retailers.


Digital Timer Controlled Power Centre: A power bar with 8 grounded outlets, four on a timer and four independent. This power bar has 7 program opportunities and can be set to auto or random. Great for using with lights if you are away. We have our computer and wireless system hooked up to this, so it all turns off at night. (In addition to saving energy, it also stops our teenagers from staying on social web pages until the wee hours of the night.)

Available through Canadian Tire for $24.95

Energy-Wise Landscape Design

Energy-Wise Landscape Design: This is a wonderful and thorough book for the avid gardener in your life. It is not a picture book but rather a comprehensive look at how to landscape your property to lower your energy bills (cooling in summer and heating in winter), and save water. It is meant for any climate zone. The appendices help you with calculating tree height and latitude, as well as plant selection.

Available through $29.95 plus shipping.

A Milk Paint Painting Course: Milk paint is an all natural product that contains no petrochemicals consisting of a mixture of limestone, clay, casein, and natural pigments. It’s a zero VOC product that soaks into surfaces so it never peals or chips. Learning how to mix and apply isn’t difficult, but sometimes it helps to watch someone else do it first, so Homestead House, the only Canadian Milk Paint manufacturer, offers courses in learning how to paint with its product. What a great gift for the do-it-yourselfer! See their Services Page for more information on painting classes.

95 Niagara Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 1C3
(King St W. & Bathurst click for map)


Cork gifts and accessories: Cork is an amazing product with so many different uses. It grows on the cork oak tree in the Mediterranean. The bark can be harvested every 9 years for up to 200 years. At the Cork House in Oakville, the store is overflowing with accessories made from cork. In addition to the flooring I wrote about, there are handmade decorative cushions, cork furniture, both upholstered and wood/cork combinations, cork pads of all kinds, watch staps, cork-bound journals, purses, toilet kits….you get the idea. The store is located in Oakville in the oldest building in Halton Region.


Address: 2441 Neyagawa Blvd. Oakville, ON. L6H 6Y3
Phone: (905) 257-5588
Fax: (905) 257-5589



  1. Cathy says:

    Hi Julie,
    Yes, I know the feeling about being “really unpopular” with respect to electricity consumption. My kids call me a hippy because I make them turn the lights off when the leave a room. Yeesh.

  2. Julie K. says:

    Wow, thanks for posting the tips. I am considering getting the Kill a Watt for Christmas. I do not know for how long I will find it amusing, but definitely at least until I measure all the appliances at home! and another risk is that if I start drawing conclusions about the greatest energy spenders in my family, I may get really unpopular! 🙂
    .-= Julie K.´s last blog ..Christmas Feng-Shuei =-.

  3. Cathy says:

    Hi Terrell,
    I’ve just found another REALLY cool gadget that you will LOVE for travelling and camping! It’s a solar-powered charger that charges your phone, camera, a fan, a flashlight and in its spare time “slices, dices and makes julienne fries.” — kidding about the last part.
    Look at this awesome eGear 5 in 1 Solar Hub. I love it!

  4. Terrell Wong says:

    Cathy where were you 2 days ago when I was looking for eco power bar! will let you know if the one that is traveling across the US at this moment is any good.

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