Global warming, deforestation, acid rain, plastic microbeads, oil spill, blue-green algae, ozone hole, endangered species, destruction of ecosystems, heat islands, public health problems … is not the environmental problems that are lacking at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Do you plan to do ecological renovations? Here are 10 tips to get there.
1. Get rid of one’s prejudices
According to RénoVert, there are five great myths that limit the way we perceive the ecological renovation that yet contains a multitude of possibilities.
Green renovation projects are complex and require specialized services, such as geothermal, grey water recovery, etc. In fact, there are several simple ways to make your project greener. It is only necessary to opt for a paint without VOC, for more efficient windows or for a tap which allows a reduced consumption of water;
Green products are inferior to standard products in terms of quality and reliability. In fact, compared to traditional products, ecological products are of equal quality, or even higher;
Green products are much more expensive than standard products. In fact, renovation projects generate two types of costs: labour and materials. Whether your project is green or not, the cost of labour remains the same. As for green materials, their price is often similar to that of traditional products. Some environmentally friendly products are 10 to 15% more expensive, but this slight difference in price is very often offset by energy savings and value added to your home;
Renovation does not have a major impact on the environment, so it is not worthwhile to undertake a green project. According to the Quebec Association of Home Builders, the construction sector accounts for 20% of primary energy consumption. This sector is responsible for 20 to 25% of landfill waste and 5 to 12% of water consumption. Low as a percentage, but exorbitant compared to the damage to the environment, especially if we can reduce this impact by using known green solutions.
Wood is wood! In fact, there are several varieties of wood. Make sure the trees have been slaughtered responsibly by relying on certification. You can also use bamboo. It is a mature herb in as little as seven years that grows anywhere without fertilizer and releases more than 35% oxygen into the air.
2. Adopt the “3Rs”: reduce, reuse, recycle
Have you got rid of your prejudices? Although opting for ecology has an impact on the cost of renovations and the choice of materials to purchase, sustainable development is above all an attitude to take in relation to its consumption habits. The “3R” approach consists of three actions that you must repeat as a mantra of wellness: reduce, reuse and recycle.
The reduction, since the best waste for the environment, is one that is not produced. This action requires responsible production and thinking about our production and consumption choices by targeting non-polluting and recoverable products. For renovation, ask yourself if you can not keep some items instead of refurbishing everything? In some cases, changing everything allows you to do other types of savings, such as water or energy. The important thing is to see all the possibilities before giving the green light for a renovation project.
The reuse, since the waste Some make others happy. This action is to put back into use a consumed product and give a new life to this object. We can think of the third economy: organization of a garage sale, restoration of clothing in thrift stores, use of used paint, manufacture of new objects with old objects, as well as the consumption of food products whose date of sale. expiry is exceeded by a few days. For renovation, consider re-use by referring to the companies of recovery and resale of materials.
The recycling since our waste of resources. This action consists of taking into account that our waste is a resource by reviving the material while avoiding or reducing the use of new materials. What will you do with your renovation waste, your remaining paint, etc.?
3. Use financial aid for ecological renovations
You apply the “3Rs” in your consumption habits, but doing renovations on your home requires more than good intentions. Since society as a whole benefit from sustainable development, a series of financial incentives are available for your green renovations.
At the municipal level, some cities offer additional financial support for existing grants. In Montréal, there are several programs related to property acquisition, renovation programs, foundation stabilization, urban family housing, adapted housing for seniors, home adaptations for the disabled, social and community housing. In Quebec, an assistance program is offered in various areas, including the environment and the residential building. In Laval, several programs are offered in connection with: the barrel of rainwater recovery, the domestic composter, the low-flow toilet and work in older neighbourhoods. There are similar programs in other cities in Quebec, and for the rural community, the Quebec Housing Corporation (SHQ) offers a renovation assistance program of up to 95% of the cost, without exceeding $ 12,000.
At the provincial level, Revenu Québec renewed the Renovert renovation tax credit for 2018-2019. This program is offered to homeowners and involves renovations to their main home. Only a recognized contractor should carry out the work as a result of an agreement entered into after March 31, 2017, and before 1 st April 2018. The credit reimburses 20% of the expenses incurred in renovation, from an investment of $ 2 500 and for up to $ 10,000. Consult the list of recognized eco-friendly renovation projects.
In addition, there are several programs for energy efficiency (Rénoclimat, Éconologis, Green Heating, ENERGY STAR), for energy-efficient appliances (Recyc-Frigo, Frigoresponsable), as well as offered by financial institutions (Green Home Offer and HypothÉco Ecological Recognition Program with Desjardins, Scotiabank Ecovia Program, and Green Home Value Green Mortgage with TD Canada Trust).
To find out more about the financial assistance programs available for green renovations:
4. Take inspiration from large-scale green projects
Finding out about major green projects is very inspiring as these buildings incorporate new technologies, contribute to an environmental cause, and lead you to understand the role you play in green renovations.
In Montréal, in the Quartier des spectacles, the Maison du développement durable is the first building certified LEED PLATINUM New construction in Quebec. The five-storey building was erected after nearly ten years of hard work thanks to the dedication and commitment of dedicated partners who continue to share a vision, ideas, financing and business networking. With the aim of “building the future without mortgaging it”, this building serves as a model and reference for all those interested in protecting the environment in construction. Why not go there? Guided group tours are organized, as well as offering an interpretive tour of the self-guided building.
In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, the “Masdar City” is under construction. This “eco-city” with an area of 6 km2 plans to welcome 52,000 inhabitants to adopt a way of life guided by renewable energies, a low carbon transport network and a zero waste strategy.
All the buildings are surmounted by photovoltaic cells to capture the solar energy and the moucharabiehs or the plastic films of the facades help to fight against the hot heats. During the day, the desert city is cool thanks to a wind tower erected on the central square that sucks the hot wind from its summit and returns fresh air through its base via a misting system.
The building meets all the criteria of environmental excellence: temperature regulation thanks to a façade that avoids direct radiation, limited water consumption, reduced carbon emissions by a third, etc., reports the French daily Le Monde.
Take a look at Europe, German and Dutch architectural projects more specifically. From the green projects of the 1970s, using solar panels and recycled materials, a new generation of architects has developed the definition of sustainable design, according to the American newspaper The New York Times. In the United States, buildings use three times more energy than their equivalent in Germany.
5. Use the resources available to you
If the House of Sustainable Development, the Masdar City and German and Dutch green architecture projects are prototypes that advance small-scale ecological upgrades, a wealth of resources are available.
Note that Quebec is the province with the most LEED homes in Canada, according to statistics released by Écohabitation in February 2016. The LEED rating system for homes is an internationally recognized mark of excellence. In addition to being Canada’s most experienced service provider, Écohabitation offers the French language assessment service.
6. Hire a green architect
Some renovation projects require the expertise of an architect. Integrating the architecture of your home into its environment is another avenue to make your home more environmentally friendly. L’Actualité magazine interviewed Quebec architects who have proven themselves for sustainable development.
What is architecture for you?
“We do architecture as we solve a multivariate equation, which are specific to the project: the sun rises on this side, the view is there, the budget is so much, the customer likes to cook and hear the noise. The brook … A multitude of factors allow us to invent the house “, responded the architect Paul Bernier.
What does architecture need in Quebec?
“From an overall plan to create greater cohesion. We tend to build a small piece of highway here, a portion of a bike path there, without really knowing where we are going. We need to better assemble all the pieces of the puzzle and, above all, give back to the creators. Our vision of architecture projects still too rooted in the 1960s than in the XXI the century, “said architect Pierre Thibault.
What are the worst mistakes that can be made in architecture?
“We must avoid fashions and magazine architecture, that is to say, the one that does not care about its context and whose sole purpose is to appear in a publication by coup d’éclat. A consumable architecture in a short time that will look good on paper … but ridiculous in its real context. Also, as in any other form of art, it is essential to avoid copying and pasting rather privilege true coherent compositions “, responded the architects Loukas Yiacouvakis and Marie-Claude Hamelin of YH2.
Is architecture accessible to everyone?
“The proportions of a room, like the quality of light and materials, can produce a pleasant sensation, whether in a private or public building. I think the vast majority of people can take advantage of the architectural quality of a building, “said architect Natalie Dionne.
What are the most common misconceptions about architecture?
“It’s expensive. The cost of departure is naturally higher than if you buy a series of house plans for $ 1,000 in a catalogue. But it will not take into account the needs and lifestyle of the client! The architecture is closely linked to the terrain, the topography, the race of the sun, the direction of the wind. It seems absurd to design a house for a given place and use the same plan elsewhere without taking into account the characteristics of this new environment, “said architect Gabriel Rousseau.
What are your wildest dreams when it comes to architecture?
“Lastly, we must make a contribution to our lives, and dedicate the energy and financial effort needed to develop it rather than hiring the lowest bidders. No one has asked to build a tendering system that promotes banality … “, responded co-founders Claude Provencher and Michel Roy.
7. Use eco-materials
According to Cohabitation, we consume about 1 kg of food every day, drink 3 kg of liquid and breathe up to 17 kg of air, which makes us vulnerable to pollutant uptake. Ubiquitous in our environment, pollutants are thought to be responsible for the increase in the number of cases of asthma, leukaemias, brain tumours and various cancers over the last 20 years. This number has doubled and even tripled in some cases. The 2013 Ecotoxicochemistry of Hydrocarbons study states that global chemical production increased from 1 million tonnes to more than 400 million tonnes from 1930 to 2000. Selecting eco materials is part of the solution to avoid exposure to these chemicals. pollutants.
According to LaPresse, it is advisable to opt for the following materials:
Wood fibre board: a material made of wood chips ideal for cutting thermal bridges, covering half-timbered walls. It replaces the polystyrene panel, from petrochemicals, non-recyclable and less likely to diffuse moisture;
Glass-plastic tile: material consisting of plastic grocery bags and selective collection glass dotted with porcelain debris takes the form of slabs and pavers;
Recycled plastic board: material consisting of containers of shampoo, laundry, juice, milk, yoghurt, etc. you drop in your green recycling bin. Very durable and low maintenance, this building material is suitable for the realization of patios;
Wool of wood or textile fibre: A material made of wood chips in the form of insulating wool mats that sequesters carbon and does not contaminate the frame of the house as does polyurethane spray. There are other types of mats made from hemp and linen textile fibres, mattress weaved cellulose and sheep’s wool, which would replace glass wool and Rockwool.
8. Do not smoke hemp, this material!
In addition to the product that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks to legalize in Canada as of October 17, 2018, the hemp plant, whose solid fibre is already used to make rope, is used as a building material.
According to an article by La Presse, the technique practised by Anthony Néron d’Art du Hemp and by Gabriel Gauthier of ArtCan consists in isolating the hemp walls and ceilings before finishing them with lime. Today, they each have about a hundred houses to their credit, renovated or built completely in hemp. If it does not stand out by its insulating value, a value of R25 when the value R24 is required by the Building Code, hemp is chosen for its thermal mass.
This material has the capacity to store the temperature, hot or cold, and to irradiate it. In addition, it helps to manage moisture. “While the only function of the ordinary wall is a barrier, hemp will further regulate the temperature and manage moisture. All year long, the house is very stable. It will stay at 21 degrees Celsius without being energy intensive, “says Anthony Nero.
According to another La Presse article, a Montreal landlord appealed to Anthony Néron during the renovation of his home. The latter suggested he use hemp concrete blocks rather than opt for traditional insulation.
Handcrafted, these blocks represent a clean and healthy method that, in addition to being durable, helps regulate the temperature in the house all year round. Once the insulation was finished, Anthony Néron covered the walls without using gypsum. “It’s a lime and sand finish, troweled,” he says.
Thus, the surface is less uniform than gypsum but has a richer texture. “It’s a bit like watching a cloud. It is nuanced, there is depth … “, continues the craftsman.
“They are handmade walls, they are all handmade. They are not perfect, those walls, and that’s what’s beautiful, “says the satisfied owner.
9. Save the water!
Some climate sceptics may try to make you believe that with the melting of ice at the ends of the globe, humanity will have access to more drinking water. Nothing is more false since the sea currents that regulate the temperature of the waters will slow down to the point of ceasing their cycle around the globe, transforming the oceans into a mass of stagnant water. Even though Quebec and Canada have a vast network of lakes and rivers, it is important not to waste this vital resource for all of humanity.
According to the Environment Quality Act (EQA), recalls Écohabitation, it is mandatory to treat wastewater before “release” in the natural environment because these waters are loaded with microorganisms, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. These uncontrolled releases disrupt ecosystems and pollute the environment, as well as posing a potential health hazard.
In the city, this action is provided by the municipal network via a mains drainage system: all harvested water is sent to a treatment plant, called “collective sanitation”. However, if you live in a rural area or a small community, there is likely to be no municipal service. An installation must, therefore, treat and evacuate wastewater on your own property.
According to Écohabitation, every Quebecer consumes 380 litres of drinking water a day, more than a third of which is found directly in the washroom. As a result, one of the most effective ways to reduce drinking water consumption in your home is to replace your high-volume toilet for a very low-flow model.
This change will result in energy savings in the water heater, pumping and water treatment at the plant. In Quebec, the production of one cubic meter of drinking water costs on average $ 1.51. Thus, water savings of 20% could save $ 2 billion over 20 years.
10. Think about the green roof
You have probably heard the term “heat island”. According to Ecohabitation, this is a problem caused by the massive amount of urban infrastructure: roads, parking lots, buildings and their roofs made of impervious materials such as asphalt and concrete.
Having a low reflective capacity, these materials store a lot of energy during the day and then return it in the form of heat. Thus, the temperature of these areas is much higher, up to 12 degrees higher. This phenomenon causes public health problems and an increase in energy consumption.
With the green roof, you cover areas of greenery that contribute to heat islands, effectively tempering the building, acting as a buffer zone, cooling the summer and insulating the winter.
In addition to fighting heat islands, the green roof reduces rainwater run-off and sewer congestion. With its plants and its more or less thick substrate, it captures volatile dust, increases the urban areas of culture and offers new habitats for birds, butterflies and bees.