We’ll be able to heat our entire house with a common hairdryer, Dave boasts. No furnace even in the extreme Southern Ontario weather.
Braden is not the first to promote taking one’s home off the grid, but he is trying to do it in a way that utilizes common building techniques and architectural devices (i.e. not with flushless toilets, buried geothermal lines, and other techniques that are available, but that most observers associate with “treehuggers”). According to Braden
I don’t want to be conveyed as a hippie. I want to get the message to the mainstream. People need to know that in fact there is a great solution sitting right in front of us.
Most homes tend to lose significant amounts of heat due to air exchange. So, the more airtight you can make your home, the more energy efficient it becomes. To overcome “sick home” syndrome, and just to get fresh air, off-the-grid homes do need to have air exchangers (basically, a device that provides air circulation with the outdoors while ensuring that heat stays inside).
The key to Braden’s success at creating a green house is his utilization of the vapour barrier. Rather than putting it near the drywall, he’s located it as close as possible to the inner walls. This avoids puncturing the vapour barrier with drywall screws, fuse boxes, and all sorts of other necessary devices to run a home!
Photos of his home demonstrate the various techniques that he used to ensure minimal heat loss throughout:
- Roof overhangs shade windows along the house, keeping it from overheating in summer while allowing winter sunlight in.
- A heat-recovery air exchanger that allows for fresh air to enter the house while preventing heat loss to the outdoors.
- Home electricity is generated by a wind turbine and solar panels
- Electricity is stored in 16 batteries, providing electricity during the nighttime, as well as on cloudy, windless days
- An on-demand water heater that provides hot water when it is needed, rather than keeping water hot all day long