Why Are There So Few Women in Trades?

Shawna HendersonMarch 08, 2024

Given my experience on site, echoed by nearly every single woman I know professionally, and the continued gender split that is taught from preschool on, it's no wonder women still make up a small proportion of the construction workforce. And that’s a problem for the industry. A serious one that is partially feeding into the looming jobs vacuum.

HARD TO FIND: A Path To Business Success For Contractors Turned Owners

Shawna HendersonMarch 06, 2024

Can a Tradeperson or Contractor Successfully Transition to Business Owner? The simple answer is yes. The reality is: it's hard, but not in the way you think it might be. You're not a dummy. You're smart and clever. You've already proven that. You have already mastered a whole vocabulary of...

Forecasting Trouble: Why Attic Rain is More Than Just Bad Weather

Shawna HendersonFebruary 18, 2024

It’s February and we’ve just had another seasonal round of chocolates and hearts. Now it’s time for a shower of  ‘attic rain’ articles. Attic rain happens in cold climates, in the depths of winter. Attic rain happens when the exterior temperature warms up suddenly - like when there’s a Chinook...

Greener Homes! Let’s Goooooo!!!

Shawna HendersonFebruary 13, 2024

Great news: the Greener Homes Initiative $5000 Grant is a fantastic success! Since the launch of the Greener Homes Program, the number of certified energy advisors has nearly doubled and home retrofit projects have increased four-fold.  According to the federal announcement, over 165,000 homeowners have received their $5000, and the...

Why New Siding is a HUGE Missed Opportunity in Residential Energy Retrofits

Shawna HendersonNovember 20, 2023

So let’s talk about exterior insulation retrofits and how they are a relatively easy project to add into a job where it's time to replace the cladding, but we can't track how many jobs have insulation added, or how much/how well it's installed. Right off the bat, it’s most cost effective to add insulation to the outside of the house and to replace windows at the same time as recladding. This is the point at which we can make the biggest difference in the long-term durability, comfort and energy performance for the homeowner. As incentive programs are often based on single measures, these two integral upgrades are often disconnected.

7 Must-Haves for a Hot House Makeover: Unveiling the Ideal Candidate for an Exterior Insulation Retrofit

Shawna HendersonNovember 09, 2023

A good time to do an exterior insulation retrofit is when it’s time to replace the siding or cladding. The best time is to do it when it’s time to replace the siding AND the windows. The best time to replace windows is when the siding needs to be replaced. Cladding, windows, roof. Replacement time means improvement time. Timing is everything. Not just for deferred maintenance, but also for the owner’s monthly budget.

The Big Risk Reduction Program: Canada's Low-Income Oil Heat to Heat Pump Program

Shawna HendersonNovember 02, 20232 comments

The federal government announced and has implemented a program where low income households can actually get the full cost of the heat pump and removing the oil furnace/tank covered. It’s been launched in Atlantic Canada. Why Atlantic Canada? For a program getting household off oil heat? Where better? Let me sing you my song about Atlantic Canada's perfect storm of housing issues: We have some of the oldest housing stock in the country We have some of the highest energy prices in the country We have the lowest median income We have the highest median income tax We have a large population of households on fixed income We have no access to cheap natural gas We have a higher than average rate of energy poverty Why only fund low-income households that use oil heat? What about low-income households heated by natural gas or electricity? Oil heat is expensive. I'm not sure that folks who live and work in gas- or electricity-dominated markets really get exactly how expensive. And there are other financial risk factors that need to be addressed when it comes to oil heat that don't apply to households using other energy sources.

The Importance of Whole House Energy Retrofits in Canada

Shawna HendersonOctober 20, 2023

As the demand for housing continues to grow, it is more important than ever to prioritize energy efficiency and sustainability in residential construction and renovation. Whole house energy retrofits play a crucial role in meeting these goals, while also addressing the need for resiliency in the face of climate change and upcoming regulatory changes.

Transforming Homes for a Sustainable Future

Shawna HendersonOctober 18, 20231 comment

In partnership with Built Green Canada, the Whole House Energy Retrofit course offers an exciting opportunity for individuals to upgrade their skills and stay ahead of the game in the construction and energy efficiency industry. Participants will learn the 'Envelope First' approach to energy retrofitting, gaining expertise in assessing energy use, investigating and addressing building science challenges, and tackling heating/cooling upgrades. They will also explore the importance of developing a whole house retrofit plan.

Energy Advisor Exams: How to Answer Multi-Choice Questions

Shawna HendersonAugust 24, 2023

The Energy Advisor Exams are challenging. Time is limited, there's a lot of questions, and test anxiety is a real thing that can trip you up. Sometimes it's difficult to see the correct set of answers in a multi-choice exam question. When you are taking an exam or practicing for one, and you get stumped, about a list of options, ask yourself: which of these are simple facts? 

The Energy Advisor Exams: How to Overcome the Top 5 Challenges

Shawna HendersonAugust 22, 2023

While preparing for energy advisor exams may present challenges, there are solutions available to overcome them. Seek guidance, opt for flexible study programs, find comprehensive and up-to-date resources, build confidence through practice and support, and look for cost-effective options. By addressing these challenges head-on, you can enhance your exam preparation and increase your chances of success. Good luck!

Vapour Diffusion Retarders are Better than Vapour Barriers

Shawna HendersonAugust 09, 2023

In cold climates, the vapour retarder is installed on the warm side – typically directly behind the drywall. This location prevents the warm and relatively humid air from traveling into the wall where it may condense. But here’s the thing: Building scientists agree that the use of vapour impermeable retarders or barriers are not always necessary and in fact can be a poor strategy in all except the coldest climates such as northern Canada and Alaska. This is because the use of vapour impermeable barriers has two significant flaws:

3 Characteristics of a High Performance Building Process

Shawna HendersonAugust 04, 2023

A high performance process for building high performance houses has 3 key characteristics: Integrated Design Process (IDP) Construction Quality Management Commissioning The best practice for building a high performance house is to make all the decisions about energy conservation measures during the design stage. This is the least expensive and most cost-effective part of the process. Decisions can be revisited based on energy modelling and costing before construction begins. This results in a package that works for the builder and for the homeowner.