This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Friday, 31 May 2013


Yesterday, Toronto had it's first "heat alert" day this year and we are still in the month of May; think what June, July and August might be like. I wish I could take a picture of the comfort level in our house. 

Temperature at 6:30 pm

Outside it is 30*C (86*F) inside it is 24*C (75*F) without the use of air-conditioners, cooling systems, or other mechanical means to achieve the temperature difference. How did we do this?

It all relates to the house construction. Our house faces south with massive windows, floor to ceiling in the south wall. You would think all that glass facing south would be a problem. 

South wall 6:30 pm (note overhang)

The secret is the overhang above these windows. It extends the roof out 5 feet which keeps the direct rays out of the house during the summer months. In winter when the sun is lower in the sky, we get the full benefit of the sun to warm the interior of the house.

The massive amount of concrete in the walls and floor help to maintain a constant temperature throughout the year. In winter they absorb the heat from the sun and wood stove and give it back into the house during the night.

In the summer we open the windows at night to allow the cool night breeze into the house which is absorbed by the concrete. During the day this coolness is released back into the house keeping us cool without spending energy to achieve the comfort level.

If you are thinking of building in the next year or two, think ICF, specifically Durisol ICF.

Thanks for stopping by and "stay cool"


  1. hi.Very interesting.My wife and I are planning to build retirement home on Bark Lake.I did a lot of searching on I.C.F.and really like the durisol product.
    We actually made our first big leap and called in Steve Betson to excavate for the basement.We got to talking and he mentioned a few options.Now I have to tell you my wife doesn't like it when I say durisol because of the reaction of various supply store people and design people who have never heard of it.So the look when Steve mentions an icf block that someone used up here on they're off grid home made my day! Steve could not remember what contractor did the foundation.I tried a search and found your site, wow very pleased.I'm hoping we can get in touch .