Call Now 1.800.265.1914

Understanding the Basics of Sustainable Housing

July 05, 2017

sustainable housing green home low environmental impactWith all of the media chatter about sustainable housing, it's often easy to confuse all the terminology and jargon. That's why it's important for a typical homeowner to understand the basics - that way, realistic changes can be made, and viable transformation can take place. Sustainable housing is principally about designing homes that will reduce the overall negative impact on the environment. This includes pre-construction and post-construction home building techniques that will satisfy present-day needs, but without compromising future needs. Some of the basic ideas behind sustainable housing encompass the efficient use of energy, water, land, and other natural resources. As well, there's a focus on dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions; air and water pollution; and anything else that degrades the environment. For a typical homeowner, sustainable housing translates into a home that is energy efficient - a home that provides a high quality living environment, while minimizing energy consumption, and reducing energy waste. They key is applying and implementing wherever possible.

Sustainable Housing and the "Passive House"

While the "Passive House" has been a reality in Europe for many years, Canada is getting quickly on track when it comes to building and construction approaches. Essentially, these houses provide very high performance in terms of energy efficiency - and that includes both airtightness and thermal insulation. A "Passive House" is simply the most cost-efficient house possible. The Passive House is groundbreaking - it demands an innovative approach to building design and construction. With a focus on home energy performance, the Passive House is designed to effectively eliminate heat loss - a major contributor to wasted energy and therefore poor energy efficiency. This is where "super" insulation can make a big difference to a building envelope. Airtightness and ventilation must also be at peak performance in a Passive House. To restrict heat loss and manage air moisture, both must exceed today's conventional construction approaches. In addition, both are essential for ensuring high levels of energy efficiency. The overall idea is to provide the most efficient heating, cooling, and dehumidification possible.

Sustainable Housing and "Net-Zero Energy Housing"

The primary purpose of an Net-Zero Energy (NZE) house is to cut home energy needs and consumption to the minimum. With an in-house renewable energy system, a house can produce energy in an amount that is equal to what is being consumed. The house itself is not "off-grid" - it is linked to public electricity and can supply surplus electricity to the public grid when supply exceeds need. With an NZE house, the energy required from the public grid is offset by the energy produced in house, and over the course of a year, there is actually NET ZERO consumption. Both energy efficiency and energy production are the focus of an NZE home. It all translates into energy conservation, reduced energy-related pollutants, and much reduced greenhouse emissions. NZE homes are high performance homes, offering residential comfort, even when there's a power failure. As for the indoor living environment, an NZE home provides a healthy living space, winter and summer, and without compromising lifestyle needs. In fact, an entire community comprised of NZE homes can have a very substantial positive impact on every aspect of the environment.

Western Ontario

935 Keyes Drive
Woodstock, Ontario
Canada N4V 1C3

Phone: 1-800-265-1914

Fax: (519) 539-7946
TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Muskoka, Haliburton, Northern Ontario

1027 Elwell Park Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Canada P1P 1R1

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Central Ontario

29 Ferndale Industrial Drive
Barrie, Ontario
Canada L4N 9V5

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Greater Toronto Area

2 Guided Court
Etobicoke, ON
M9V 4K6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA East

103 North Port Road
Port Perry, Ontario
Canada L9L 1B2

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

South Central Ontario

450 Industrial Dr,
Toronto (Milton), Ontario
Canada L9T 5A6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Eastern Ontario

1035 Moodie Dr #1,
Nepean, ON
K2R 1H4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Niagara Region

25 Lincoln Ave
St. Catharines, ON
L2P 2C7

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.

Homestars Best of 2021 Award

Best of 2021

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2021.

Homestars Best of 2022 Award

Best of 2022

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2022.


GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Trusted for Over 40 Years

Over 40 Years in Business

At GNI, we service your project with the most experienced staff in the industry. Ongoing professional development is an obsession at GNI and we will not compromise at any level to bring to our customers the very best Installers, Sales Representatives, Customer Care Personnel, Field Superintendents, Estimating and Technical Support to your project.

100% Canadian

100% Canadian

Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

January, 2021 regulatory phaseout of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with the introduction of WALLTITE CM01. Using hydrofluorolefins (HFOs) with lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to HFCs, WALLTITE CM01 is the next generation of spray foam insulation.



Heatlok® Soya HFOTM leverages Honeywell’s latest Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent technology. This new hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agent is the most environmentally conscious blowing agent produced to date, with a zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, which is more than two orders of magnitude (99.9%) lower than HFCs used in this industry.


3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes


Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.


Enbridge Incentives

The Home Efficiency Rebate Plus program offers up to $10,000 in home reno rebates – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.


We are Verified & Bonded by eRenovate. When you choose to proceed with our services through their platform, you receive the gaurantees set forth through their program.

As Seen on Love It or List It

The GNI crew have been featured installing insulation on Love It or List It - have you seen our logo in an episode?

Climatizer Cellulose


CLIMATIZER PLUS cellulose insulation is manufactured from a minimum of 85% locally-sourced post-consumer recycled newsprint. Non-toxic additives are applied to the uniquely fiberized paper generating a building material with superior thermal and acoustic properties, as well as exceptional resistance to fire, moisture, mould and pests.

Please, enter a valid value

Incorrect values!