27 sites that will green your DIY and woodworking projects

Bring your eco-consciousness into your shop and home

By Andrew Gordon

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What, has everything gone green? The Web is rife with slick advertisements for eco-stuff, but how do you know what's the real deal and what's marketing greenwash? To save you time, we've sorted through the bad seeds to find the best DIY- and woodworking-related green sites. Here's what we uncovered.

Green DIY/renovation sites

The Office of Energy Efficiency
OK, so you want to build green, but you also wouldn't mind a few government grants to ease the upgrade costs. This website offers comprehensive details on how to take full advantage of the government-led ecoENERGY program.

Show Me the Green
Similar to the previous link, this site allows you to search for home-improvement rebates and grants across Canada, through federal, provincial and municipal programs.

Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp.
What to do with used up rechargeable batteries? Easy: give them to the RBRC, which collects used rechargeables and old cellphones.

Advance Green Renewable Energy
Canadian Tire, our national hardware stalwart, has a renewable energy site that is a great starting point for information on solar- and wind-powered energy systems. A renewable energy calculator lets you estimate your power needs and cost/return on investment.

Thinking about installing a grey-water recycling or rainwater harvesting system? This site offers information on both, including useful facts on sizing your system.

Light House Sustainable Building Centre
This B.C.-based site offers a superb listing of green products for your next home-reno project: everything from appliances and lighting to doors, flooring, windows-you name it, it's here.

Whether you're building a new house, moving or renovating an existing home, consider hiring a green inspector to analyse where energy is being lost and how to make the home more efficient. What's more, this process qualifies for federal grants under the ecoENERGY program.

CMHC's Solar Power Page
Everything you ever wanted to know about photovoltaic solar power, including a useful buyer's guide.

BC Hydro's Energy Saving Page
BC Hydro put together a page with techniques and quick tips for reducing everyday energy usage, including no-cost tips and more than 50 to-dos for quick savings.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
Green roofs create oxygen, reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, absorb rainwater and are virtually maintenance-free. What's more, they're suitable for flat or sloped roofs.

Our Power
Some provinces not only allow homeowners the ability to generate their own power, but also the capacity to sell it back as credit toward electricity bills. This Toronto-based site explains this process, including its costs and roadblocks.

Kohler Water Conservation Page
Kohler Canada offers water-saving tips as well as a water calculator that tabulates how much water you use compared to other similarly sized homes.

The Living Home
This portal site offers a bevy of information for homeowners, including a detailed breakdown on the types and benefits of green insulation.

While many manufacturers claim their product is “green,” only those certified under the EcoLogo program can claim third-party certification across Canada. This site allows you to view such products according to category.

Canadian Wood Recycling Directory
Looking for salvaged building materials for your next project? This site offers listings of retailers by province.

FSC Canada Certified Lumber
Build projects using wood harvested from sustainable forests certified by the Canadian Forest Stewardship Council. This site also offers links to retailers who carry FSC building materials.

Old Woodworking Tools
Just because a tool is old doesn't mean it's useless. Many old, antique tools still perform well, and that's what this site is about: providing details-including tool manuals-for old woodworking machines and hand tools.

Old House Parts
Salvaged antique hardware and other house fixtures make smart additions to any woodworking project. This site focuses on hardware that ranges from the 18th century through to the early 20th century, including old doors, windows and other construction equipment.

Battery Buyer
Buying a new cordless-tool battery tends to be as expensive as buying a whole new tool, which is why this site is so great: it trades in replacement rechargeable batteries and allows you to search by tool brand and battery size.

Eco-House Natural Products
This New Brunswick—based company sells wood finishes made from natural sources, such as tree resin and beeswax.

Homestead House Paint Co.
Finding VOC-free latex paint is easy these days, but why not go one step further and finish your projects with authentic, all-natural milk paint?

Cariboo Blades Handmade Tools and Knifes
Don't just build with reclaimed materials, build using them, too. This B.C.-based site sells hand-forged woodworking tools made from salvaged materials and high-quality carbon steel.

Canadian Model Forest Network
Canada is home to more than 425,000 privately owned woodlots, many of which provide home-grown, sustainable lumber for woodworkers. This site helps you by providing listings of woodlot owners across Canada.

Made from more than 50 per cent post-consumer waste (the FSC-certified version is 100 per cent post-consumer waste), this paper-based building material is impervious to water, scratch resistant and hard enough to build furniture with.

Kirei Board
Made from reclaimed sorghum plant stalks, this engineered product is heat-pressed with a non-toxic adhesive to form lightweight, strong, surprisingly beautiful boards suitable for fine furnituremaking.

CMHC's Indoor Air Quality Page
Is your shop polluted? If you're housing old paints and finishes or engineered wood products, the chances are you're inhaling more than dust. CMHC gives the lowdown on indoor air on this informative site.

Blueridge Premium Wood Products
This Vancouver company provides useful information on building with bamboo veneer and panels. Why bamboo? It looks great, has similar building properties to hardwood, and is sustainable (bamboo regenerates itself in months).

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