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Make a Wooden Cutting Board workshop

Saturday, July 16, 2016
9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Endeavour Centre, Peterborough

Instructor: Annie Murphy

Learn the basics of woodworking during this 1-day introductory workshop. We’ll walk you through the basics of working with wood, hand and power tools and you’ll discover the joy of woodworking as you complete a take-home project. We’ll go over the major shop tools (jointer, planer, table-saw, chop-saw, router, bandsaw), show you how to use them safely and discuss what to consider when buying tools. Each participant will build a unique cutting board and we’ll go over wood finishing products and all the non-toxic, healthy options out there.

Entry Requirements
Open to all

Fee
Early Bird – $125
Regular – $150
Includes healthy lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available)

Maximum class size: 12

2016 Workshop Schedule

Join us for a great natural building experience!

Endeavour’s 2016 workshop schedule is our most extensive ever! We’ve kept all our perennial favourites, and we’ve added lots more. We’ve also lowered a lot of our prices!

Click here to see the full schedule.

Ecological Building: From Fringe to Almost-Mainstream, 1996-2016

Maybe the Weirdoes Weren’t So Weird After All

2016 marks the 20th year since the idea of building houses with straw bales completely transformed my life. Back in 1996, I wanted to build a home for my family that would achieve two seemingly simple goals:

  1. The home would make our lives financially sustainable by being affordable to build and having very low operating costs
  2. We’d have a smaller impact on the environment than conventional practices

While these were not particularly radical or even new goals, they certainly weren’t ones that we shared with many other people at the time. Our decision to go ahead and build the first code-permitted straw bale home in Ontario was met with many more quizzical looks or outright expressions of derision than interest or congratulations. Almost all of our reasons for building a low-cost, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home where met with the question, “Why?”

cooper straw installation

Straw bales almost tripled the code requirements for wall insulation in 1996.

You’re Using R-What?
Then: The notion of insulating a home was well accepted by that time (and even mandated by the building code), but the notion of using anything more than the low code minimum was largely seen as excessive. No insulation was required for basements or under slabs, and air tightness was only being discussed in whispers. The R-2000 program had been around for a while, but even many of its proponents thought the idea of a straw bale wall’s R-40 (or so was the number used at the time) and our plans for R-48 in the roof was kind of overkill. The most receptive audience for the kind of energy efficiency promised by straw bale building was among individual homeowners eager, like us, to greatly reduce or even eliminate heating bills from our monthly overhead, effectively “buying” us a degree of freedom from financial burden.

Now: This is the one area in which conventional building has started to wholeheartedly adopt the strategies of the early green builders. The building code is on a planned pathway to ever-higher levels of insulation and energy efficiency, including targets for improved air tightness. There are numerous voluntary standards to encourage homeowners and builders to exceed code minimum efficiency (such as LEED for Homes and Energy Star), and software programs for modeling energy efficiency. The Passive House standard, nearly unthinkable back in 1996, is gaining traction and showing what’s possible when energy efficiency is taken really seriously. It won’t be long before straw bale walls at R-30 barely meet code requirements, and must already be exceeded to meet the higher standards. It has never been so easy to build a truly energy efficient home.

cooper frame

Recycling old barn timbers was just one strategy to lower the environmental impact.

Environmental Impact from Buildings?
Then: Even less understandable at the time was the urge to build with less of an “ecological footprint.” Even the term itself, which seems to have surfaced in 1992 (coined by Canadian ecologist and University of British Columbia professor William Rees), was unusual at the time, and the notion that choices regarding building materials could have a huge impact on the planet was just starting to be raised as an issue. The fledgling US Green Building Council, formed in 1993, was at the forefront of bringing this issue to light in North America… but nobody was really paying attention. And the idea that these environmental impacts could include climate change due to the high carbon output in the harvesting and production of building materials was nowhere on the public awareness radar.

Now: While there is still a long way to go to remedy the vast impacts that our building materials have on the environment, the problem is at least recognized and seems likely to start to be addressed seriously in the near future. An ever-growing body of data (ICE, EcoInvent, Green Footstep) can help to quantify environmental impacts, embodied energy and, of recent government and citizen concern, carbon footprint. I spent a year of my life writing a book called Making Better Buildings that presents data for a wide range of conventional and green building approaches. It is much easier now than ever before to have an understanding of the impact a building will have on the environment and make informed choices to minimize these impacts. Not many are making these choices, but the groundwork exists and government encouragement to make them seems likely. Advocates for materials like straw bale had a sound argument to make in 1996, and it finally seems to be catching the ear of the wider culture just now.

cooper solar gear

Home made solar thermal collectors and a cobbled PV system allowed for energy independence.

Renewable Energy?
Then: Our decision to go “off-grid” with our straw bale home wasn’t part of our original plan. But the high cost of hooking up to the grid mixed with a rapidly dwindling budget led us to live our first year or two in the home with no electricity other than a car battery hooked to the water pump. Surprised by the lack of discomfort (ample hot water came from solar collectors and a woodstove jacket), we were able to approach the idea of designing an off-grid electrical system as a way to provide “luxuries” like reading lights, a stereo and laptop computer use. Starting small, the system grew over time to include photovoltaic panels, wind and micro hydro. It was far from the slick systems that are readily available (and less expensive) today, but it met our needs and awakened my interest in examining conventional use of household energy and how high levels of personal comfort could come from vastly reduced consumption. From refrigerators that use cold air in the winter time to augment electric compressors to forays into early forms of LED lighting, the potential for minimizing needs without sacrificing amenities became a passion.

Now: The incredible drop in cost for photovoltaic panels has put renewables on a nearly even footing with fossil fuel energy… Incredible, considering the high levels of subsidies given to fossil fuels versus renewables. Here in Ontario, the MicroFIT program makes it financially prudent to put green energy onto the utility grid, and similar programs exist around North America. Energy storage is a top priority among researchers, with new battery technologies and systems beginning to make it to market. The distinction between being on- and off-grid could get blurry in the next decade as shared distribution of renewable energy on the grid combines with household storage capacity to re-shape household power solutions. This is one area where there are both improvements in the technology and more widespread adoption than twenty years ago. Codes, however, do not address these issues at all.

C&J's dining room

Non-toxic finishes were difficult to find, and often ended up being home made.

Sick Buildings and Healthy Materials?
Then: The World Health Organization coined the term “sick building syndrome” in 1984, as part of a study that found that over 30% of new or newly renovated buildings were the subject of health complaints by the occupants. The International Institute of Building Biologie and Ecology was formed in 1987. Not many people were listening. But this did not stop academic and lay researchers from questioning the ever-growing number of untested chemicals being combined in our building materials and wondering about the health impacts on building occupants. Those few who were concerned with this issue did not have a wide selection of commercially available products identified as being non-toxic to choose from. Homemade finishes were one important means of having control over what went into a building.

Now: Though an increasing volume and quality of research is showing the negative health effects of toxins in our buildings, this is an area has made very little headway into the mainstream. This despite the fact that we all have a vested interest in living and working in non-toxic buildings.

Small companies began to surface in the early 2000s dedicated to producing building materials free from proven or potentially toxic compounds. While few of these have mainstream distribution channels, it is entirely possible to build an entire house that has no or very little questionable chemical content. Programs like Declare and Cradle-to-Cradle ask manufacturers to fully disclose the ingredients for their building products, and the Living Building Challenge and other programs have chemical red lists to help homeowners and builders avoid potential toxins. There is no recognition of material toxicity in codes.

Low Cost Options
Then: A more regulated residential building sector was just a gleam in regulator’s eyes in 1996. The pathways for owner-builders to pursue innovative projects were less cluttered with requirements, and builders could operate much more informally, outside the scope of prescriptions, taxation and regulation. This meant that several layers of cost did not necessarily have to be borne by a project budget then. Building wasn’t exactly cheap twenty years ago, but the possibilities for building less expensively were there to be pursued.

Now: More regulations that are more strictly enforced have definitely raised building costs over the last two decades. And building material costs have risen at a rate that has exceeded general inflation. Many decades of treating real estate as short-term investment have raised land and building costs, making the cost of projects higher. Development charges, service fees, an increasing reliance on engineering approval and a more formalized scenario for builders have all put upward pressure on costs. It is more difficult than ever to build affordably, so even though the costs of building greener are well within the parameters of conventional costs, those conventional costs are increasingly out of the ability of a typical family to afford. There is no way my family and I could have acted on our 1996 dream if we were in the same position now in 2016. And that is saddening.

Everyone is Coming Down This Path
The forefront of ecological building is still a long way away from mainstream practice. But it’s not nearly as far away as it was twenty years ago; not a result of the leading edge practitioners being less adventurous or pushing less at the boundaries… rather, it’s the mainstream starting to pay attention. It may be a bit like watching a brontosaurus slowly turn its head to acknowledge an annoying bite on its tail, but it is starting to turning around.

Energy efficiency got the construction sector’s attention first. Material impacts on the environment (especially carbon) are increasingly gaining notice, and action on this front is likely in the near future. It won’t be long before occupant health likewise finds active proponents in government and industry, and the presence of toxins in the built environment begins to be treated as seriously as it should.

As I watch the behemoth slowly react, it seems worthwhile to acknowledge that, as with so much social change, the changes start on the fringe with creative thinkers and early adopters acting well outside the mainstream. It turns out that the weirdoes in 1996 were onto something, and that something is looking more and more like it makes “common” sense!

Green & Healthy Home Renovation series

Greening Your Kitchen & Bathroom
– Tuesday, March 1

Improving Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
– Tuesday, March 8

Choosing Healthy Paints, Finishes & Flooring
– Tuesday, March 15

All presentations 6 pm to 9 pm
Endeavour Centre, Peterborough

Instructor: Chris Magwood

Are you looking to renovate your home in a greener, healthier way? There is so much conflicting information out there it can be hard to know what to do.

Don’t get your information from a salesman!
This series of evening presentations gives you a chance to learn about a wide range of options from an unbiased source – long-time sustainable builder Chris Magwood. As the author of the book Making Better Buildings, Chris has made a name for himself for giving good, well-researched and honest advice to home owners about how to make the right green choices to meet their own unique goals.

 

See and experience a wide range of options
Not only will you learn about how to assess and choose green building options, the Endeavour Centre classroom is a living laboratory of green building and you will be able to see and experience samples of materials, systems and products.

Affordable and practical green solutions
Most people think that renovating in a green and healthy way will cost them a lot more money, but that’s not necessarily the case. The Green Renovation Series offers practical advice and a real focus on affordability to help you meet your goals on your budget.

Get answers to your questions
Each presentation will include a generous amount of question-and-answer time, allowing you to get specific advice on your own projects. A hand-out will be included to help you source all the materials and systems discussed during the workshop.

Put 20 years of green building knowledge to work for you
Finding out how to make choices that are healthy for you and your family and for the planet is a lot less difficult than you might think. Each of these 3-hour presentations is lively, engaging and informative. Come to any one of the presentations for just $25, or come to all three for just $60.

Entry requirements
Open to all

Fee
Each presentation – $25
Attend all three for just $60

Net Zero Energy Certification Course

June 18-19, 2016

November 12-13, 2016
9 am – 5 pm, both days
Endeavour Centre, Peterborough

Note: This workshop is being offered twice in 2016. Be sure to register for the correct date.

Instructor: Ross Elliott

Workshop Description:

Developed in alignment with Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s incoming national Net Zero Certification program, this workshop is the first of its kind to deliver value and market advantage to builders interested in the next generation of programs. This workshop also satisfies R-2000 Builder Training requirements.

This information-packed workshop will provide you with:

  • A market advantage by being among the first in Canada to receive Net Zero Training
  • Unparalleled building science technical preparation for building Net Zero and Net Zero Ready homes based on the incoming CHBA Net Zero protocol
  • The ability to efficiently design and plan for the incoming Net Zero certification requirements
  • Practical understanding of how to build homes to Net Zero standards using cost-effective technologies which are already available
  • Training and support to successfully market and sell a Net Zero home by one of Canada’s most seasoned experts
  • Entry to a community of builders who will be receiving ongoing, practical information on the development of the program, including support from EnerQuality’s administrative and Quality Assurance team
  • Net Zero R-2000 Training Manual for use during the workshop and for future reference
  • A complimentary home enrolment, for either Net Zero or R-2000* from Canada’s #1 certifier of energy efficient homes
  • Recognition as an R-2000 Trained builder and/or maintain your access status
  • Certificate Recognition of your training and expertise

Topics Include

  • Standard Building Science Principles
  • Air Barrier Systems
  • Windows
  • Foundations
  • Advanced Construction
  • Air-Sealing Techniques
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Marketing
  • R-2000 Quality Assurance Process Overview
  • Part of the Builder’s R-2000 licensing requirements
  • The first step on the road to becoming an R-2000 trained and Net Zero qualified builder

Entry Requirement
Open to all

Fee

Early bird – $745
Regular – $795
Fees include healthy lunch (vegan and vegetarian options available)

Compressed Earth Block Workshop

Sunday, April 24, 2016
9.30 am – 5.00 pm
Cold Springs, Ontario

Instructors: Chris Magwood & Henry Wiersma

Workshop Description:

Learn how to work with locally-made, low-impact, durable compressed earth blocks (CEB, or rammed earth blocks) for foundations, exterior walls and interior walls.

CEB building is a low-tech building solution using basic materials and simple tools. Drawing on the age-old technique of rammed earth building, CEB uses a hydraulic press to create unfired earthen blocks.

CEB construction can often use site soils as the basis for the rammed earth mix, or local gravel, sand, clay (or other binders) can be used.

 

In this workshop you will see how an earth block press operates, and learn how to create a suitable rammed earth mix. You will learn how to mix a mortar suitable for CEB and how to lay up the blocks in a small wall project. Engineering and code approvals will also be covered.

You will be able to tour a completed earth block building with the CEB used for the walls and the floor.

At the end of this workshop, you will be ready to construct your own compressed earth block project!

Entry Requirements
Open to all

Fee
Early bird – $125
Regular – $150
Fees include healthy lunch (vegan and vegetarian options available)

Maximum class size: 12

BCIN – Small Buildings Exam Prep Course

BCIN Small Buildings – Exam Prep Course2012 Building Code Compendium
June 6 –  10, 2016
8.30 am to 4.30 pm
Endeavour Centre, Peterborough

Instructor: Jeff Chalmers

In Ontario, all building design practitioners must obtain a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) to ensure familiarity with the Ontario Building Code and to be eligible to obtain the insurance necessary to practice professionally. For designers of small residential and non-residential buildings under 6,000m3 two exams must be passed: General Legal/Process and Part 9/Small Buildings. 

Endeavour will be presenting preparatory courses for both the General Legal/Process and Part 9/Small Buildings exams.  We will be offering the new, updated OBOA (Ontario Building Official’s Association) curriculum training, which are the only courses built around the new 2012 Ontario Building Code.

Participants will need their own copy of the two-volume Ontario Building Code-2012 or fully up to date 2006. 

You can buy the code book HERE   –2012 Building Code Compendium
(2 Volume Binder Set)  ISBN-978-1-4606-2444-9 

OBOA work books are included in registration costs!

This training course has been developed to assist experienced practitioners review and become more familiar with the portions of the 2012 Building Code dealing with Part 9 small buildings. It is largely based on Parts 3, 9 and 12 of Division B of the Building Code along with Supplementary Standards SB-2, SB-3, and SB-7, Note: SB-9 is covered in the companion manual entitled House – 2012. The Small Buildings Manual has been designed to prepare those Building Code Act Practitioners who intend to challenge the Small Buildings – 2012 examination.

At the end of the course, you will be prepared to challenge the examinations for each course, which are held regularly at sites across Ontario. See the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing web site at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page8617.aspx for exam locations and dates.

Entry Requirements
Must own a copy of the 2012 Ontario Building Code or 2006 code with all amendments. See links above to obtain a copy of the Building code.

Fee
Early Bird $595 – Includes workbook (value of 125$) 
Regular $650 – Includes workbook (value of 125$) 

Maximum class size: 12

Eco Paints: Understanding Healthy House Paint – Toronto

Monday, February 8, 2016
Evening workshop, 6 – 9 pm
SpaceShare by SKETCH, 180 Shaw St, Toronto

Instructor: Chris Magwood

Workshop Description:

Learn how to use a wide range of natural, non-toxic eco-paints that are beautiful, healthy, durable and affordable.

natural non-toxic paintOur homes contain hundreds of square feet of painted surfaces, and most of them are covered with petrochemical products. Even the latest “no-VOC” paints contain chemical compounds that are bad for the environment in their production, disposal and for occupants during their lifespan on our walls. Fortunately, there is an exciting array of paints that are made from all-natural materials, and that are non-toxic and biodegradable.

In this workshop, you will learn about a wide range of commercially available paint options, including clay, lime, casein and natural oil paints.

The workshop will cover sourcing paints and ingredients, preparing surfaces (including surfaces that have already been painted) and mixing paints and pigments. You will have the opportunity to apply numerous paints to different surfaces and learn the techniques for working with natural paints.

After this workshop, you will be able to redecorate your existing home or plan the finishes for a new home using only natural, healthy paints.

Entry Requirements
Open to all

Fee
Regular – $35 plus $15 material fee

Maximum class size: 12

Light Clay/Straw Workshop

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016
9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Endeavour Centre, Peterborough

Note: This workshop is being offered twice in 2016. Be sure to register for the correct date.

Instructor: Chris Magwood

Workshop Description:

Come and discover how a simple mix of low-cost natural materials can create a remarkable thermal insulation!

Light clay/straw (or slip straw or straw/clay) construction uses straw mixed with clay slip to create an insulation material with good thermal, moisture-handling and structural properties.

In this workshop, participants will learn about the components of straw/clay, see a slideshow of various Canadian and international straw/clay building projects, and gain an understanding of how, why and where straw/clay is an appropriate material choice. In the classroom, we will look at the costs, sourcing and building science of using straw/clay on new building projects and renovations.

In the hands-on component of the workshop, participants will learn how to assess the necessary materials and create a mix that is appropriate for a desired end use. We will use mixing machinery to create batches of straw/clay, and learn how to place them in a wall system. Different types of framing and shuttering (or forming) systems will be shown, and every participant will leave with a straw/clay block they cast themselves.

After this workshop, you will be able to undertake a straw/clay project of your own!

Entry Requirement
Open to all

Fee
Early bird – $125
Regular – $150
Fees include healthy lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available)

Sustainable New Construction 2016, now taking applications

An unparalleled learning experience!

Be a team member in the construction of a remarkable sustainable building, from foundation to finishes. Endeavour’s full-time, immersion program puts you front-and-centre as you work with faculty members on an innovative building using natural and low-impact materials to create a super-efficient, healthy, affordable building.

Click here for 2016 course & project details…

 

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