EPIC Expo: Mike Holmes Makes it Right


Saturday, April 19th, 2008 — 4:13pm PST
Comments 4

This post was written for happyfrog at the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo

At this time yesterday Mike Holmes was in Toronto redoing a roof and getting a sunburn.

Although we can’t control our flip flopping weather in Vancouver, this city was sure grateful for Mike’s appearance. I had the chance to take some notes during his presentation although my blog post simply can’t express the passion and commitment this man emits, but I’ll try.

Mike Holmes

Over 7 seasons the TV show Holmes on Holmes has helped over 100 families, 365 days a year often working on 3-5 projects at a time. Mike announced that the final episode of the show will air in June and after that he’s moving on to bigger things.

Going to the next level of homebuilding, Mike’s new show Make it Right will see him in building houses in New Orleans and even heading to Africa to build 5 homes for children. Not only is he going international with the program, but he’s starting up a development company to make: “homes that will not burn down, fall down, blow down, will not mould, are totally enviro-friendly and ‘greener than green’.”

After we had been updated on various projects, and got over the sad news of the show’s ending (followed by the joy of knowing he’ll be spreading his knowledge across the world), Mike launched into his talk that contained so many energy-efficient tips I didn’t have the time to catch them all, but here are a few which he details as various “shades of green”:

Dark Green:

  • Two storey homes are not the most energy-efficient; bungalows are better
  • Flat roofs are a great way to collect rain water/grey water, they can be green, have a grass lawn or vegetable garden. You would be using the square footage you already own. Head up a flat roof to have a BBQ and a beer.
  • Shingles are asphalt which is oil-based. Not only are they more expensive, they are conducive to fires (50% of house fires spread from roof to roof). Try a flat roof or steel roof, which lasts up to 50 years.
  • MIke Holmes

    Mike shared a story about a local fire department that was asking him to help promote the use of sprinklers in buildings and homes. Unfortunately he couldn’t back their campaign, “why would I get behind something that would put more water into a house I’m trying to keep water out of?” – “build a house that won’t burn!”

    Dark Green:

  • Mike addresses a question he often hears, how much more expensive is it to build a sustainable home? It’s only about 10-20% more to get the right materials that will last longer than a lifetime.
  • “Cradle to Grave”: Designing a product that is environmentally friendly from beginning, middle, to the end of its life. ie. concrete – how much energy does it take to make it? A lot actually however, how long does it last? forever.
  • Lighter Shade of Green:

  • Combine a bunch of products within your home. The “lipstick and mascara” with energy efficient appliances does help.
  • Even Lighter Shade of Green:

  • Those 6 litre “low flow” toilets that, in Mike’s words, “take 5 flushes just to get your number two down.” Products like these are a great concept but unless you can find a low-flow that has enough ‘suction’ and won’t need multiple flushes, it’s not doing its job 100%. Mike says that in a home, 6% of water is used on washing our things and 13% is spent flushing the toilet.
  • Mike used a few obscenities on stage and laughs them off, “I’m sorry, I’m a contractor!”. Other parts of the presentation were a little too technical for me, especially the explanation of a Thermal Break and Thermal Barrier. Gotta love those vapour barriers, folks.

  • Fact: Concrete holds the most amount of moisture in a home.
  • Fact: In-floor heating is the most energy-efficient way to warm up a home.
  • Face: Spray-foam insulation is the most environmentally friendly, “Cradle to Grave”.
  • Unfortunately too many homes are built to ‘minimum code’, and that won’t change until lives are lost. How often do you hear about 100 condos in a complex going up on flames? Minimum code needs to change – there is no reason why homes and lives need to be lost if things are built right.

    After a long question and answer period followed by book signing, Mike was catching a flight out of Vancouver. His insights are appreciated and it’s nice to see someone with so much passion for the greater good who is thinking about the future its generations.

    Current contests on Miss604.com

    4 comments

    1. DaveO says:

      He’s a super hero! Really so dang smart. When i did some renovation on a house in the State before seeing Mike’s show, i was so confused all the time, but now having watched Mike’s show, i feel like anything is fixable! Can’t wait to see what he brews up in NOLA and Africa.

    2. DAVID CROSS says:

      MY WIFE AND I MET MIKE RECENTLY IN NEW ORLEANS AND HE’S REALLY NICE, PUT US RIGHT AT OUR EASE, POSED FOR PICTURES AND INVITED US OVER TO SEE HIS WORK AT BRAD PITT’S PROJECT IN THE LOWER 9TH WARD. WE WERE GLAD AND RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL TO MIKE AND BRAD FOR ALL THEIR EFFORTS! LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING MIKE’S SPECIALS ON THE PROJECT!

    3. Brett says:

      Those 6 litre “low flow” toilets that, in Mike’s words, “take 5 flushes just to get your number two down.” Products like these are a great concept but unless you can find a low-flow that has enough ’suction’ and won’t need multiple flushes, it’s not doing its job 100%. Mike says that in a home, 6% of water is used on washing our things and 13% is spent flushing the toilet.

    4. Tim Holton says:

      Mike… Your wrong about sprinklers, Get the facts!!!!! Sprinklers save lives , not what the home is made of.

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