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Workshop Series: Sustainable Home Building and Retrofits, April, 2017

Vancouver Tool Library is happy to offer the Sustainable Home Building Practices and Retrofits, a 4-part workshop series that explores the basics of making changes to your home with a focus on sustainability. Our facilitator, Kyle, is a Red Seal Carpenter and has extensive experience with alternative home retrofits. The series will range on topics from basic ideas of sustainability to specific practices of retrofitting. Please see each workshop’s description for specific cross section

*It is not necessary to attend all 4 workshops. Each workshop can be attended independently.

Facilitator Bio

Kyle Kozak is a Red Seal Carpenter and has been doing home renovations as long as he could remember. His interest for sustainable building has brought him to New Mexico to learn about Earthships, Vancouver island to learn about straw bale and cob building, and has also taught how to build your own tiny home workshops. He currently works as a project coordinator helping to shape and sculpt the homes and commercial properties of Vancouver.

Part 1- Introduction to Retrofitting with a Focus on Sustainable Building
Sunday, April 2, 1pm-4pm
Vancouver Public Library, Kensington Branch, 1428 Cedar Cottage Mews

What is a retrofit? What is the best retrofit for you? What is sustainable to you? What does it mean? This workshop will help you determine your priorities when renovating your house; is it clean indoor environment, cutting down on energy use, renewable energy, collecting your own water, growing your own food, tightening your building envelope?

We will discuss ‘living small’, passive heating and designs, living buildings, and healthy homes

We will discuss how to tread lightly when we renovate our homes by calculating embodied carbon energy of building products, identifying hazardous materials and how to avoid them (off-gassing, and side affects), electro-magnetic frequencies, rain water harvesting, salvaging materials, and reclaiming lumber.

This workshop will be theory-based and will take place in a classroom setting.

Part 2- Installing Windows and Doors
Saturday, April 8th, 12pm-3pm
Vancouver Tool Library, 3448 Commercial St.

Determine if your windows and doors need replacement, and learn the basics of installing windows and doors, replacing weather stripping and preventing air ingress from around your windows. Learn the difference between poor quality and quality doors and windows, and steps for re-installation once they are removed. We will discuss how to prevent water ingress, and creating a proper seal around your windows. We will review window glazing, single glazed, double and triple glazed as well as review the steps for building a window frame and how to install a window and or door. Learn how to check for air leaks, and install caulking and sealants to cut down on air infiltration.

This is a hands-on workshop and participants should expect to use some tools. Please dress appropriately; no loose clothing or dangly jewellery and wear closed-toed shoes.

Part 3- Wall Systems and Insulation
Saturday, April 15th, 12pm-3pm
Vancouver Tool Library, 3448 Commercial St.

Learn and build different types of wall systems. Explore energy efficient wall systems upgrades, and outboard insulation vs inboard. Learn how to add extra insulation to your home and the concept of wrapping your house with a blanket. Identify different types of insulation and installation techniques. You will learn double wall, single walls, framing techniques, recycled types of insulation, low toxicity and easy ways to insulate an existing home.

This is a hands-on workshop and participants should expect to use some tools. Please dress appropriately; no loose clothing or dangly jewellery and wear closed-toed shoes.

Part 4- Mechanical Systems
Saturday, April 22nd, 11am-2pm
Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, 4065 Victoria Dr.

During this portion we will discuss solar PV panels, solar hot water, residential wind turbines, water collection systems, maximizing water use, grey water/black water systems, rules for residential, on/off grid, heat recovering ventilators, fresh air systems and home heating and cooling.

This workshop will be theory-based and will take place in a classroom setting.

Must be 18 years old or older to participate in workshops.

$25/workshop for VTL members.

$30/workshop for non-members.

***Refunds will only be available before 48 hours before the workshop begins. After that, you’re welcome to transfer your ticket to someone else. Make sure you call us and let us know!

Earn $30 in VTL Credit!

untitledWe are building digital histories for our tools! We need you help to contribute with your own experiences. What projects are you working on? Join the research study conducted by Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland) in collaboration with Simon Fraser University in BC. $30 VTL credit is available for participants who complete the study.
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We’re 5! Thanks for coming to our party

This year, the VTL celebrates it’s 5th anniversary! Wooo!! It’s been a crazy, wonderful ride and we’re just getting stronger and stronger every year.

We couldn’t have made it this far without all of our members. We’ve grown as a community over the past 5 years and we’re looking forward to the next 5!

New Pricing at the VTL

– in effect May 31st, 2016.

Since 2011, the Vancouver Tool Library Cooperative has been lending tools to our members at very affordable rates; it’s our core mandate to provide inclusive access to tools and equipment for our members.

As the first cooperative tool lending library in Canada, however, much of what we’ve created at the VTL is an experiment. This includes our pricing. As we’ve grown, we have realized that our pricing structure must evolve as well.

After almost a year of consideration and input, we believe the proposed changes offer the best balance between the financial needs of our Co-operative while ensuring our service remains accessible and inclusive.


1. Power Tools for just $1/day!
B-Class tools (Power Tools) now cost $1/day, up to 10 days! (Currently B-Class tools cost $2 for 5 days.) Members will decide the number of days they want to borrow tools and pay when they pick up their tools. A-Class tools (Hand Tools) remain free, and can be loaned for up to 10 days.

Why we’re making this change:
– Power tools can now be borrowed for $1 for 24 hours, making power tools more accessible.
– Daily pricing will ensure higher rotation of tools, making them more available to members

2. A New Class of Tools
There are now C-Class tools. C-Class tools will cost $5/day up to 10 days.
VTL has always had A-Class tools (hand tools) and B-Class tools (power tools). The new C-Class will include tools that are high-maintenance or expensive to acquire. The following tools are included in the C-Class: Pressure Washers and Bench-top planer

Why we’re making this change
– Some tools require a lot of maintenance or are expensive to acquire. The new C-Class allows the VTL to properly supply these tools to members!

To learn more, come to our New Pricing Open House on Tuesday, April 26th, 5pm-7pm at the VTL. We will be there to answer any questions about these changes. We’re excited about how these changes will help the VTL evolve!