Part of a green lifestyle is living in a healthy home free of the harmful chemicals found in many consumer products. Our home is cleaned and maintained with anti-oxidant products from our partner company, ecoparadise. These include:
FIRST stands for Far Infrared Sustainable Thermal System and is the centrepiece of Cascadia Ecohomes’ sustainable living solutions. Using cutting edge made-in-Japan technology, FIRST is a climate control system that provides low-cost, environmentally-friendly heating and cooling. With no air ducts blowing dust throughout rooms, no noise, and no baseboards taking up wall space, FIRST creates comfortable and healthy homes and businesses. Considering reduced operating cost and minimal environmental impact, FIRST could be said to be the most innovative heating and cooling system to emerge in decades. However, the basic concept behind FIRST is not new. It borrows from the past and adds twenty-first century technology to offer the comfort expected in a modern building plus the ecological sensitivity required in this age of climate change and peak oil.
Here is an overview of how the FIRST works:
FIRST is powered by electricity, which can come from the grid (your hydro provider) or can be generated by solar panels and/or a wind turbine as in our model home. The electric power can be connected directly to the system, or it can be directed through a heat pump, increasing energy efficiency.
There are two distinct components to the FIRST system:
- a radiator that provides the source of heat and cold
- an infrared paint that is applied to the walls and ceiling of every room in the home
The core heating/cooling component is a radiator containing pipes filled with water. The water is either heated (in winter) or cooled (in summer) to spark the change in temperature desired. This may sound somewhat similar to the hot water radiators formerly used in buildings around North America, but the similarity ends here. A cooling function is part of the new technology, so the radiator acts as a heater and an air-conditioner. As well, the unit will not burn anything that comes in contact with it.
Far Infrared Coating
While the radiator is the centre of the system, it is only part of the story. The radiator itself is coated with an infrared paint applied at the factory. Using an advanced formula employing the patented ‘Seiseki Stone’, this coating increases the thermal properties of the radiator, enhancing performance and ensuring maximum energy efficiency. Paint containing this same fine powder, made of a precise mixture of ground stone, is also applied to the walls and ceiling of each room. This coating works in conjunction with the radiator to create an infrared wavelength that circulates the heated or cooled air throughout the building. Far Infrared rays are a natural part of the environment and are completely safe. The way that they work is to heat or cool the objects, not the air itself. Imagine standing outside on a clear, cold day and feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays; the air isn’t warm, but you feel heat. This is Far Infrared at work.
Far Infrared is used all over the world as a heating source, for example, in infrared saunas to heat the occupants. Far Infrared is also gaining popularity as a safe method of natural health care and physiotherapy by using healing warmth to assist symptom control for arthritis, injury and chronic pain. Far Infrared rays also inhibit bacterial growth. There is no doubt that FIRST is an extremely safe and healthy way to control indoor climate and visitors to FIRST-eqiuipped buildings have remarked how fresh the air inside feels.
Because FIRST uses a Far Infrared system to heat and cool, there is no forced air from a duct and no cold breeze from a wall-mounted air-conditioner. The noise and dust generated by a furnace is eliminated and the unsightly inconvenience of electric baseboards is a thing of the past. A 2,500 square foot two-storey house would need one radiator on each floor measuring roughly one metre by one and a half metres. Radiators come in a variety of colours and are designed to enhance the living space (see photos). Larger units for commercial spaces are also available and can be used as room-dividers or mounted out of sight.
Amazingly, cost is one of the most appealing aspects of FIRST. Installation and operation of the system is far less expensive than that of a forced-air furnace with all of the duct work that goes with it.
Consumer and professional feedback has been extremely positive. Here are some testimonials from people who have experienced FIRST first-hand:
“For my customers’ comfort, I always keep the air-conditioner running in my store. However, the staff that work longer hours always feel weary after being exposed to air-conditioning for too long. In the winter, the heat never reaches our feet and I always thought that this was unhealthy. One of my shops required renovation, and so I decided to try out the FIRST system. My staff noticed that they got cold less easily and I too was pleasantly surprised by the difference. I started to pay less for my utilities and it was better for our health; it was like killing two birds with one stone!
-Ms. SS (Shop Owner)
“The thing that stands out about the FIRST system is that it makes no noise or dust. Being the owner of a medical clinic, I know that wind in the waiting room is taboo. With the FIRST system, the spread of contagious disease may be prevented. A consistent temperature in a room is also more comfortable for the patients. Before now, I thought that the initial cost for a radiant system was too high, but this system is totally different. I am definitely considering replacing my current system with the FIRST system.”
-Mr. MT (Medical Clinic Owner)
“The FIRST system is a modification of the conventional radiant system. This system boasts high efficiency with little energy, reducing CO2 emissions significantly. Nowadays, people can’t live comfortably without HVAC, and so it is more important now than ever to review methods of heating and cooling a home. The FIRST system is the most promising innovation of its kind, making it the choice for air-conditioning.
-Mr. HN (University Professor and Mechanical Engineer)
Pirikare Multi-Purpose Soap, a powder made from soy beans, oil, purified water and an anti-oxidant solution. It can be used for laundry and for washing floors, kitchens and bathrooms. The discharge produces friendly bacteria that are beneficial to the environment.
Eco Paradise Wax, a natural finish suitable for all types of floors including wood, tile and laminate.
Eco Paradise Pack, a reusable bag that retains freshness in foods and also helps plants to grow and flowers to bloom longer.
Eco Paradise Pail for composting or storage of items with reduced or no odour.
Eco Paradise Bed Pad brings the anti-oxidant system into your bedroom. The pad keeps you warm without using electricity.
All of these Eco Paradise products are available from Cascadia Ecohomes.