This blog follows the latest trends in high performance housing from an insider's perspective. I am the General Manager of one of Ottawa's leading homebuilders - Urbandale Construction, and it gives me a firsthand view of how the industry is changing. I've seen the barriers that builders face when trying to market new technologies and I've been working directly to overcome these barriers to bring new energy efficient designs into Urbandale homes.
Designing Homes for Cleaner Air Cross posted from the Ottawa Citizen on July 30, 2014. The air in our homes can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s kind of scary when you think about how much time we spend indoors. Toxins in the air [...]Read more
Cross posted from the Ottawa Citizen July 5th, 2014 What type of housing do you think has the smallest environmental impact? If you’re picturing a cabin in the woods, think again. Actually, high-density living, such as a downtown apartment building, is much more environmentally friendly than living in a rural community. It may surprise you [...]Read more
I have a new column called “Modern Housing” which will be appearing monthly in the Ottawa Citizen. I hope to use this forum to bring attention to issues facing the housing industry, with a focus on energy efficiency and affordability. Thanks to the folks at the Citizen for giving me this great opportunity!Read more
On Friday I was a guest judge at the final presentations of Carleton University’s High Performance Housing group. I’ve been involved with the High Performance Housing group for a number of years now, acting occasionally as a guest lecturer or mentor to some of the groups. This year I wasn’t as involved in the project as [...]Read more
Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California is developing a completely new way to build houses using a large-scale version of 3D printing technology. This innovative approach, called Contour Crafting, works by using a large robotic arm with a nozzle that can spray fast drying concrete in layers according to a predetermined design. [...]Read more
On Dec. 4th I took part in an Energy Innovation Roundtable chaired by Frank Des Rosiers, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Canada. When I first read the discussion paper prior to the meeting I got the impression that the whole exercise was being implemented with the outcome already in mind, namely to justify [...]Read more
When people talk about the barriers to green building, the most common points that come up are the high cost of new technologies, the low cost of energy (at least in Canada), and the lack of consumer demand. Another factor that is not as well recognized is the barrier to innovation caused by our city [...]Read more
A Stockholm architecture firm has created a lot of buzz recently with their plans to build a “hairy” skyscraper. The building would have thousands of piezoelectric straws coming off the structure that harness energy as they sway in the wind. The project has created a lot of interest because it is extremely innovative and looks [...]Read more
I was interviewed on 580 CFRA’s “Experts on Call” last weekend by Angie Poirier, host of the Majic Morning Show and CTV Ottawa Morning. We had a nice discussion and talked about what differentiates a high performance home from a Code built home. This included an explanation of the Energy Star Program and Urbandale’s unique [...]Read more
There’s a small community of around 1,000 homes just outside of Austin, Texas that is being used to research how we’ll be using energy in the future. Pecan Street, supported by the US Department of Energy, the University of Texas and some major private partners, is studying families living in energy efficient housing with smart [...]Read more
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Ottawa's Quality Homebuilder for 30 Years. Building R-2000 and Energy Star Homes in Kanata Lakes, Riverside South, & Bridlewood in Ottawa, and in eQuinelle in Kemptville. For more information on Urbandale Construction, please visit www.urbandale.com.