This blog explores changes in the energy industry from an insider’s perspective as it transitions from the old centralized utility model to the new paradigm of distributed generation.
This blog was previously called Inside the Housing Evolution and focused on energy efficient homes. Ultimately, it’s all linked. Soon, every building will have the potential to generate, store, and sell energy. Welcome to the era of the transactive grid – the greatest shift the electricity sector has seen in over 100 years!

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December 13, 2010No Comments

Self Cooling Buildings

Self Cooling Buildings

I found this interesting article in the New York Times archive on Self Cooling Buildings.  The concept is to use passive ventilation techniques, some of which have been used for centuries, to avoid the need for air conditioning.

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November 8, 20101 Comment

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home for Winter

We had our first snowfall in Ottawa last week, and while it’s still a little early to get excited about the coming ski season, it’s a good reminder that it’s time to do some annual home maintenance.  Here’s some practical advice to make sure that your home is ready for the next four months of […]

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October 14, 2010No Comments

The Future of the R-2000 Program

The Future of the R-2000 Program

The R-2000 program is a Canadian labeling program for “Best In Class” energy efficient new homes.  Although the program has been around since 1982, it represents only a small fraction of new homes built in Canada since the high level of construction detail is difficult to achieve for many production builders.  Urbandale has been building […]

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September 12, 2010No Comments

Urbandale Takes Home Some Sammy’s

Urbandale Takes Home Some Sammy’s

Last Wednesday Urbandale took home 3 awards at the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association Sales and Marketing Awards (the Sammy’s).  We got the Sammy for Best Builder Website, Best Environmental Model Home, and Most Innovative Marketing Display.  The Best Environmental Model award felt good because the model was built to the same standards as all of […]

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August 27, 2010No Comments

Why Are R-2000 Homes Healthier to Live In?

Why Are R-2000 Homes Healthier to Live In?

Health Canada has been studying the health of people before and after moving into new R-2000 homes and non-R2000 homes.  Their results clearly indicate “that people who moved into R-2000 houses found that their health improved more than those who moved into conventional houses.” Urbandale R-2000 homes are healthier than conventional houses because they have […]

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August 23, 2010No Comments

Solar Shingles – Part II

Solar Shingles – Part II

In my last post I described Nanosolar’s thin film solar cells.  DOW has taken this concept one step further with their PowerHouse Solar Shingles.   There isn’t that much information available about this product yet, but DOW claims that they install just like a standard asphalt shingle so they significantly reduce installation costs.  Although I couldn’t […]

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August 10, 2010No Comments

The Future of Solar Panels

The Future of Solar Panels

It looks like Nanosolar is the first company out of the gates with a process that “makes it possible to produce 100x thinner solar cells 100x faster”. The technology is in fact so impressive that it won the Popular Science Innovation of the Year and Green Tech Grand Award.

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July 21, 2010No Comments

Five Sins of Greenwashing in Housing

Five Sins of Greenwashing in Housing

Green is in, and savvy businesses in all fields have been making some pretty bold environmental claims in their advertisements in the hopes of cashing in. It can be difficult for purchasers to tell when these claims are genuine, and when they are simply greenwashing. 

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July 13, 20102 Comments

Green Building Ottawa Conference “Retrofit – Sustainability for the Future”

Green Building Ottawa Conference “Retrofit – Sustainability for the Future”

The June issue of Ottawa Construction News had an article on a presentation I gave at Carleton University’s Green Building Ottawa Conference.  (Actually, the article attributes the quotes to Michael Sachs, not Matthew, but trust me it’s me!).

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June 28, 2010No Comments

The Kitchen as a System

The Kitchen as a System

Whirlpool is using systems thinking to re-invent the typical kitchen to make the most of waste heat and water. This design is said to use 70% less energy and be 24% cheaper to run… and hell… it looks pretty sexy to boot!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Matthew Sachs

P. Eng. LEED AP

  • COO of Peak Power since July 2016
  • General Manager of Urbandale Construction (May 2008 – Oct 2014)
  • Vice-Chair R-2000 Renewal Committee
  • Member of Energy Star Technical Advisory Committee
  • Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Green Committee
  • Recipient of Canadian Homebuilder’s Association 2009 R-2000 Builder of the Year Award
  • Participant in Natural Resources Canada’s Technology Roadmap for Sustainable Housing
  • Energy Consultant with Marbek Resource Consultants (Feb 2002 – May 2006)

ABOUT PEAK POWER

Peak Power is a Microgrid project development company focused on delivering innovative solutions to offset the most expensive hours of electric demand. We specialize in optimizing the revenue streams from energy storage, advanced building automation, and renewable technologies for customer sited and utility scale projects. Please visit www.peakpowerenergy.com.