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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January 7, 20152 Comments

Presentation at Carleton University: “The Business of Green Housing”

Presentation at Carleton University: “The Business of Green Housing”

On Nov. 18th I was invited to give a presentation as part of the Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre Lecture Series.  My presentation was on the Business of Green Housing. Numerous surveys indicate that consumers are willing to pay more for energy efficient homes, but sales statistics across the country and my own personal experience […]

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October 28, 20141 Comment

Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Innovation

Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Innovation

Construction has officially started at the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Innovation which is being built on the Carleton University Campus.  The centre is being built to Urbandale’s home specifications and will be used to study future technologies designed to reduce the energy use in homes.  We’re really excited about this project because it has […]

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August 7, 20145 Comments

Designing Homes for Cleaner Air

Designing Homes for Cleaner Air

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 […]

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July 21, 2014No Comments

Why highrises are good for the environment

Why highrises are good for the environment

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 […]

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February 3, 20141 Comment

3D Printing Houses – An innovative vision for the future of housing

3D Printing Houses – An innovative vision for the future of housing

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.  […]

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October 25, 2013No Comments

City Regulations As A Barrier to Housing Innovation

City Regulations As A Barrier to Housing Innovation

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 […]

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August 6, 20131 Comment

This is not the future of building.

This is not the future of building.

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 […]

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July 29, 2013No Comments

Experts on Call

Experts on Call

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 […]

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March 19, 201325 Comments

Insulating rooms above garages: The Mike Holmes way VS the Urbandale way

Insulating rooms above garages:  The Mike Holmes way VS the Urbandale way

I recently received the following question from a reader: ” Hi there, after watching Holmes on Homes I was wondering when Urbandale will use spray foam insulation on the above garage floor instead of leaving the gap with heat duct.  There is a big concern that if any seal is not done right like around electrical […]

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January 7, 20136 Comments

Water Heaters – What you need to know to heat your H2O

Water Heaters – What you need to know to heat your H2O

As part of our upgrade to the 2012 ENERGY STAR® standard, we changed our standard water heaters from regular tank water heaters to condensing tank water heaters. In this post I’d like to discuss the main types of residential water heaters, so purchasers will have a better understanding of what system is best for them. […]

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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.