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 5, 201216 Comments

The Real Reason Most Homebuilders Build Crappy Homes

The Real Reason Most Homebuilders Build Crappy Homes

For the last four years, I’ve been using my position as General Manager at Urbandale Construction (a large homebuilder in Ottawa) to do whatever I could to push the industry towards more energy efficient housing. I’ve sat on government steering committees, created partnerships with academia to promote research, and redesigned the homes we sell. But […]

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October 1, 2012No Comments

Urbandale’s Proud Foundations™

Urbandale’s Proud Foundations™

Urbandale was featured in the Ottawa Citizen again as we announced our recent improvements to our standard specifications for all our homes. Our homes will be built to the updated 2012 ENERGY STAR® levels that use 20% less energy than a house built to code. The improved efficiency comes from some smart upgrades, such as […]

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March 2, 20122 Comments

Urbandale builds the first home in Canada to the new 2012 R-2000 Standard

Urbandale builds the first home in Canada to the new 2012 R-2000 Standard

Natural Resources Canada recently announced the launch of the revised 2012 R-2000 Standard. Urbandale played a major role in this launch by hosting the event in our demo home – the first home in Canada built to the new standard. This event was symbolic for me personally because it represented the results of several years […]

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January 18, 2012No Comments

Live Chat Today on Ottawa Citizen Online

Live Chat Today on Ottawa Citizen Online

Today I’ll be doing a live chat for the Ottawa Citizen website on energy efficient construction.  My guest panelist will be David Foster, the Director of Environmental Affairs for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.  Log in here today between noon and 1:00.

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December 8, 201110 Comments

Passive House VS Active House: Two Competing Visions for the Future of Homes

Passive House VS Active House: Two Competing Visions for the Future of Homes

Passive House is a building standard originally developed in Germany that can reduce heating needs by an astonishing 90%. They reach this target by making the house extremely well insulated, virtually air-tight, and by orienting and designing the house to maximize passive solar gain. Although this concept has been slow to take off in North […]

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October 12, 2011No Comments

Urbandale Donating Home for Research Facility at Carleton University

Urbandale Donating Home for Research Facility at Carleton University

I’ve been keeping this quiet for a couple of years because it was not official, but now that it’s been reported in the Ottawa Business Journal, and the Ottawa Citizen, I suppose the cat’s already out of the bag.  Urbandale will be building a house on the Carleton University campus to be used as a […]

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May 10, 2011No Comments

Investing in Efficiency as Insurance Against Rising Energy Prices

Investing in Efficiency as Insurance Against Rising Energy Prices

CBC news recently reported on a study that electricity prices across the country are set to rise sharply, and that we should expect to see a rise of more than 50 percent by 2020.  While I personally feel that their estimate is optimistic, there is no doubt that energy prices have nowhere to go but […]

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April 5, 20114 Comments

Carleton University High Performance Housing Group

Carleton University High Performance Housing Group

The Carleton University Engineering program has a 4th year design project that focuses on High Performance Housing.  The students in the course have spent the year investigating construction techniques and technologies that dramatically reduce the energy use in homes.  I’ve been very closely involved with this group of students because one of their course deliverables […]

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February 22, 2011No Comments

The Only Company that Will Pay You to Use Less of their Product

The Only Company that Will Pay You to Use Less of their Product

Last week I joined a group of leading builders in Toronto to discuss what measures Enbridge can take to help homeowners reduce their gas usage.  Enbridge has been actively involved in promoting energy efficiency improvements for years through their Demand Side Management (DSM) programs.  (Coincidentally, I actually worked with Enbridge in developing their DSM program […]

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January 19, 2011No Comments

The Challenges of Urban Intensification

The Challenges of Urban Intensification

I read a thought provoking article in last weeks Ottawa Citizen about a local infill project that has been nominated for an Ottawa Architectural Conservation Award.  The article says that the development of the School House Lofts at 19 Melrose Ave. is “…infill done right: Not too tall, not too dense, and not ugly.”  A […]

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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.