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!

ARCHIVE

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 […]

Read more
November 17, 20141 Comment

Would you pay for someone else’s clean energy?

Would you pay for someone else’s clean energy?

Cross posted from the Ottawa Citizen on Oct. 23, 2014. Canada has many examples of innovative green building projects, but without your financial support, most would never have succeeded. Some examples:   In the Drake Landing community in Okotoks, Alta., 52 homes are connected through underground pipes that deliver heating supplied by solar panels. A […]

Read more
September 19, 20144 Comments

Why Ottawa Home Prices Will Continue to Rise

Why Ottawa Home Prices Will Continue to Rise

Cross posted from the Ottawa Citizen on Sept. 13th, 2014. It seems like home prices keep going higher. While this may be good news for investors, it reduces the quality of life for anyone who has to put more money toward mortgage payments and makes it difficult for first-time buyers to enter the market. Housing […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
June 11, 20135 Comments

Would you want your tax dollars paying for someone else’s clean energy?

Would you want your tax dollars paying for someone else’s clean energy?

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
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 […]

Read more
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. […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
January 20, 20122 Comments

The Third Industrial Revolution

The Third Industrial Revolution

I just finished a very thought provoking book called “The Third Industrial Revolution”, by Jeremy Rifkin.  Rifkin’s theory is that the world is on the cusp of a Third Industrial Revolution that will change the world’s economies and societies as dramatically as the First and Second Industrial Revolutions had in the 1800s and 1900s.  The […]

Read more

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.