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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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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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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July 12, 2012No Comments

ENERGY STAR® Participants Meeting

ENERGY STAR® Participants Meeting

On June 5th, I attended the ENERGY STAR® Participants Meeting at Chateau Laurier.  I had been invited to give a presentation entitled “Leveraging the ENERGY STAR® Label in your Marketing”. I’ve been working with the folks from the Office of Energy Efficiency for years from way back in my consulting days, so the event was […]

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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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August 23, 2011No Comments

Green Mortgages

Green Mortgages

The Ottawa Citizen recently printed an article on the growing popularity of Green Mortgages – where banks offer lower interest rates or other incentives for homes that have achieved a specific level of energy efficiency.  I was pleased to see the article because this is something that I have been promoting to my contacts within […]

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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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March 29, 2011No Comments

Solar Water Heaters – The Lonely Spinster Aunt of Energy Technologies

Solar Water Heaters – The Lonely Spinster Aunt of Energy Technologies

The conventional wisdom around marketing energy technologies has been that the only thing that purchasers care about is payback.  Certainly, that’s the first question that anyone asks.  The assumption is that the decision to purchase energy efficiency or renewable technologies is strictly financial, and if the technology can pass some internal hurdle rate in the […]

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January 11, 2011No Comments

Is Renewable Energy Suitable for Low-Income Housing?

Is Renewable Energy Suitable for Low-Income Housing?

There have been a number of examples of net-zero energy homes built across the country that showcase that it is possible to successfully integrate renewable energy into new home construction.  The main drawback to date has been the cost, with these high-performance homes typically costing $100,000 – $150,000 more than traditional homes.  Now there’s a […]

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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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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.