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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April 9, 20142 Comments

Carleton University’s High Performance Housing Project

Carleton University’s High Performance Housing Project

On Friday I was a guest judge at the final presentations of Carleton University’s High Performance Housing group.  I’ve been involved with the High Performance Housing group for a number of years now, acting occasionally as a guest lecturer or mentor to some of the groups.  This year I wasn’t as involved in the project as […]

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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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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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November 12, 2012No Comments

Lego Housing Design Competition

Lego Housing Design Competition

I’m going to take a break from talking about energy efficiency this post for something more fun instead – playing with Lego! Dwell, an influential architecture magazine, ran a Lego Design Competition with the theme of California mid-century modern architecture. Check out the designs of the five finalists here. It’s a reminder to me that […]

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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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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.