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!

October 14, 2010 No Comments

The Future of the R-2000 Program

The R-2000 program is a Canadian labeling program for “Best In Class” energy efficient new homes.  Although the program has been around since 1982, it represents only a small fraction of new homes built in Canada since the high level of construction detail is difficult to achieve for many production builders.  Urbandale has been building all of our single-family homes to the R-2000 standard since 2007, and in 2009 we received the R-2000 Builder of the Year Award for our efforts. 

In 2012 the R-2000 Standard will be updated to even more stringent efficiency targets.  For the last year, I have been working with Natural Resources Canada as the Vice-Chair of the R-2000 Standard Renewal Committee to help NRCan develop the next generation of the standard.  The Committee is made up of experts in energy efficient housing from across Canada, including noted architects, consultants, technology experts, and builders.

Working on this committee has been an enriching experience for me as I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of Canada’s brightest minds about the best construction techniques and technologies available today.  Everyone on the committee is passionate about improving the energy efficiency of housing in Canada.  It’s been a real thrill for me to share in these discussions about the future of housing.

I can’t say too much at this point about the specifics of the future R-2000 standard since it hasn’t been officially launched yet; however I am able to tell you that the new target will be a 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the current R-2000 standard.  These are extremely energy efficient houses and a huge milestone on the way to Net Zero Energy Homes. 

There are a number of different ways to build a home to this new level of energy efficiency, but they all require a substantially improved building envelope.  For example, you could reach this level with R-40 walls (roughly 10 to 12 inches thick!), R-10 under-slab insulation, R-80 insulation in the attic, high-performance windows and HVAC, and an air-tightness of at least 1.5 Air Changes per Hour.  The incremental cost for these upgrades would be roughly $25,000 to $35,000.  At this high price, it is unlikely that these homes will take a huge share of the new housing market, but for the early adopters the extra cost will be well worth living in a superior home that’s better for the environment.

Posted by Matthew


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Matthew Sachs


  • 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)


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