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!

March 29, 2011

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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February 22, 2011

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, 2011

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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January 11, 2011

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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December 13, 2010

Self Cooling Buildings

Self Cooling Buildings

I found this interesting article in the New York Times archive on Self Cooling Buildings.  The concept is to use passive ventilation techniques, some of which have been used for centuries, to avoid the need for air conditioning.

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November 8, 20101 Comment

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home for Winter

We had our first snowfall in Ottawa last week, and while it’s still a little early to get excited about the coming ski season, it’s a good reminder that it’s time to do some annual home maintenance.  Here’s some practical advice to make sure that your home is ready for the next four months of […]

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October 14, 2010

The Future of the R-2000 Program

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 […]

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September 12, 2010

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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August 27, 2010

Why Are R-2000 Homes Healthier to Live In?

Why Are R-2000 Homes Healthier to Live In?

Health Canada has been studying the health of people before and after moving into new R-2000 homes and non-R2000 homes.  Their results clearly indicate “that people who moved into R-2000 houses found that their health improved more than those who moved into conventional houses.” Urbandale R-2000 homes are healthier than conventional houses because they have […]

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August 23, 2010

Solar Shingles – Part II

Solar Shingles – Part II

In my last post I described Nanosolar’s thin film solar cells.  DOW has taken this concept one step further with their PowerHouse Solar Shingles.   There isn’t that much information available about this product yet, but DOW claims that they install just like a standard asphalt shingle so they significantly reduce installation costs.  Although I couldn’t […]

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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.