Category: Energy Efficiency
Two important things happened in the electric vehicle (EV) world in recent months: Late last year Quebec became the first Canadian province to adopt a requirement for the sales of zero-emission vehicles and then in February General Motors debuted its long awaited Chevy Bolt, a long range, low-priced EV.
EnerGuide for homes: You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing how many liters per 100 kilometers it gets. So why buy a home without knowing how much power it uses?
The Heights is an 85-unit apartment complex in Vancouver that is the largest passive house in Canada. The project is leading the way to for a zero emissions building policy in Vancouver.
This is a tale of two straw-bale homes: one a standard energy efficient, environmentally friendly straw-bale home built for Nora Bumanis, the harpist for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; and second a net-zero, super energy efficient home built by Lance and Wendy Olson at Buffalo Lake, Alberta. See how a straw-bale home is built in our video!
We chat with EfficiencyOne’s CEO Stephen MacDonald about how investing in energy efficiency is cheaper than just producing more power.
Alberta students present a white paper on Climate Leadership in Alberta Schools to the ministers of education and environment calling for climate change to be added to the curriculum and schools to become models of sustainability.
This past March, students from around Alberta and beyond collaborated on a white paper that seeks to influence the future of climate change education in the province.
We visit what will be the first certified passive house in Saskatchewan, Canada. This is somewhat ironic, because the first concept passive house ever was built in Saskatchewan in the 1970s by passive house pioneer Harold Orr. Meet Harold and see this amazing home!
This week, we visit a conference on energy efficiency that’s looking to to change Alberta’s current lack of program support for energy efficiency initiatives.
This carbon neutral home has a solar wall, solar PV on the roof and a unique energy storage system that heats this innovative garage suite when the sun doesn’t shine!
How does a passive solar heated Earthship fare in the long cold Canadian winter. This week we return to a familiar place, the Kinney Family Earthship, to see how it holds up in the middle of a cold Canadian prairie winter.
The era of net-zero homes is upon us. These super-efficient homes use rooftop solar energy production and smaller, electric powered heating systems such as air source heat pumps to produce as much energy as they consume. But the real secret is insulation. Peter Amerongen shows us Habitat Studio’s unique formula for insulating the heck out of a home.
Carl Lauren, owner of Tyee Custom Homes, wanted to encourage energy efficient design in construction, but the building code hamstrung his efforts. So he helped create a rebate system that gets around the bureaucracy!
Edmonton, the oil capital of Alberta, passed its energy transition strategy earlier this year. We talk to Mayor Don Iveson about what this northern city is doing to transition to clean energy.
112. Welcome to the Octopod: An off-grid, solar powered shipping container cabin in Bobcaygeon, Ontario
Shipping container architecture has become more and more popular over the years. We check out an off-grid solar powered sea contaner cabin called the Octopod, located near Bobcaygeon, Ontario.
A new breed of startups is taking on a $750 billion dollar opportunity in industrial and commercial energy efficiency. We talk to two of them.
What happens when you sell unserviced lots for a dollar and get people to build green homes on the edge of a small Saskatchewan town? We find out.
We spend a lot of money and burn a lot of carbon keeping our homes and buildings warm. Solar air heating is a simple, effective and accessible technology that could help Canada reduce its heating bills.
Echohaven is a different kind of suburban development. It preserves natural landscapes, mandates energy efficient homes and guarantees solar access.
Chances are the electricity meter in your home is dumb as a sack of hammers. We head to Medicine Hat, Alberta, to find out what smart meters are, and we talk to the CEO of a company that makes smart meters even smarter.
Landmark Homes is planning to have all of their homes be net-zero by 2015. Learn how net-zero is transitioning from small custom home builders to large scale companies.
In 10 years net-zero homes have gone from government pilot project to mass production. Shafraaz Kaba’s near net-zero home is an excellent example of how we got there.
We look at making energy efficient, infill homes that are beautiful and also at how the location of your home can have a dramatic effect on your energy footprint.
The first episode of our four-part series Chasing Net-Zero. We dive into the history of net-zero homes and figure out you can build one of these comfortable, beautiful homes that also doubles as a mini-powerplant.
Learn how a seriously integrated ethanol plant has become a central hub for half a dozen other businesses using its byproducts of heat, CO2, distillers grains and more!
A passive solar greenhouse in Invermere B.C. is making people across the continent sit up and takes notice. It may sound ironic, but most greenhouses are not designed to harvest and retain the sun’s energy.
Cogeneration is a simple, effective idea – generate electricity from the waste heat from a boiler. We explore a 370 kilowatt unit powering and heating an office building in downtown Calgary.
Passive solar energy and its running buddy thermal mass give you the opportunity to get a significant portion of your home’s heat for free from the sun.
Learn how the energy efficiency policy process works and how, if applied in Alberta, Canada’s biggest carbon emitter could save a ton of money and get halfway to its 2020 greenhouse gas emission targets.
Alberta has a carbon price and it’s collected $380 million worth of cash for carbon reduction technology projects. Learn how they’re spending that money.
We talk to a doctor who knows the true health costs of coal in Alberta as well as Alberta’s new Associate Minister of Renewable Energy and Electricity on what she would replace coal with.
The incandescent light bulb phase-out is akin to getting rid of leaded gas, CFCs or the Ford Pinto. It is unequivocally a good news story. Learn why this week at Green Energy Futures.
Earth tubes are a simple, passive geothermal system that takes advantage of the earth’s constant temperature below the frost line. By drawing fresh air for your building through an earth tube you pre-heat or pre-cool your air depending on your needs. This saves you a ton of money, according to architect Tang Lee an earth tube system can save you up to half of your ventilation heating costs. At the Epcor Tower it saves the building $50,000 a year.
The rocket stove takes our fascination with fire and bends it 90 degrees. It’s a hyper efficient wood stove that uses far less wood to get a far more effective result.
It took a 45-person team to build Edmonton’s first net-zero home. In six short years since then net-zero builders are constructing cheaper and radically simpler net-zero homes. We Peter Amerongen and Simon Knight, two net-zero pioneers.
Sometimes the Grassi really is greener. Lawrence Grassi that it is. It’s a middle school in the Albertan mountain town of Canmore and while not a showy building it’s 70 per cent more efficient than a comparable building and it was built on budget. Learn how they did it this week at Green Energy Futures.
The Nanaimo Regional District is home to about 145,000 people on the east coast of Vancouver Island. This west-coast municipality is turning its trash into compost, clean energy and carbon credits.
The T’Souke First Nation on Vancouver Island developed and implemented a plan that slashed 75 per cent of their energy use and installed solar PV to provide clean power. It turns out it’s a lot easier to go net-zero when you drastically cut your energy use.
Landmark Homes builds super energy efficient homes in a factory. Not only is this process more energy efficient – it’s also about 10-12 tonnes of CO2 more efficient. The homes they’re building are understated energy efficiency lions.
When Servus Credit Union acquired an old Dell call centre and decided to turn it into their corporate headquarters it was a bit of a fixer-upper. It was a concrete tip-up building originally designed for the climes of Oklahoma 3,000 km south of Edmonton. Well, they decided to keep the building but go full-out on a creative renovation to make a better building.
Most programmable thermostats are poorly designed and beset with confusing instructions and non-intuitive press-and-hold interfaces. Enter Tony Fadell, the chief designer behind the original iPod. He walked away from Apple in 2010 and started a company that makes the Nest, a sleek new entry in the programmable thermostat that’s taking the home energy efficiency world by storm.
This four-story, 60,000 square feet structure is practically a living thing. It’s a $37-million laboratory that aims to achieve LEED Platinum status, but more than that, they’re also pursuing a Living Building Challenge certification. This certification is so hard to get, there are only three certified living buildings in the world.
We head down into the sewer, not to hang out with Michelangelo and the rest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but to explore a unique district heating scheme that’s over 2.7 million square feet in Vancouver. It’s called sewage heat recovery and it’s the only system of its kind in North America.
This week we examine how Vancouver became “Bike City” and why this is important for cities who want to reduce their carbon emissions and become more energy efficient.
Learn how a small rural Albertan county is treating it’s waste in a more environmentally responsible fashion and growing their own substitute for natural gas. They pump the effluent from a waste lagoon into a densely planted stand of willows. Willows like moist soil, grow fast and grow easily in our climate. That willow is then chopped down every three years and can be used for wood, heat or compost. In Camrose, they’re using it to heat their main county office.
When you think of Walmart do a plethora of contradictory thoughts and images come into your brain? Well get ready for it to get even more confusing because the world’s largest retailer and the 19th largest economy in the world have stepped up the plate with one of the best corporate sustainability plans in the world. It’s not just planning either, they’re executing it as well. We went to their Fresh Food Distribution Centre in Balzac to get the story.
When Ted Wolff decided to buy a 55-year-old bungalow in the west end of Edmonton he knew he wanted to renovate. He also knew that his home wasn’t necessarily the most energy efficient, that’s when he brought in C Returns and Godo Stoyke and they called for an energy audit. By getting an audit Wolff will be able to make the best decisions when it comes to allocating money and resources to make his home more energy efficient.
Canadian Control Works is a small Edmonton based company with a big idea. They’ve figured out how to create green electricity from the downswing of a pumpjack with a device called the Enersaver. We don’t give them much thought but each pump jack is moving 5-10 tons each time it goes up and down. By harvesting that energy oilfield operators save money and stabilize the grid around it.
The German style feed-in tariff that Ontario implemented in 2009 has made Ontario a North American leader in renewable energy. Learn how they did and why other provinces need to follow the lead of Ontario.
This week we speak to Wayne Rogers of Luminessence Lighting as we pit compact fluorescent bulbs against LEDs in the battle for efficient lighting. We also speak to Don Cherwonka of EWEL Electric Wholesalers about the amazing T8 bulb and how a lighting fixture can almost double the light with no extra watts! Bonus – we peak under the hood of one of the Phillips $10 million L-prize LED bulbs to find out how it works.
The award winning Hat Smart program in Medicine Hat, Alberta provides incentives and rebates for renewable energy and energy efficiency and has really captured the imagination of residents of this Southern Alberta City of 61,000 people. In this week’s episode Alderman Ted Clugston explains how success depends on a sexy program, a solar powered dentist shows his stuff and a home builder explains how building an EnerGuide 89 geothermal heated home is helping him build better, greener homes.