As we speak, Municipalities across Canada are formulating solid, actionable, “bright new” local energy policies. There is a lot of discussion on what is the best way forward. A one-size-fits-all approach, with its proven pitfalls, is clearly not the solution. When you consider the extremes, say Florida, compared to Ontario, you can see that what works in a subtropical climate won’t work in a temperate (and in some parts, downright cold) climate. Similarly, Timmins and Toronto have two distinct climates and sets of challenges.
Closer to home, in Oakville, the OETF (Oakville Energy Task Force) has hatched an ambitious plan to get Oakville to Net Zero by 2041. The plan has been formalized in Oakville’s Community Energy Strategy outlining the study, findings, and plotting a course for the whole town to become NET ZERO! The plan contains every facet of energy usage from existing homes, to New homes, to transportation, industrial, and commercial consumption. If there is a Kilowatt to spare, it could be on the chopping block.
So, what is the plan, you may ask? For starters, there are approximately 60,000 older homes in Oakville that would benefit from an energy retrofit. That means 48,000 homes are forecast to be “in the hopper” for energy upgrades. ( WHY DID WE GO FROM 60 to 48?) From attic insulation, new heat pumps, solar panels, weatherstripping down to window replacement. Without going too deep in details, take windows for example. Compared to Europe, Germany requires U Values of 1.0 or less while our code lags behind with a U Value of 1.6. Not to demean Ontario who had one of the most aggressive energy requirements when it launched its 2012 version of the code.
There is another part of the equation to be considered. What we know in building science as unintended consequences. You know when with all the best intentions you set out to solve one problem and another one hits you on the back of the head!! If you are old enough you may remember the 70’s energy crisis which was followed in the 1980s with subsidies for energy retrofit programs. These were aimed at stemming the massive consumption of costly energy increasing energy efficiency for each home that got the retrofit. But a had nasty side effects; mold on the sheathing and what was known as attic rain. More time and money to solve an unexpected problem!
Houses have become like cars, the ‘72 Chev you could work on yourself has been replaced by high-tech, scientific equipment that only the experts can work on with special equipment. To be an effective builder in today’s world of high insulation takes specialized training and careful consideration of the building envelope! To avoid those unwelcome results, builders now need building science training to understand how all the parts of a house fit together. Don’t keep up with the technology and “old school” builders can get left behind.
Building NET ZERO
In our world of building NET ZERO, NET ZERO Ready, and high-performance sustainable homes, Chatsworth Fine Homes president Fil Capuano has been invited to provide input on the short strokes of implementation for Oakville’s Net Zero program and the associated building science that drives those decisions. With a pedigree of high-performance engineered Net Zero homes in Oakville, we are happy to help our community. Sharing our learning and experiences to inform the crafting of practical solutions for implementation in Oakville’s push to NET ZERO.
Stay tuned as you’ll soon see the rollout of what will surely prove to be one of the most aggressive energy retrofits in Canada!