Efficiency & Innovation
How can we adapt and connect for a resilient transformation to a cleaner planet
Energy conservation focuses on reducing energy use. This can be compared to turning off lights when you leave a room to reduce the amount of energy being used.
Energy efficiency focuses on performing the intended functions with minimal energy and waste. This can be compared to using energy-efficient LED light bulbs that use less energy to produce the same amount of light.
Energy sufficiency focuses on having enough to achieve a particular goal. This can be compared to designing a room with windows to take advantage of natural light, reducing the need for artificial light, and achieving the optimal level of lighting for the space.
Innovative solutions (we refer to as Energable), use a combination of conservation, efficiency, and sufficiency methods to ensure energy is used in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
Energy Wise Pyramid
(Adapted from Minnesota Power)
The Holistic Approach we take:
Energy & Atmosphere:
"Treat energy in a holistic manner by promoting designs that reduce the overall energy needs and increase the efficiency with which energy is acquired and used.
Increasing renewable, non-polluting energy sources to reduce the environmental and economic impacts associated with fossil fuel energy use; and minimizing the emissions that contribute to ozone depletion and global warming.”- LEED Green Buildings ↗
Building Envelope & Indoor Environmental Quality:
Improving the indoor air quality for enhanced comfort, productivity, and well-being of occupants. Combining optimized thermal performance and airtightness with a heat recovery ventilation system for low energy heating & cooling.
Minimizing exposure of occupants to potentially hazardous particulates and chemical pollutants (ex. VOCs)
Smart Control & Connectivity:
Optimizing energy use patterns with smart connectivity and control.
Minimize waste throughout the life cycle of materials & products.
Reducing the volume, density, and toxicity by reusing & recycling existing material to divert waste from production, transportation, and landfills, while developing alternative waste-to-energy solutions.
Promoting the circular economy and using locally sourced, renewable, or reclaimed materials and products. Employing locally available skill sets for sustainable communities.
Converting our systems and operations to use Electrical Power. Ensuring the use of Clean Electricity- we will plug in more: manufacturing, transportation, heating & cooling, appliances & devices to combat harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Shift to more efficient Lighting to lower energy consumption and improve performance.
Energy & Atmosphere
Reduce the demand for energy needs and increase the efficiency of the energy use. Emphasize systems to generate and conserve energy
Reduce the demand for potable water and the generation of wastewater
Build in energy and water independence for sustainable & resilient designs
Promote the use of simple and flexible systems, over complex operations requiring continuous maintenance
81% of GHG emissions come from Energy in Canada. Canadians use more energy because of our extreme temperatures, vast landscape and dispersed population.
-Data Sourced from NRCan Energy Fact Book 2021-2022 ↗
The building envelope (aka shell or skin) refers to the components separating the interior from the exterior:
Roof and Foundation
Windows, Doors and other openings
It is important to keep the internal climate comfortable from changing external weather, the 'thermal mass' of the building enables it to store heat, providing inertia against the temperature fluctuations. This is achieved by durable continuous air-tightness and insulation protection.
A well-established thermal envelope with ensure:
o Reduced air flow between the outside and inside of the home
o Slowed movement of heat
o Controlled movement of moisture
Commonly the air leaks that allow heat to escape in a home:
o Ceilings & attics
o Basement & crawlspace
o Doors & windows
o Open vents: bathroom, kitchen, laundry
o Electrical outlets
As cold outside air infiltrates openings the absolute amount of moisture (water vapour) contained is low and will cause the air in a heated room to feel dry.
See: Air Infiltration and Exfiltration ↗ & Moisture Intrusion ↗
An airtight home would ideally not require a humidifier, and generate the needed moisture make-up from cooking, bathing & dishwashing. However, the concern would be inside air quality of trapped humidity, fumes, odours and gases. A mechanical ventilation system with circulated fresh air would provide the remedy.
About 60% of your home’s (residential) energy use goes to space heating.
When endeavoring on a home project the most impact for energy efficiency and conservation lies with improving the airtight construction, higher levels of insulation, energy efficient doors & windows, efficient heating systems, and heat-recovery ventilators (such as R-2000 homes ↗ which surpass the basic Building Code requirements).
Passive House Overview ↗ & Thermal Protection ↗
Use passive heat sources: human occupants, indoor appliances, and optimized heat use from the sun
Provide constant fresh air and retain heat by using heat recovery ventilation systems
Super insulating the building envelope and minimizing thermal bridging
Using triple-glazed windows with insulated frames
Minimizing heat loss due to infiltration. Draftproofing and air-sealing leaks.
Testing and certification to meet stringent energy efficiency standards for appliances, HVAC, water heaters, lighting, electronics, windows and doors
Compare how much energy a product uses compared to similar models using EnerGuide ↗
Guides: Home Energy Guide by MN Power
Increased Productivity: Time Efficient and Accurate
Cost Effective: Predictive Maintenance
Continued Monitoring: Safety, Security, Remote & Real Time Data
Enhanced Decision Making: Awareness & Insights, Reduced Human Error