This Vancouver mansion boasts the usual markers of ultra-opulence: water views, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, sprawling property. But this stunning 8,338-sq-ft home takes luxury a step further with low-emission heating and cooling, and a roof that recirculates rainwater.
If you want to save money, why not pay attention to utilities, a small detail of day-to-day life, that's draining your money?
The benefits of healthier, less polluting homes and workplaces can be realized in both new and old buildings.
Solar thermal advocates are fond of reminding us that homes, especially those in Canada use about 70 per cent of their energy for heating. As solar photovoltaic prices continue to plummet, some net-zero home builders have started pairing solar PV with air-source heat pumps for space heating and electric resistance water heaters to produce hot water.
It's not always easy to separate the energy used to heat your home from that used to power lights and appliances, heat water, and charge electronics. For example, there are two different electricity rates (or tiers) charged by your utility. After consuming a certain amount of energy each month, you start being charged at a higher rate. Both B.C. Hydro and FortisBC also charge a fixed amount on each bill, in addition to charging for the energy you consume. You can see how it might be difficult to understand the costs and benefits of different heating options.
By setting the bar so that new homes and buildings perform better and pollute less -- at no additional cost -- we are taking an important step toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and bringing construction standards in line with those being adopted across Europe and North America. The city's new policy will save us money, expand the number of jobs in green construction, and benefit our health. It's an exciting blueprint for what will become the new normal in construction in B.C. and across Canada.
If people change their lights and use more energy-efficient appliances, who cares if they believe in climate change? The focus should be on demonstrating how they are freeing up money for other spending, protecting their jobs by making their workplace more competitive and slowing the expensive expansion of the power system.
With the new federal budget, Canada's government is sending a strong signal that it intends to follow through on its commitment to curb carbon pollution from our homes and buildings. By focusing on social housing, the budget also signals a resolve to ensure energy efficiency will benefit all Canadians.
Building energy benchmarking is a key tool for enabling informed and sound decision-making in energy management. Requiring reporting enables governments to prioritize and evaluate policies including regulation and incentives, while public disclosure enables the real estate sector to measure and value high performance buildings.
In 2015, the city of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, achieved the highest level of wind power integration in North America. While the province of P.E.I. is already a leader with 26 per cent of its electricity coming from wind power, the City of Summerside Electric Utility has ratcheted that up to an astonishing 46 per cent by adding a smart grid with energy storage.