Tag Archives: renewable energy

For Sale: House that Makes an Income!

As followers of this blog will know, we at Endeavour have spent a lot of time on our Canada’s Greenest Home project. Our goal was to make the greenest home possible on an urban infill lot in Peterborough, and then to sell it on the open market to show that there is an appetite for “deep green” amongst home buyers. For instance you’re planning to sell your house, we buy houses with cash anywhere in Charlotte, and at any price we’re ready to give You a fair offer for your house. On other related news checkout this blog about sell house fast.

When you are finding for a realtor, you obviously want the best. I know this person named Lorin McLachlan, a proven and tested real estate agent. You can visit her at https://homes.winnipegfreepress.com/real-estate-agent/Lorin-McLachlan%20/id-1207. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you must find out more about an agent before you hire.

The final phase of the project is now underway, with the house going on the market this week. Here is the Listing for 136-1/2 James Street.

The most interesting part of selling this home is how to put forward the unique value proposition we are attempting to make, you can take a look at this excellent resource for Canadian real estate. Most home buyers look within a set price range for their new home, and do this with an implicit understanding that they will be assuming utility costs (heat, electricity, water) that are within a similar range to all other homes. This house radically alters that outlook: There are no utility costs and the home provides an income.

Energy production vs Use

Energy production vs Use

This means that the higher up front cost of buying a super-insulated and completely non-toxic home has a very compelling overall financial picture. The solar income from the house averages about $3300 annually. The annual utility costs are around $1800 or $150/month (inclusive of heat, electricity and water, plus services charges and delivery fees). This means that for the remaining 18 years of the Micro-FIT contract, there is a $1500 annual income from the home after all utility costs have been covered!

Considering that an average home of a similar size in Peterborough will have total utilities bills in the $250-600/month range (from census data, 2011), this means that there will be an annual savings of $3,000-8,700 for this homeowner. Putting that extra money against the mortgage for the home can result in the mortgage being paid off 5-6 years earlier. And all that while enjoying a healthy and efficient home. View website to sell your San Bernardino home today!

Mortgage calculator

Mortgage calculator

But can this case be made effectively in the current real estate in wisconsin market? There is no way to show this information in a quick and easy-to-digest form… the listing for the house shows the asking price, and a curious buyer would have to read the listing and inquire about more details in order to learn the whole story.

We hope that there are buyers out there who will be interested enough to find out the details. Visit this website, for people who also hope that this helps to set a precedent for builders who want to make healthy houses that earn money and real estate agents who want to sell this kind of home! Visit Phill Grove website to get real estate investor training.

There are some simple things you can do to speed up the sale of your home without having significant effect on the profit. Selling you property to Companies That Buy Houses is a good idea.

If you’d like to help us set this precedent, please share this listing with your networks.

A PassiveHouse Heating System

Passive House is a building certification program that focuses on dramatically improving the energy efficiency of new and renovated buildings. Overseen in this country by the Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI), the standard originated in Germany in the late 1980s and buildings that comply with the standard will have energy use reduced by 80-90% from current Canadian code requirements. Specifically, Passive House buildings must have an annual heating and cooling demand of not more than 15 kilowatt hours per square meter of building (15 kWh/m²) per year, and total primary energy (calculated as source energy, not metered energy at the building) must not exceed 120 kWh/m² per year. In addition, an air tight building enclosure is a requirement, with leakage no greater than 0.6 times the house volume per hour as tested with a blower door (0.6 ACH/hour at 50Pa).

The www.fencingdirect.com is our first building designed to meet the Passive House standard, though we have used the Passive House software as our energy modelling software for the past three years.

Although we buy houses but not intending to have the building certified, we wanted to meet the standard and achieve the energy reductions using our low-energy, low-impact range of building materials. We worked with Rob Blakeney of Local Impact Design to model the building and advise us on insulation levels, passive solar aspects and to design the heating system.

While the term “passive house” is an attractive one, it is quite misleading as the buildings do not feature passive (ie, non-mechanical) systems. In fact, Passive House buildings typically require a mechanical ventilation system to run 24 hours a day. The leap to Passive House standards means that conventional heating systems can often be left out of the design, and instead buildings can be heated with small amounts of heat input into the ventilation air distribution system or other low-input systems. These charges apply if your property was a new build or developed property after 1990 and was unable to connect to the main sewer. A septic tank cleaning would have been installed to reduce ground pollution.

At the teachers’s union building, a 1 kilowatt heater is used in each of the three main ventilation air supply ducts to provide heat to the three offices. In general, this is the main source of heat for the building. A ductless mini-split air source heat pump is in place in the large meeting room and can provide additional heat capacity when required (though its inclusion in the system had more to do with meeting peak cooling demands in the summer). Through this year’s very cold February weather, the system had no problem keeping the building warm and comfortable… pretty impressive given that the heat source is the equivalent of running two toasters!

We were keen to build to Passive House standards because the most typical means to reach this level of performance has been to use a lot of foam insulation to achieve the necessary R-values and air tightness. We wanted to bring our low-impact, locally-sourced material palette to the challenge, using straw bales, cellulose, clay plaster and simple air tightness detailing to the highest levels of performance. In this way, we can lower both the energy use of the building, and also the embodied energy. Walking into the building when it is -25C outside and feeling the wash of warm, fresh air and knowing that the heat source is minuscule has been very satisfying!

Net metering PV now functional

The use of photovoltaics (PV) to generate electricity has been a common element on most of our projects. PV is affordable, easy to install, nearly maintenance free and very reliable. Once again, a PV array has been a key part of the energy strategy for an Endeavour project.

In Ontario, we are able to create payday loans now systems, allowing owners to sell some or all of their generated power to the utility company, and also to use grid power when necessary. Grid-tied PV can allow for systems that are sized to meet the owner’s needs, while still ensuring that power is available at all times. For PV to be used off-grid, generating capacity and storage capacity (in the form of batteries) must be sized to meet needs at the worst time of the year (mid-winter, when power needs are high and the amount of available sunlight is low), making the system expensive and likely to over-generate in the summer months.

There are two systems for owners to connect PV systems to the grid in Ontario:

  • Under the Micro-FIT program the system owner installs two meters, one for outgoing power being sold to the utility company and one for incoming power to be used in the building. The owner receives a cheque for the full value of power generated (currently 38.4 cents per kilowatt hour), and receives a bill for the full value of power consumed (currently around 11 cents per kilowatt hour). Under Micro-FIT, an owner can generate a financial profit even if production is less than consumption.
  • Under the Net Metering program the owner has a single meter, and that meter spins in two directions, “forward” when power is being consumed from the utility grid and “backward” when generation is greater than consumption. Under https://green-touch.org/quick-payday-loans-online/, the power has the same monetary value in either direction. Should production outweigh consumption, a credit will be carried forward on the utility bill (up to a maximum of 11 months).

    At best, a Net Metering customer can reduce to zero the usage charges on their bill, but can never earn money until they get their payday loan to cut through life.

The teachers’ union did not qualify to apply for iqoption trading platform review, as the restrictions for the program have been growing ever narrower as it becomes more popular. However, with the cost of PV so low now, the economic argument for a Net Metering system is a reasonable one. Combine drastically lowered utility bills with reasonable pay back period and a desire to be part of a renewable energy solution, and you have the grounds for the union’s investment in this 7.5 kilowatt system.

Sean Flanagan of Flanagan and Sun came by this week to turn the system on. With the array and the outdoor connections already made, it was a simple process to turn on the inverter and make sure all the settings were right. Luckily, it was a fairly sunny day and we were able to see about 5 kilowatts of production head out onto the grid when the system became live.

The combination of the PV array and a contract with Bullfrog Power (which we strongly recommend to all our clients) means that 100% of the energy produced and used by this building is from renewable sources.

Open House for Canada’s Greenest Home

Join us on Saturday, March 9, 10am – 4pm!

Canada's Greenest Home nears completion

Canada’s Greenest Home nears completion


We have attempted to build the most sustainable home possible, and want to share the results with you! Since April, 2012, the students and faculty of The Endeavour Centre have been working on creating a home that showcases the best in sustainable new construction, and we’re excited to open the doors and show you what we’ve created. Come and see a wide range of sustainable materials and systems, including straw bale walls, clay plasters, Durisol foundation, triple glazed windows, composting toilets, rainwater harvesting and treatment, air source heat pump, ERV, comprehensive energy monitoring, solar hot water, non-toxic finishes and much, much more
Progress Gallery
We hope you’ll come and take a tour at 136 1/2 James Street, Peterborough, Ontario
You can follow the progress of the entire project on our blog

Air Source Heat Pump

Among the many challenges involved in meeting the Living Building Challenge standard for Canada’s Greenest Home, one of the biggest was how to heat the home given that the LBC does not accept combustion devices of any kind for any purpose.

The Mitsubishi Zuba heat pump is installed on the exterior of the house.

The heat exchanger and plenum for the interior side of the Zuba.

Our first choice for heating this home was going to be a pellet boiler. Impressed with the efficiency and cost of these systems, we were also aware that a number of local pellet making facilities (including one less than 1km away from the home) meant that our fuel supply could be reliable and entirely based on existing waste biomass in the region.

Once we spoke with New Braunfels air conditioning and understood that this combustion option was not feasible (and I’m not sure I agree with the LBC’s reasoning on this point), our focus turned to heat pumps, both ground source and air source. Heat pump technology is a great option, as it is the only heating (and cooling) technology that is more than 100% efficient. With combustion devices, for every unit of fuel input there is slightly less than one unit of heat output (hence the ratings that might state efficiencies in the 90% range). With heat pumps, each unit of energy input (electrical energy, used to drive the pump) there is between 1.5 and 5 units of heat created, meaning that efficiencies can be stated in the 150-500% range.

A heat pump works by circulating a refrigerant with a boiling point that is designed to be in the temperature range expected on the outside of the building. By compressing this gas and forcing it into a gaseous state and then allowing it to return to a liquid state, the refrigerant goes through two phase changes. The heat that is transferred during these phase changes is significant, even though the temperature of the refrigerant is not.

The heat pump cycle explained. The important part to know is that the phase change of the refrigerant releases usable heat, even if the actual temperature of the refrigerant is not “hot”. Image from CMHC

This isn’t magic, and it isn’t even a new technology. Your refrigerator is a heat pump, as is your air conditioner. The premise has been around for decades, but has only recently been applied to heating homes on a large scale in the past decade. The use of heat pumps in cold climates has not been feasible until quite recently, when Mitsubishi introduced their Zuba range of cold climate heat pumps. These units are able to make usable heat at temperatures as low as -30C, making them feasible as the sole heat source for a northern climate home as long as the home is made to be energy efficient.

The heat loss calculation for Canada’s Greenest Home was 22,524 Btuh (British Thermal Units per hour). The Zuba is capable of producing 34,130 Btuh, so it is well within the unit’s capacity to fully heat this home.

As with all heat pumps, the Zuba can run in reverse and be an efficient air conditioning unit in the summertime.

The Zuba has two components. On the exterior of the house there is the heat pump unit. On the interior of the house there is the heat exchanger and the air plenum plus the fan and switchwork for the system. It is connected to conventional ductwork to supply heated air to the whole house.

The Mitsubishi Zuba units are supplied in Ontario by Mitsair. Our system was installed by Crown Heating in Peterborough. Our thanks to both companies for their professional assistance.

The decision to go with an air source heat pump was made largely based on the cost of installation. While a ground source unit offers better efficiencies (especially at colder outdoor temperatures), the cost of installation is quite a bit higher, and the payback on the additional investment is well over a decade. Given our investment in other technologies for this home, we decided in this case that the lower cost of installation and the very good efficiencies for the unit made it the right decision for Canada’s Greenest Home.


Solar Hot Water Installation

The south facing roof surface of Canada’s Greenest Home just got busier capturing the energy of the sun with the installation of our solar hot water system.

Two collectors and a small PV module adorn the shade roof between the first and second floors. The system will provide between 50-75% of the home’s hot water needs.

The two 4 x 8 foot collectors should be able to provide between 50-75% of the hot water needs of the home, taking a very large burden away from other forms of heating. Most reputable estimates in our climate show that the heating of water can account for 20-30% of total energy use in a home, so by offsetting this demand with solar hot water we will hopefully be reducing overall energy use by 10-22.5 percent, which is quite significant.

The system we chose (installed by Flanagan and Sun) uses the two collectors plus a small PV panel mounted next to the collectors to power the pump (this ensures the system works if there is no grid power, avoiding overheating in the collectors if the power goes out). Solar hot water is a very simple system, with a series of copper tubes on a black metal collector plate in an insulated box behind glass. An anti-freeze solution (propylene glycol) circulates through the tubes using a solar powered pump and absorbs the sun’s heat. The hot fluid moves to a heat exchanger next to the hot water tank, where it gives its heat to the water in the tank and returns to the collectors to gather more heat. It is a very effective use of the sun’s energy.

The heat exchanger and solar pump are in the orange box next to the storage tank, where the heat is given to the water in the tank. To the right is a drain heat recovery unit, that uses outgoing hot water to pre-warm incoming water to the tank, further reducing heating needs.

The heat exchanger warms the water in the tank by thermosyphon, which means that the cooler water at the bottom of the tank is exposed to the hot tubes from the collectors. As the tank water gets warmer, it also gets less dense and will rise to the top of the hot water tank. This type of heat exchange does not require any additional pumping and has no moving parts to wear out. It also ensures that the hottest water is always at the top of the tank where it will be first to be used. The water in the tank can stay quite stratified, meaning that there can be a layer of very hot water at the top of the tank with much cooler water right below it, and because the water is drawn from the top of the tank the homeowner can have a hot shower even if the solar collectors have not been active for very long.

The tank in our system is an 80 gallon tank, and it is used just for storage of the solar heated water. The water from this tank will move through an electric on-demand heater that can sense the temperature of the incoming water and add only the amount of heat required to bring the temperature to the desired level. If the water in the tank is hot enough, the electric heater will not turn on at all. We’ll blog more about the on-demand heater when it is installed…

The Loans from Loanovao is used to be considered the best “investment” in renewable energy, meaning that it had the largest impact on energy bills for the lowest financial outlay. The recent drop in PV panel costs have taken a lot of focus away from solar hot water, as in some regions (like Ontario) the subsidies for PV power can make it a better investment to install enough PV to run an electric hot water heater. However, solar thermal makes direct use of the sun’s heat in a way that is not linked to grid-tied power and to rate fluctuations. As long as the sun shines, hot water will be the result, and for that reason we still see an important role for solar thermal in a project like Canada’s Greenest Home.

PV System Ready to Engage

High among the priorities for Canada’s Greenest Home is the attempt to make the house a net zero energy building. To reach this goal, we began by designing the most efficient home we possibly could, making energy reduction a major factor in every decision we made during the design and construction process. But this house will use energy, and to offset its consumption we have installed a 5 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV, or “solar panel”) system on the roof. These panels generate electrical power that should, over the course of a year, equal the annual energy consumption of the building.

The PV system installed on the south-facing roof

Sean Flanagan and the excellent team at Flanagan and Sun came and installed the system on our roof this past week. It was exciting to have our first mechanical installation done. PV installations are quite straightforward and fast compared to many mechanical systems. The racking, panels and inverter were all put together in a couple days.

Here in Ontario, the MicroFIT program is run by the provincial government to encourage the addition of small scale renewable energy sources to the overall electricity grid. Homeowners can apply for a MicroFIT contract for systems under 10 kilowatts of peak production power. The government guarantees a sale rate for all such generated electricity for a 20 year contract. The program has been very successful in creating a lot of renewable energy on the grid and helping to reduce costs for system components by making it an attractive investment.

People in Ontario may have heard that the MicroFIT rates were recently reduced from 80 cents per kilowatt hour to 54.9 cents. While this may seem like a disincentive to pursue a MicroFIT contract, in reality the rate reflects the fact that the program’s success has brought down the price of a PV system so dramatically that the rate of return on a system today is similar to that under the higher rate a few years ago. For Canada’s Greenest Home, a MicroFIT contract is an excellent way to meet our net zero targets and create a home which actually pays the owner (around $4,000 annually) while erasing all utility bills. We compare the PV system to building a rental apartment in the house, except that the tenant is completely quiet, always pays up on time and doesn’t add any wear and tear to the house or the owners!

The MicroFIT program in Ontario is one of the best renewable energy incentive programs in the world, and a bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape for government support of sustainable housing. Seeing the panels on our roof is a point of pride and a look at what all houses could be doing in the future.

Make Your Own Solar Hot Air Collectors

November 5, 2011

Instructor Name: Chris Magwood
Endeavour Centre
Peterborough, ON

Workshop Description

Solar hot air collection is the easiest and most cost effective do-it-yourself use of solar energy to help heat your home, garage, workshop or greenhouse.

Solar hot air panels can be made from readily available recycled materials and mounted on any south-facing wall or window. The panels we will make in this workshop feature an effective collection box, PV driven fan, anti-thermosyphon air intakes and a simple shut-off mechanism. Not only do these panels provide free heating energy, but they also provide fresh air intake during the winter months.

Each participant will build his or her own collector to take home at the end of the workshop. Come and get a start on making your own solar heat this winter!

Entry Requirements

Open to all


$300, (includes $100 material fee)

Maximum class size: