By Aaron Thornell –
SMARTNet Alliance, in conjunction with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, will be hosting Ottawa’s Green Energy Doors Open (GEDO) September 30 and October 1. SMARTNet Alliance is a group that seeks to catalyze Ottawa’s movement towards a green energy city.
This is SMARTNet Alliance’s third year behind GEDO Ottawa, a free event in which individuals, communities, and businesses share their renewable energy projects and successes. Events include green energy and electric vehicle showcases, both to be taking place at Lansdowne Park on September 30.
These showcases will include a panel of electric vehicle owners sharing their road trip travel experiences, an electric vehicle garage, as well as two energy efficient tiny homes designed and built by Carleton University students. Meanwhile, participating individuals and businesses all across the city are inviting the public to explore their green homes and offices and to learn more about green energy projects and green infrastructure.
“SMARTNet Alliance is a green energy business incubator, and the green energy industry is where we operate,” says Raymonde Lemire, the Alliance’s Business Services director. “So obviously, events like GEDO fit in perfectly with our mandate.”
Understanding and sharing rapidly evolving trends in the environmental sector is a primary focus for the Alliance. Through a variety of services, it supports organizations and businesses that promote environmental sustainability and provide fair and well-paying jobs for their employees.
Of equal importance to the Alliance is their role in organizing community events and public discussion on green energy and related issues. They host Ottawa’s monthly Green Drinks
gathering at Elgin Street’s Fox and Feather. All are welcome to join in discussions on green energy, sustainability, and the environment.
Among the host locations participating in this year’s GEDO Ottawa is a Hintonburg-area home owned by Mark and Megan Rosen. The couple and their two daughters are nearing completion of their home, located at 105 Bayswater Avenue, which they hope to certify as a Passive House (also known as a Passivehaus).
Certified Passive Houses are homes that meet very high energy efficiency standards. In areas with cold climates like Ottawa, home heating contributes the lion’s share of one’s carbon footprint.
“On the scale of global environmental impact heating energy in a climate like ours is a greater challenge than almost all the other factors combined,” says Mark. “So it really made sense to start there, and to start with the Passive House heating target.”
Mark is the lead architect and Passive House consultant on the home. He says that in the time that he and his family have been living there (close to one year), they have used nearly 80% less energy heating their home. The house employs a shallow geothermal ground loop, an energy recovery ventilator, an electric heat pump hot water tank, and is grey-water ready.
While there are only a handful of Passive Houses in the greater Ottawa area, Mark is hopeful that this won’t be the case for long. “I believe that, not too long from now, there will be a time when the market recognizes that this is a better way to build houses, with products becoming more available,” says Mark. “And at the same time, you will have regulations coming from the other end, pushing houses towards this standard.”
Cities in Canada like Vancouver are beginning to incentivize Passive House construction through the relaxation of certain regulations for those undertaking the certification process. They are also introducing stricter energy efficiency measures in their new building code called the “Step Code” in which there are numerous tiers of energy efficiency targets. Over time, the tiers with the lowest targets will begin to drop off, causing a gradual shift toward more and more energy efficiency.
This article is part of a series about environmental initiatives in Kitchissippi ward. We welcome your ideas and feedback! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Read other articles in this series right here.
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