Housing accounts for approximately 17% of secondary energy used in Canada. While most consumer products have been commoditized globally, housing is built and renovated locally, providing us with the ability to dramatically reduce the home’s energy footprint – ultimately moving towards Net-Zero Energy (NZE) homes.
CanmetENERGY research experts are working to make NZE homes widely possible by developing new market viable technologies and processes. We’re providing our industry with the necessary tools, (such as our modeling software that is downloadable at no charge) to simulate how new energy efficient products and renewable energy sources can be integrated into designs and building practices. Selected software is also currently used by energy evaluators to determine if individual homeowners qualify for Government of Canada’s incentive programs as they make decisions to upgrade their homes.
We work with our homebuilding, renovating and HVAC industry to plan and build more energy efficient housing stock, and upgrade codes and standards. We build upon the current custom site-engineered NZE systems (often estimated to cost $100,000 to $200,000 more than conventional homes) to develop integrated solutions that are market viable (off-the-shelf at a reasonable cost).
Near-zero energy homes, the key industry milestone towards achieving NZE, will require incorporating new technologies and practices in areas such as: wall and window systems, alternative space and water heating systems, energy storage and home energy production. Research work is required to determine how to seamlessly integrate these technologies within the home to reduce whole house costs by fully tapping into opportunities for reduced energy requirements.
We work with manufacturers to assist them to make deeper reductions in home energy use feasible on a consistent basis through their offering of engineered packaged systems to improve efficiency. They are a key player in making new energy efficient technologies commonplace for Canadians as they work to first reduce cost, reduce installation time and ensure that a warranty is offered on the whole system. We work with them to reduce and eliminate existing road blocks for innovative technologies through our work on updating performance standards to reflect the new energy efficient technologies, and to develop collaborations where they can model the new technologies in homes to measure their impact on whole house energy consumption.
Our new research work builds on recent accomplishments that include:
- Monitoring new and innovative products at the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (examples: lighting, shading devices, window coatings, ECM blower motors, and furnace duty cycler motor operation)
- Field trials of new products (e.g. forced air zoned system and integrated mechanical systems)
- Defining the initial performance requirements for NZE homes in Canada (for EQuilibrium®) and working with international counterparts to define common terminology
- Creating and refining the technical requirements for Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) Programs such as those for ecoENERGY® - Retrofit Homes, the Energuide Rating Service for New Housing and R2000 Initiative for new homes
- Enabling the use of integrated energy design processes in the housing market
- Scanning to find promising new technologies for near- and long-term energy reductions in the housing market
- Developing test protocols and standards for innovative products (e.g. integrated mechanical systems and drain water heat-recovery products)