Sunday, March 13, 2016

One year (almost) of energy use data from our new SuperGreen home

Below is a chart summarizing actual month energy use data for the last year from our new SuperGreen Laneway Home in downtown Whitehorse.  This home is rated as an EnerGuide for Homes rating of 89--just about the highest so far for the Yukon.

The graph shows in blue total actual energy use (electricity because the home is electrically heated too) and in red is the predicted energy use from the energy model created when the house was planned and built.

Since winter 2015-16 has been unusually warm I've "normalized" the actual energy use data to average winter conditions.  That way it takes out the effect of a warm winter.

Also I've adjusted the modeled energy use data for one occupant.  The "standard" conditions used in the EnerGuide rating assume a family of four.  So, I took that out of the model to better compare apples-to-apples.

What this shows is this house too is performing better than expected.  Overall, it has used 19% less energy than the model predicted.  This is a similar result to our SuperGreen duplex built in 2011 that uses about 30% less than predicted.

A few interesting things in the graph for 704B Wood St above.  You can see energy use "spike" in November and February.  In both of those months the garage was heated and "occupied".  In November my friend used the garage for about two weeks as a framing shop; and then in February Georgi and her friends setup a pop-up craft shop for a week.

I was worried this house was using more energy than predicted, but now that I see all the numbers in, I'm pretty happy with the results.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Who I'm voting for in 2015 Municipal Election and Why

Historically I always felt voting was a "private" matter.  But this year, I've become more engaged in the Whitehorse municipal election, primary through the Whitehorse Urban Cycling Coalition (  So I thought I'd share my thoughts on this election.

What I'm looking for primary is candidates that will work towards a sustainable future for Whitehorse.  Something we can afford and creates a high quality of life.  What we do know is that the automobile is a killing us financially, socially and of course, environmentally.  The car is a dead-end.  Yes, I own and operate not just one, but several automobiles.  And yes, we will never be "car-free." But what we need to do is work really hard to build a community where we can minimize the usage automobiles so we can afford the future we want.

We see that when we have people-oriented development, it is a much lovely town, as opposed to car-centric development.  I've traveled and explored communities that are moving away from the car, and they are so much richer places to be.  Unfortunately, in Whitehorse we've inherited a town that has been built for the car.  We need to deal with that sad reality.

The WUCC put together eight questions for the candidates and to date we've gotten an amazing 15 complete written responses from the 25 mayor and councilor candidates running  (you can see the questions and answers on the WUCC website).  If you look at the question, there is a lot more going on there than just "give us more bike lanes".  In fact, what I find is that the candidates responses are are pretty good proxy for how well they share my vision for a sustainable community.

So, based on this, my councilor picks will be (as of today):

  • Helen GEISLER - quite cycle supportive and what I thought were some smart measured answers to some questions.
  • Betty IRWIN  - She did not benefit from participating in cycling as part of her generation, but seems open minded and supportive of sustainable transportation and has practical experience with council. 
  • Roslyn WOODCOCK - downtowner and totally supportive of sustainable transportation.
  • Jocelyn CURTEANU - good positive commitment to cycling, but probably needs more information about the importance of good, contiguous cycle infrastructure to open doors for more of the community.  
 Yes, just 4 I guess.  The point was well made that you don't need to vote for all six positions.  If you don't know them (or are only voting based on name recognition), then don't vote for them!  Really, you are stealing votes from yourself for the candidates you DO want in.

Now, who NOT to vote for.  Well, based on the WUCC feedback, there are a few candidates who, in my mind, are clearly "yikes, not friends of bikes:

  • George ARCAND
  • Dan BOYD
And the zeros (candidates who did not respond to WUCC's queries in any form) are:
  • Mike TRAVILL
  • Garth BROWN
Remember, voting is sexy!



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sustainable Design Elements Signs from Open House - 704B Wood Street

Thanks to everyone who came out to our open house at 704B Wood Street last week.  And an even bigger thank you to the hard working team who made it possible.

A number of folks asked if they could have a copy of the sustainable design information signs around the building, so here there are for your perusal:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

This heat pump Goes Up to Eleven

EnergyGuide label on the mini-split heat pump installed to heat our new Super GreenHome.  It goes up to eleven!  Note that the efficiency scale bar on the bottom of the tag only goes up to 10.2.

This is a Fujitsu Extra Low-Temperature Heating mini-split air-to-air heat pump.  The manufacture claims it operates down to -26oC.  We've had it installed for only a month now, but we did have a -25oC morning.  I went out to check and it was purring away making heat.

More pictures to come...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Come see the Yukon's Second LEED Registered Home

Come see our little SuperGreen laneway home - it's nearly finished!  This is arguably* the most energy efficent home in the Yukon, scoring an EnerGuide rating of 89!  The home is registred as a LEED Canada for Homes project and really is a model of sustainable housing in Whitehorse.

So come for a visit and tour - Friday April 3rd - drop by between noon and 7pm.  Note that this is a laneway house, so access it from the alley between Wood and Jarvis Street, between 7th and 8th.  

* Why do I say "arguably", well so there is one other home in Whitehorse recently rated at 89, but it is a big home and they used a big heat pump to score so well--the current EnerGuide rating system is not kind to small homes.  ALSO, Habitat for Humanity's triplex built out at Champagne & Aishikik First Nation's Takhini River subdivision scored a 90, but again they cheated by putting whopping 14kW photovoltaic array on the building.  It's building envelope isn't as energy efficient as ours, but the big renewable energy generation raises their overall EnerGuide rating.  Either way, these are all great, high performance homes and the debated about who's most efficient really is becoming a fun academic game.