eMERGE Guelph

49 Caledonia St., Guelph

The Colvins were faced with a decision to move out of the home they loved or take on some serious renovations in order to fit a growing family. Through careful and deliberate planning, they were able to double the size of their 1980s home while  cutting their energy use in half compared to the Ontario average. At the same time they were able to cut their household greenhouse gas emissions by over 25%.

Achieving 100% Renewable Energy for Guelph is an excellent goal, but we can’t all move into new Net Zero and Passive Homes. To get to 100RE we’ll need to take a look at the 99% of homes that are already build.

In large part this was accomplished through added insulation and attention to air sealing. During renovation this home improved insulation:

  • From R12 to R20 on the main floor
  • From R18 to R40 in the attic
  • From R8 to R16 in the basement
  • Added R30 to the new second floor walls

Since we last saw the Colvins in 2016 they have added to their solar PV (photovoltaic) system to bring it up to 7 kW (previously 5kW). They also have a solar hot water heating system and supplement winter space heating with a high efficient wood pellet stove.

The Colvins have also taken their water use seriously. This home was one of the first in Guelph to be certified as a Blue Built Home. Shifting behaviours and making use of technologies to help them conserve water allows them to use 32% less water than the typical home in Guelph.

The Colvin’s 9,100 litre rain water harvester feeds the home’s toilets, washing machine and gardens. Efficient appliances and water fixtures allow them to make their water savings stretch even further.

The home’s sustainability features include:

  • Drain water heat recovery
  • Solar hot water heater
  • Solar Photovoltaic (electricity) system
  • Wood pellet stove
  • Heat recovery ventilator
  • Central indoor ventilation chimney for natural ventilation – acting as an architectural show piece.
  • Backyard awning providing passive cooling through summer months.