Michael Layton – Personal Reflections Reaching Net Zero Housing Standards (Winter Forum #3 Summary)
This forum presented Mike Layton’s personal reflections on reaching net zero housing standards. Mike is now devoting much of his time to energy savings issues with respect to climate change.
Mike gave an inspiring talk about how he and his family have converted their century-old Toronto house from a fossil fuel guzzler scoring 134 on its first energy audit to an impressive score of 22.
He outlined the eight steps it took to reach their goal of stepping off the fossil fuel bandwagon. He assured us that there are several financial assistance programs that can make this transition feasible for most homeowners. The first step is to get an energy audit done to establish a baseline. Various suggestions are made through this audit regarding what can be done to better your score. Mike`s house score of 134 was not very good!
The next step, number 2, was to add insulation to the outside walls and in the attic, then, 3, replace the single-pane windows with better-fitting double-glazed panes. The doors needed upgrades too. A significant step, 4, was to install an air heat pump, which provides both heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. On all but the coldest days this system only needs some auxiliary direct electric heating, part of the installed system, to keep the house warm. Step 5 is to replace the hot-water system with an on-demand hot-water supply that can take advantage of warm basement heat via the technology of a heat pump. Next, number 6, was the change of the gas stove top to an electric induction system. Mike showed the benefits of this by saying how remarkably quickly the stove could bring a pan of snow to a rolling boil. He also pointed out how safe it was for his daughters to use as the surface does not get hot. Next, a big-ticket item, 7, was to install solar panels on the roof. Some of any excess energy can be sold back to the grid or stored in a battery wall repurposed from a Tesla car battery. This battery can be used for household needs and provides a nice insurance of having power for essentials in the event of a power outage.
All this work led to the impressive final energy audit of 22, and a very livable abode.
Mike ended his talk with some financial data, showing that his overall cost was about $57,000 after a roughly $8,000 government rebate. He then outlined some successful measures that are being taken in the city to enhance our progress towards an energy-efficient environment for us all.
There followed a lively Q and A session, which provided us with more insights into how we can attain some of our goals towards energy sustainability.