Future Proofing: Building for Tomorrow
Heating and cooling are some of the biggest energy drains in Canada. Sustainably designed, environmentally conscious buildings are one strategy to reduce consumption – and Canadian corporation FutureProofMyBuilding.com is a key player in this discussion. CEO Shane Wolffe tells Let's Talk Energy why he thinks green buildings should be important to Canadians, and how his company is looking to change the way we consume energy.
"Future Proofing" is being ready for the uncertainty of tomorrow by using current technology to build a more efficient home. We know that fossil fuels are limited, and are the major contributor to climate change. The cost of fossil fuel dependence is likely to rise as resources become more difficult to extract due to geological or geopolitical restraints. Nonetheless, many Canadians are largely dependent on fossil fuels, especially for transportation and heating.
In response to this, I created Future Proof as a way to use my expertise in building science and commercial construction to help the public and my peers within the green building industry. Right now, it can be difficult for people to connect with products and services that can help them be more environmentally and economically responsible. The goal of Future Proof is to simplify information for consumers while encouraging greater collaboration in the green building industry, so that we can all profit while making the world a more sustainable place.
When we tell Canadians about our work at Future Proof, many are surprised by how cost-effective and simple ‘building green’ can be! Our economy is growing fast right now, but I believe we can be growing in a more sustainable way. That power lies with consumers, who have the power to influence what kinds of products and services are in demand. This is what inspired me to write my book and come up with the concept of Future Proof.
A poorly installed window where a draft is coming into the room and down the wall wasting significant energy.
A key element of Future Proofing is Net Zero buildings, which produce as much energy as they use over the course of a year. The most cost effective way to build a Net Zero building is to aim for Passive House standard. The economics behind a Passive House make a lot of sense. A Passive House uses 90% less energy than a conventional home for about 10% cost premium, usually less. If you want to reach Net Zero you can supplement with renewable energy and pay approximately an additional 10% to have a carbon neutral home. The price for renewable energy is dropping rapidly so that premium is dropping. To prepare for this, we recommend construction projects be solar ready so that solar panels can be added when budget and regulations allow.
A common problem: Improperly insulated electrical and cable television sockets. Less evident is the heat distribution register which is cooling the area as well.
Green housing is one of the most significant actions Canadians can do to promote sustainability. Heating and cooling our homes is costly in terms of both dollars and resources, but with future proofing, buildings can be built to produce more energy than they consume! One of the best ways to reduce energy use and save money can come from planning and building efficient homes. It is the smart way to build for a greener future.