Our Homes

Our Office

Edmonton’s first commercial building disconnected from the electrical grid

An extensive energy retrofit transformed a 70-year-old, energy-guzzling apartment into one of the most efficient office buildings in the city.

Built

2018

Size

1,870 sq.ft.

Built Better

  • Reducing Environmental Footprint
  • Heating Systems
  • Building Envelope
  • Enhanced Home Protection
  • Solar Electric Systems (Photovoltaic)

The Plan

We wanted a space where homeowners would feel comfortable sharing with us their needs and dreams and which would allow ideas to take shape as they collaborated with our team to create unique, innovative homes. We have always felt it is important to practice what we preach, so we knew our new office needed to be as energy efficient as possible. We also wanted to showcase some newer and even experimental technologies that homeowners may one day be able to have installed in their homes.

As luck would have it, an old and inefficient two storey apartment building just around the corner from our previous office was in desperate need of a renovation. But when you don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch, how do you make an existing building more efficient? The answer: through an energy retrofit. By modifying the infrastructure and adding energy efficient technology to an existing building, you can significantly improve its performance and comfort. We achieved that- and so much more- with our new office space.

The Build

The extensive energy retrofit included a total revamp of the mechanical systems. We installed solar panels on the roof and equipped the building with a battery system to store and release as needed the energy produced by the panels.  We added two micro combined heat and power units to heat the office. We ensured the building envelope was airtight by adding spray foam on the interior side of the walls, which acts as both insulation as well as a vapour barrier.

If you thought that was enough, just wait!  On the outside of the walls, 5.5 inches of rigid foam insulation was added as well, further increasing the efficiency of the building. Upgraded triple pane windows and insulated doors completed the building envelope. As we designed and built our new office space, we collaborated with utility suppliers to find new ways to deal with utility use and consumption, using our building as a way to test out new opportunities.

Even now that construction has been completed, we are proud that our systems are monitored by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and used as an educational tool for furthering the accessibility and effectiveness of energy efficient construction methods.

Our retrofitted building produces 80% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the original building. Not only that, our mechanical upgrades allowed us to completely disconnect it from the City’s electrical grid. The result is an attractive, contemporary, comfortable and functional office, operating with minimal costs, right in the heart of the Bonnie Doon neighborhood.

This project is very exciting as it’s much more than a renovation. It enhances the neighbourhood and showcases an innovative way to generate all power onsite, while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Les Wold
Managing Partner, Effect Home Builders

Solar panels

Sixteen solar panels on the roof slope south to collect and provide electrical power to the building.

Solar Electric Systems (Photovoltaic)

Batteries

Six lithium ion, 6.6kWh smart batteries were installed to store excess energy from the solar panels and distribute when necessary. Through special technology, the batteries are tied together to optimize performance.

BASF HP+® wall system

We wanted a durable and airtight exterior for our office building, so 2.5” of purple WALLTITE spray foam has been used as a vapour barrier, with 5.5” of BASF Neopor graphite insulation. We’ve added an extra 2.5” of mineral wool insulation in between the studs to further increase efficiency. These 2 products give a value of R-40.

Building Envelope

Micro Combined Heat and Power

Two micro combined heat and power (mCHP) units supplement the sun’s energy when necessary by using natural gas to generate electricity on-site. Not only that, the mCHP units capture excess thermal energy that would normally be lost and use it to heat the office.

Tilt & Turn Windows

European style tilt & turn Windows have superior airtightness and efficiency with locking rubber seals and minimal temperature transference. These triple pane windows have insulated glass and low-e coatings which are designed to let the sun’s rays in and prevent heat from getting out. These features are optimized for energy savings and sound reduction. With such effectively controlled ventilation, we drastically improved the comfort and air quality of our building.

Effect Home Builders

Build your dream home

We can’t wait to help you build the home you’ve always wanted. Contact Effect Home Builders today and find out how we build it better.

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Build your dream home