SPARKING a Revolution: How Mike Holmes & Effect Home Builders Are Influencing Home Building in Alberta

At Effect Home Builders, our mission is to show Canadians that green homes are the future of housing — and we work hard to prove exactly that. We’ve proudly received many accolades for the quality and innovation of our net-zero energy houses, including the 2011-2018 Environmental Recognition Award from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and being named the 2018 High-Performance HP+ Builder of the Year. Even so, convincing people to welcome new building techniques can be a challenge, especially when their homes are concerned. Sometimes it helps to have an expert on our side whose knowledge is universally recognized and trusted beyond a doubt.

Enter Mike Holmes, one of Forbes’ Most Trustworthy Celebrities and a panelist at this year’s upcoming SPARK 2019: Carbon Positive conference. Holmes’ tireless support for sustainability, net-zero energy construction, and clean energy standards across the housing industry make him an ideal partner for our organization. Adding his credibility to our vision successfully allowed us to complete the first Holmes Approved Homes program in the city of Edmonton — the first of what we all hope will be many more sustainable construction projects in the region as we all move towards a cleaner future.

Holmes Approved Homes

Mike Holmes: A Champion for Net-Zero Energy Building

Mike Holmes is quite simply one of the most recognizable names in home renovation. A contractor since the age of 19, Holmes went on to star in the hit television show Holmes on Homes, where he developed a reputation as a quality builder with a high-integrity, no-nonsense approach to renovation and remodeling. Numerous spin-offs followed, along with the publication of two books: Home Renovation with Canada’s Most Trusted Contractor and Holmes Inspection: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy or Sell Your Home. A Reader’s Digest poll from 2010 named him the second-most widely trusted person in Canada, behind only David Suzuki.

For several decades, Holmes has made it a priority to improve building standards and to promote sustainability throughout the industry. In 2006, he was officially recognized by the Canadian House of Commons as an “accomplished master builder with a social conscience” and an “extraordinary craftsperson”. In 2009, he joined COP15 — the United Nations’ conference on climate change — as an advisor to the Canadian Government.

SPARK 2019 and How Good PR Helps Renewable Energy

SPARK 2019: Carbon Positive is an event presented by Emissions Reduction Alberta, with the goal of bringing clean-technology innovators and investors together to explore new ways of creating a low-carbon economy for the province. As a famous advocate for both sustainable living and high construction standards, Mike Holmes is an ideal speaker for the event, whose skills and experience will be invaluable in convincing everyday Albertans that high-quality, environmentally-friendly homes are both realistic and attainable.

Events like SPARK 2019 are crucial platforms for high-profile activists like Holmes to raise awareness about green energy initiatives in a province famous for its loyalty to non-renewable resources such as oil and gas. Furthermore, events like this can succeed in challenging widespread assumptions about green technology being economically unrealistic or unreliable. The city of Calgary hosted the largest solar energy event in the nation last May, partially because of Alberta’s success in securing Canada’s lowest solar energy rates. That kind of good publicity may very well be part of the reason many former oil workers are transitioning out of the sector to pursue careers as solar workers — with or without help from the provincial government.

Still, change is slow to arrive in many parts of the province, which is why Holmes and others like him need to constantly prove the value of their ideas. By teaming up with him for the Holmes Approved Homes program, we’ve managed to create a success story that Holmes can use to show people at SPARK 2019 the real value of building high-quality net-zero energy homes in Alberta.

Leading By Example: Our Success with Holmes Approved Homes

Effect Home Builders and The Holmes Group came together in 2013 to create the first Homes Approved Home in Edmonton. The project initially focused on new home construction. Over the next few years Holmes Approved Renovations were added to the portfolio, which most recently involved renovating an Edmonton apartment building from the 1940s in order to make it one of the city’s most energy-efficient offices. By using solar battery systems and other cutting-edge technology, we were able to take the office completely off the city’s electrical grid and reduce its CO2 emissions by more than 80%. The project also received considerable support from the Natural Gas Innovation Fund, and from ATCO — which supplied brand-new equipment for producing electricity and heat with natural gas during periods of low solar energy production.

Mayor of Edmonton Don Iveson says the project is inspiring as a symbol of what can happen when the public and private sectors work together on sustainable initiatives. He also says it is his hope “to see more partnerships and innovations like this, as they help us with adapting to climate change by transitioning to a low-carbon future,” and that “SPARK represents a great opportunity to hear more about initiatives like this.”

Building a Clean Future for Alberta

SPARK 2019: Carbon Positive kicks off on October 28th and lasts until October 30th. During that time, speakers from around the country will share their ideas on how to reduce emissions and build long-lasting clean energy infrastructure that will make a meaningful difference in Alberta and other provinces.

Mike Holmes will speak at 3:45 PM on Wednesday, October 30th. With him will be Dale Rott, a founding partner of Effect Home Builders, accompanied by Edmonton City Councillor Ben Henderson and ATCO Vice President of Customer Experience & Innovation Graeme Feltham. Come hear for yourself how partnerships like ours can grow the economy while reducing our impact on the environment as we continue working to fundamentally transform Alberta’s homes and offices.

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