Edmonton's first off-grid office A tour of Effect Home Builders' newly renovated headquarters

Effect Home Builders held the grand opening of its new office in Edmonton's Bonnie Doon neighbourhood on March 22, 2019. Mayor Don Iveson and TV host and builder Mike Holmes helped mark the occasion.

Founded by alumni Dave Brettelle (Carpenter '05), Dale Rott (Carpenter '96) and Les Wold (Applied Banking and Business ’92, above), the company focuses on energy-efficient cosntruction and renovations.

“This is a phenomenal addition to the neighbourhood. It’s a proud day for Edmonton to have this kind of leadership in the city.” - Mayor Don Iveson

The building meets its energy needs partly through a solar array on the roof. Any excess energy it generates can be stored in batteries located in the basement of the office building.

Micro combined heat and power units in the basement represent the office's only connection to an energy utility. These use natural gas to generate electricity when solar can't meet the demand. They make heat as a byproduct. That heat is captured for use in the hot water tank and also in the forced-air system used to heat the building.

Jim Sandercock, chair of NAIT's Alternative Energy Technology program, also attended the grand opening.

"[It's] the perfect marriage for the Alberta context," he said of the combination of solar and micro combined heat and power.

Effect upgraded the building envelop to an insulation rating of R-40, compared to R-11 to -15 in most homes. "You can cool it with an ice cube and heat it with a candle," said Mike Holmes.
“It enhances the neighbourhood and showcases an innovative way to generate all power on site,” said Effect managing partner Les Wold. Since the renovation, the building produces 80% fewer emissions.


Leigh Kovesy

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