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 What is green building?

This is a good question, one that requires an expert to answer correctly. To write my book, “How to Future Proof Your Home: A Guide to Building with Energy Intelligence in Cold Climates” I asked the most knowledgeable green building expert I know.

Robert S. Dumont, Ph.D. is essentially Jedi Master Yoda when it comes to energy efficiency. For this reason, many of the techniques discussed in the book are directly derived from or related to his knowledge and expertise.

Dumont has been working with energy efficiency since the early 1970s. He was involved with the development of the Saskatchewan Conservation House, Canada’s first low-energy house incorporating passive solar, active solar and super-insulated construction. Many of the techniques used in this project were then copied and used in Europe to create the ultra-low energy Passive House standard (Passivhaus in German), which is used widely in Europe and is considered by many to be the best standard in the world for ensuring energy efficiency in construction projects.

Green buildings have fresh air

From 1974 to 1975, Dumont also helped develop the first residential air-to-air heat exchanger in Canada. This is a device that is now widely implemented in residential construction projects in cold climates because of the energy that it saves while providing proper ventilation to a space. Dumont has since sat on the Canadian Standards Association Committee for Mechanical Ventilation.

From 1979 to 1990 Dumont worked as an Associate Research Officer for the Institute for Research in Construction and the National Research Council, specializing in energy conservation, air leakage and air quality in buildings where he performed surveys of the air tightness of residential buildings and helped develop air tightness details for new construction. Dumont co-developed the residential energy analysis software program HOTCAN, now known as the HOT-2000 program. This program is used extensively for modeling construction projects to determine their energy requirements.

From 1990 to the present Dumont has worked as a researcher and consultant specializing in building energy efficiency, building envelopes, indoor air quality and indoor environment research. This involved a wide range of energy efficiency activities including commercial, institutional and residential building energy audits, integrated design of new institutional buildings for energy efficiency, whole building air tightness tests, standards development work for housing agencies including the National Building Code of Canada, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, demonstration projects including the Canadian Advanced Houses Program, the Saskatchewan Advanced House, and the Factor 9 Home.

Green Buildings are well insulated

It’s no surprise that one of the worlds pioneering green building experts would use his knowledge to build a superior home. Dumont’s own house in Saskatoon was built in 1992 and was considered the best insulated house in the world for several years, having been measured to use 85 percent less energy than a standard construction home.[i] To read more about his house and how he cost effectively built a home in Saskatchewan without a furnace, click here. Dumont is also the designer responsible for the VerEco home, which aims to become the first net zero home in Saskatchewan.

Dumont has written over 50 publications in the areas of Energy Efficiency, Indoor Air Quality and Solar energy. He has also received several awards, including Solar Person of the Year 1988, the 1998 Bright Award for Innovation, and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association 1998 William M. McCance Award for outstanding contributions to the Canadian housing industry in the technical area. To sum it up, Rob knows his stuff.

Dumont has helped define what is green building and his work has saved countless energy. I have a great deal of gratitude for sharing his knowledge with me in order to write my book. If you would like to know more about green building from a simplified perspective, check out the book, “How to Future Proof Your Home: A Guide to Building with Energy Intelligence in Cold Climates”


[i] As determined by British efficiency research David Olivier. Discussed in Home Energy (magazine), May/June 2000.