‘Retrofit Revolution’ Keynote address at November’s BC Green Building Conference

Lorraine Gauthier, President of The Now House Project Inc. will give the keynote address at the November Green Building Conference in Kimberley, BC. Here’s the conference synopsis of the address:

The spotlight has been on building new homes that are more energy efficient and sustainable. But what about the huge stock of older homes across the country? In 50 years, two thirds of Canada’s existing homes will still be here. Will they be the energy hogs they are today? Or will we start a retrofit revolution before it’s too late? Join Lorraine Gauthier as she describes the vision and approach behind Now House -- the transformation of older houses to net zero energy homes -- and explores a business model for achieving zero energy retrofits on a community scale.

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Now House supports Maple Ridge BC Community-Scale Retrofit Project

In February, Lorraine Gauthier, President of The Now House Project Inc. was invited to present the concept of a community-scale retrofit project to district government and interested homeowners at the Maple Ridge District Council Chambers. Maple Ridge BC is home to historic craftsman style homes the product of a cedar mill still operational in the community. Early this summer Lorraine facilitated a design charrette involving a diverse group of people from the community with different points of view and expertise. The objective of the full-day event was to develop a shared vision for the community-scale retrofit project. The attached report captures the charrette process and outcomes and has served as a catalyst to move the project forward. Watch the short YouTube video for a few charrette moments.

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Now House Windsor 5 Case Study Shows Most Cost Effective Retrofit Model for Energy Reduction

The Now House Project set out to test the feasibility of retrofitting older homes to reach zero energy use. They started with a 1½ storey post-war house – a unique Canadian housing type that brands many communities in Canada. The first Now House® was completed in 2008 and was one of 12 winning projects in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Equilibrium Sustainable Demonstration Initiative. The Now House Windsor 5 project tested five different approaches to deep energy retrofits in order to identify the most cost effective model. The attached report provides a description of the retrofit process and energy analysis of pre and post-retrofit outcomes. The most cost effective model was identified and a scaled version of it was used in the subsequent retrofit of 100 similar wartime style bungalows in the community achieving excellent economies of scale.

Read the Case Study

Sustainable/Renovating Housing Forum 2013 Kamloops, BC

Lorraine Gauthier, President of The Now House Project Inc. will wrap up this upcoming conference held in Kamloops, BC at a public lecture: Reduce Your Energy Bill to Zero at 7 pm Kamloops Convention Centre. The Forum, hosted by the Central Interior, Canadian Home Builders’ Association is focused on building and renovating for the future. Topics include everything from Building Code to Electric Cars.

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CMHC EQuilibrium™ Housing Forum 2012 (Vancouver, BC) Now House presented at Public Lecture Series, Simon Fraser University

"True Stories: Sustainable Action" was held October 23 – 24, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia. This national sustainable housing Forum provided in-depth information, analysis and discussion on some of the most sustainable houses ever designed and built in Canada, focusing on sharing lessons learned from five CMHC EQuilibrium™ Sustainable Housing projects. Now House®, the only retrofit project of the 11 homes was presented at the public lecture concluding the 2-day forum held in Vancouver drawing a crowd of 300 to the Simon Fraser University Public Lecture Series.

During the 2-day Forum presentations were made by: Harmony House, in Burnaby, BC by Habitat Design + Consulting Ltd. And Insightful Healthy Homes Inc.; The Green Dream Home, in Kamloops, BC, by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Central Interior (CHBA CI) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU); the EchoHaven project in Calgary, AB by the Echo-Logic Land Corporation and Bow Crow Design/Sunergy Systems Ltd.; and the Urban Ecology project in Winnipeg, MB by the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation (WHRC).

The CMHC EQuilibrium™ Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative brought world-class sustainable housing examples home to Canadians. With 11 EQuilibrium™ Housing projects constructed across Canada, including two in BC, the Vancouver forum provided learning opportunities about these near/net-zero, low environmental impact homes.

In addition the Now House® retrofit project in Toronto, ON, by The Now House Project Inc. was presented in a free public lecture at Simon Fraser University.

Now House named ZERO HERO


(Toronto)- At a reception held on the eve of GreenBuild, the world’s biggest green building conference and expo The Now House Project Inc. was awarded Retrofit Project of the Year Award by the Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition and celebrated as one of the year’s Zero Heroes.

The Now House Windsor 5 project, which was completed in the Windsor community of Bridgeview in 2010, was recognized for achieving close to net-zero energy use in Model 2 of that project.

The Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition competition is an international competition with awards recognizing projects and builders responding to concerns about energy security, energy cost, health and climate change.

“Our aim is to encourage builders and renovators to strive to achieve net-zero energy use,” said Gary Hamer, from B.C. Hydro and current president of Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition. “We define a net-zero home as a house that produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis”.

The Now House Windsor 5 project retrofitted five homes for the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation in search of the most cost effective approach to energy savings for many similar houses in their portfolio. Now House was recognized for Model 2 -- a home retrofit package that achieved savings of: 60% gas, 42% electricity, 63% water and reduced GHG emissions by 5.5 tonnes annually. This home also achieved zero energy cost by earning more in solar generation rebates under Ontario’s FIT program than it paid for post-retrofit energy costs.

The evening’s other Zero Heroes included:

  • Custom Project of the Year: Discovery 4 by Avalon Master Builder and SAIT Polytechnic, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Production Project of the year: SunSmartPV (SM) St. Croix Home by LifeStyle Homes, Melbourne, Florida.
  • Product of the Year: PV Awning by Habitat Studio & Workshop Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Champion of the Year: Peter Amerongen, Edmonton Alberta.

Now House Opens Windsor Near Zero Energy Home


Taking a significant step forward in energy-efficient and environmentally responsible housing, Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation and The Now House Project today opened the Now House Windsor 5. Five post-war bungalows in the Bridgeview North community have undergone deep energy retrofits to reduce energy bills, save carbon and create homes that are warm and environmentally healthy to live in. With the help of solar panels, two of the five houses are expected to have an annual energy cost of zero.

One of the five homes was open for viewing today and visitors were given the opportunity to see energy improvements from spray foam insulation on basement walls to a hydronic heating system that uses solar energy to produce heat and hot water for the home. A game for kids tests their watt IQ and history buffs and builders could watch a movie about how wartime houses were built in a matter of hours. Open houses will be scheduled over the next several months with the next one on Saturday, October 31, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We are committed to working with tenants and community partners to make our portfolio greener," said Jim Steele, CEO Windsor Essex CHC. "The Now House Windsor 5 project gives us valuable experience with implementing energy conservation measures on our existing single-family homes. We are testing five different approaches and plan to use what we learn on future projects and share what we've done with the community through open houses like the one today."

"Energy use in the residential sector has steadily increased over the past two decades," said Lorraine Gauthier, President, The Now House Project. "For the sake of the planet and future generations we have to stop that trend. The energy improvements we've made to these five houses shows that it can be done even on older houses."

The Now House Windsor 5 was carried out with the help of numerous Windsor trades and builders, local suppliers and manufacturers including: Meloche Windows and Doors, Rainbow Painting and Decorating, ProTrade Mechanical, BASF Canada, Spray Systems, Tiger Foam Canada and Advanced Solar Solutions.

The project had generous support from sponsors such as the Ontario Power Authority, Whirlpool Canada and JamesHardie.


Now House Wins Green Toronto Award


Mayor David Miller, Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone and environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. announced the winners of the Green Toronto Awards last night at the Direct Energy Centre. In a year with the largest number of nominations, Now House took home the Green Design Award which goes to a company or project working with infrastructure, architecture or industrial design.

Now House is the near zero energy retrofit of a 60-year-old wartime home in Toronto - a home that produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis. The retrofit reduced green house gas emissions for this home by 5.4 tonnes annually, reduced electricity use by 60% and will enable the home to produce enough energy to pay its own energy bills.

With the residential sector contributing 24% of Toronto's green house gas emissions, a Now House retrofit of 5,000 similar wartime homes in Toronto would reduce emissions by 27,000 tonnes on an annual basis. The Now House team's ambition is to inspire the deep energy retrofit of a million wartime houses across Canada.

Finalists in the Green Design category included Artscape Wychwood Barns and Monica E. Kuhn, Architect Inc. for green residential design. Green Toronto Awards recognize Torontonians for their contribution to greening our city.

Green Toronto Awards Press Release.

Come to our first community event in Windsor: Saturday November 1


Tour the Now House demo house: Friday October 17, Saturday, October 18, and Saturday, November 15 from 2 — 4 pm


Now House Grand Opening draws a crowd.


The first Now House was officially opened on Wednesday September 10. Read what treehugger had to say about it!

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For the Media

Now House involves homeowners in reducing energy consumption and green house gas emissions through home retrofits. This timely topic has an impact on all of our lives. Our unique approach to the issue blends the lives of those who currently dwell in wartime bungalows scattered across Canada and technological advances in environmental sustainability. As the Now House project becomes the model for retrofitting WWII era communities, both privately owned and publicly owned, every neighborhood will offer narrative and each house a story waiting to be told.

Now House has been featured on the front page of the Real Estate section of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, National Post, CTV and more. Lorraine Gauthier, President, The Now House Project Inc. has been a guest at several conferences on sustainability and is available for speaking engagements.

With the evolution of our business to include a model for the net zero energy retrofit of 2-storey brick homes and other ubiquitous housing forms, the interest in Now House will grow.

Click here to download high-res images of the Now House.

For more information, photos, or interviews, please contact us at