Do 'green' technologies make a difference in the long run? A new study hopes to find out

One Kelowna developer will compare cost and efficiency of so-called 'green' technologies when building homes.

UBC and a Kelowna developer have teamed up to study just how efficient 'green' technologies are

A Kelowna developer hopes to find out exactly how sustainable technologies are that claim to be energy efficient. (Associated Press)

Ever wonder how green sustainable and energy efficient new technology and products really are?

A new study out of UBC Okanagan is hoping to gather data that will be able to answer these questions for the public.

"We're a developer here in Kelowna and we've always found there's a bit of a disjoint between the catch phrases like, 'sustainable', 'energy efficient' and 'green' and what that really means to our customers and our builders," Russ Foster of Blenk Development Corporation told Rebecca Zandbergen on Radio West.

His team's solution is to build two homes with the same plan but with one built to current building standards and the other using the latest products and technologies for energy efficiency.

People will then live in the homes for three years while UBC engineers monitor things like power usage and temperature differences.

Foster is the project manage for the Wilden subdivision where the homes will be built.

"We will be able to have some real data to find out how effective [the technologies are] from both an energy efficiency and cost point of view."

What 'green' technologies will be used?

The team is still deciding what the 'green' home will contain, but they will only use products that are readily available to the public, nothing custom-made.

Changes will include:

  • upgrades to the insulation and windows
  • appliances that are energy efficient
  • solar components
  • alternate heating systems

Building costs?

"It will be more [to build the 'green' home], there's no doubt about it, there is just no way to do it without increasing cost. But we'll have some good data about how fast that can get paid back in energy savings," Foster says.

Foster anticipates that there will be savings for the family in the 'green' home, but the only way to know for sure is to do the study.

"People aren't doing it to save money necessarily, that's obviously one of the reasons. The second reason is it's just the right thing to do," he says.

To hear the interview in its entirety, listen to the audio labelled: 'Green' vs. regular homes

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