A Brief History of Homesol
This all got started some thirty-seven years ago, when interest in “superinsulated solar homes” like the Saskatchewan Conservation House was being spurred on by the oil embargo followed by the energy crisis. Limits to Growth was a bestseller, people worried about the end of oil, and nobody was talking about climate change. That’s when I bought my first blower door.
In the early 1980’s, after university and a few years in the bio-science field, I learned about energy auditing at Cornerstones, and energy-efficient homebuilding at Shelter Institute, both on the coast of Maine. I apprenticed with some of the best contractors in Eastern Ontario, including Kevin James, John Calendar and Oliver Drerup, and was a Licensed Carpenter by 1983 (to the concern of my dear mother, who often said I was “just a carpenter”). I attended the first R-2000 Builder Training course in Canada that same year, and had the pleasure of working on some of the most energy-efficient homes of their time.
I spent eight years working in residential construction and five more in commercial before starting my first construction company in 1993, specializing in building and renovating Earth Friendly Homes.
In 1996 the IPCC sounded the alarm about impending climate catastrophe. They also identified the built environment as the largest cause of global warming, and the residential sector as having the easiest and most cost-effective solutions already at hand. Simply by making homes more healthy, comfortable, durable and cheaper to operate, we could also help ensure a better future for our grandchildren.
In 1999 I met Kathryn, and we launched Homesol Building Solutions as a family business (incorporated in 2011), with the mission of helping owners, designers and builders to create energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.
Kat and I were among the first NRCan-Certified Energy Advisors in Canada. We inspected and tested thousands of existing homes together for the EnerGuide for Houses program, talking with homeowners about their housing needs, problems and desires.
When the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program began in 2005, we labelled the very first ENERGY STAR home in Canada together with our partners at EnerQuality, and we have been working with professional builders and developers ever since. Homesol’s team of consultants have delivered almost 20,000 home energy evaluations.
Homesol CEAs received the EnerQuality Evaluator of the Year award in 2007, 2011 and 2015, based on the recommendations of our clients, and in 2014 I was honoured with the EnerQuality Hall of Fame award for making a lasting impact on energy efficiency and green building, and Green Renovation of the Year for our own LEED Gold / R-2000 / Net Zero Ready retrofit.
We feel privileged to be making history with you as we make this transition to more sustainable and regenerative buildings. Inspired builders, designers, homeowners and policymakers like you are creating a new world, where soon our homes will sequester carbon and contribute more clean energy to the grid than they consume, and will even power our self-driving electric cars.
As I write this message today, our first grandchild Maya was born to my son Ian and his wife Margarita. For the sake of her generation and many more to come, I look forward to a future where homes that make a positive contribution to our global environment are simply known as… home!
Thank you for working with Homesol, and for reading our not-so-brief history.
Ross Elliott, Founder and CEO
Homesol Building Solutions Inc.
January 6, 2015