Your home energy assessment explained

In our continuing video series, we explain what you need to know about home energy assessments, including how we take the data that we collect and turn it into an easy to follow road map for retrofitting your home and realizing energy savings.

Post updated February 2018:

Ontario Homeowners: Interested in up to $5,000 plus additional incentives from the new Ontario Home Energy Conservation Program, including a professional Homesol home energy assessment? Find out more and book today >

Nova Scotia Homeowners: Get a Homesol home energy assessment to help you qualify for up to $5,000 in incentives and $25,000 in financing to make your home more energy efficient, all for only $99! Find out more and book now >


Video: What is a passive house?

We’re doing more on video in an effort to make engaging, easy to review content for our viewers. In this video, find out quickly what distinguishes a passive house from other forms of construction.

You can read more about this construction method and Homesol’s Certified Passive House Consulting services here.

We can help!

Give Homesol a shout if you’d like to find out more about how we can help with your passive house project.


From Moose Factory

Moose River sunset

Wah-chay (greetings) from Moose Factory, a Cree village surrounded by water, at the mouth of the Moose River on the southwestern tip of James Bay. A few days ago, a polar bear was spotted out at the garbage dump.

Kathryn and I have just wrapped up Week 1 of training four new First Nations energy advisors – Eric Gunner, William Cheechoo, Wilbert Visitor and Charles Visitor – who will be helping families in their community save money and stay warmer this winter.

Most homes here use electric resistance heating and electric water heaters, at regular Ontario Hydro rates, and these houses barely even met the minimum energy standards in force at the time of their construction. In a climate with over 6,000 Degree Days C, and long, cloudy winters that get colder than -40 at times, with about 5’ of snow on the ground by February, annual household energy bills of over $6,000 are quite common despite the very modest size of most homes here.

Considering that “energy poverty” is defined as when a household spends more than 10% of their income on home energy, and most families here earn less than $25,000 / year, high energy bills are hurting everyone’s ability to afford good food, take care of their family’s basic needs, have reliable transportation, plan for their children’s education or to maintain any savings in the bank. It’s a serious quality-of-life problem, with relatively simple solutions. Keep following our blog to find out how!

It’s humbling to know our time here in this community is so short, and our contribution in the bigger scheme of things is infinitesimally small. We can’t solve the problems of First Nations housing and energy poverty alone, but we’re going to do our best over the following weeks to leave the new MoCreebec Energy Advisors team with the skills and tools they need to help make a difference in their own and other communities.

The guru can be found in the most unexpected places. I’d like to share a story – a poem, actually – that was passed along to us on the way here by Bill Jones, an 82-year-old fellow who lives south of Cochrane. He was on the side of the road selling blueberries, so we pulled off and chatted for a bit. After we’d paid for our basket of wild berries, he leaned in and gave us some good advice for our journey ahead, something he’d memorized back when he was a child:

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:

Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

The Indispensible Man by Saxon White Kessinger

About that polar bear: Black bears are shy, mostly vegetarian and usually steer clear of people, but when a polar bear comes into town it means they’re hungry and dangerous. People are food to them, so there was no alternative for the community than to dispatch the animal, which was done with thanks, regret, respect, reverence, ceremony and offerings, followed by sharing the meat and making use of the hide, nothing was wasted.

We’re learning many life lessons on our journey….



A road trip to Moose Factory

After three days on the road for the 1,000-kilometer drive to Cochrane, via our niece’s wedding in Toronto, we’re finally on the Polar Bear Express to Moose Factory today.

Ross & Kathryn Elliott
Ross & Kathryn Elliott, Homesol Building Solutions Inc.

Homesol is heading north to train a team of MoCreebec Eeyoud Energy Advisors who will soon be able to help their Northern Ontario communities to live in healthier, more comfortable and energy-saving homes.

The Honda Fit is fully loaded with supplies and strapped down to the flatbed car at the front of the train, and we’re enjoying the five-hour trip to James Bay, gearing up for whatever lies ahead.

Wherever we go from one end of the train to the other, we know from all the laughter that whatever else may follow on this journey it’s going to be fun working with Cree First Nations!

Polar Bear Express car carrier
Polar Bear Express car carrier

Ontario homeowners can save BIG with new energy rebates

Ontario home energy assessments and comfort

Would you like to qualify for up to $6,530 in incentives from the new Ontario Home Energy Conservation Program, including a fully paid-for professional Homesol home energy assessment?

With more than 20,000 home energy assessments under our belts and focusing on home energy efficiency since 1999, Homesol can help you take best advantage of the Ontario Home Energy Conservation Program.

If you’re a homeowner or landlord in the Eastern Ontario regions covered by the program, you’ll want to find out more.

Book with us today, and Homesol’s local team of energy savings experts will be there on your schedule to do a full top-to-bottom inspection of your home.

For additional program details, to book with a real person, or if you would like to confirm if your postal code qualifies, please call Homesol toll-free at 844-782-0660.


State-of-home requirements

In order for a home to be eligible for an EnerGuide rating, please be sure these conditions are met before booking your evaluation:

Mechanical systems
Required mechanical systems must be on site at the time of the evaluation. The space heating system must be present and appear to be (or have been in the case of heating system failure) capable of keeping the interior living space at 21 °C (69.8 °F) in the winter.

Windows, doors and skylights
Windows, exterior doors and skylights must be installed and intact. A maximum of one window, exterior door or skylight can be missing provided the opening is temporarily air sealed in accordance with the airtightness test. Any broken glazing shall be air sealed for the duration of the airtightness test.

Building envelope
The building envelope must be in a suitable condition for an airtightness test. Exposed ceilings, exterior walls and exposed floors, including the interior finish, windows, doors and skylights, and foundations must be intact. Exterior finishes not intended to be a component of the air barrier system do not need to be complete where the validity of the airtightness test is not compromised.

Any renovations that are under way at the time of the Basic Service can affect only interior partitions and must not alter the building envelope. In exceptional circumstances the air leakage may be assumed based on the year and condition of the house, but subsequent air sealing would not qualify for any incentives.

Electrical power source
There must be a 15 amp, 120 volt (3 prong) alternating current (AC) power source and receptacle available to operate the blower door test equipment. This may be a temporary power source, such as a generator.

Ontario Homeowners

Click here to book your home energy assessment >

Nova Scotia Homeowners

Click here to book your home energy assessment >


All About The House Radio Segment with Brian Perkin and Ross Elliott

Ross is a regular guest on Lake 88 in Perth. Hear about the new Home Energy Conservation Program grants, learn about new and existing homes energy ratings and certifications, and get some guidance on where to invest your home energy retrofit efforts for best results.



Join Our Team

Job Posting – Homesol is Hiring!

Position: Energy Advisors (v.15 EnerGuide for Houses qualified)

Job Locations – Ontario & Atlantic Canada: Primarily Ottawa / Perth region.

Are you passionate about helping builders, designers, renovators and homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy? Are you ready for a long-term career with a company dedicated to making a real difference through healthier, more comfortable, affordable and sustainable homes?

Homesol Building Solutions has openings for Energy Advisors (EAs) to help deliver both new and existing home energy efficiency consulting services, including EnerGuide Rating System (v.15), ENERGY STAR, R-2000, LEED, Passive House and Net Zero Homes.

No subcontracting, no piecework, no boom & bust cycles; we hire our EAs as valued team members. As a Certified B Corp we’re committed to high ethical, environmental and social standards that include meeting the Employment Standards Act and beyond – providing fair wages, predictable hours, income security, vacation and holiday pay, EI and CPP contributions, employee group benefits and disability / life insurance package, bonuses, all equipment, training, and vehicle coverage; we don’t expect our Energy Advisors to have to pay their own expenses, buy their own equipment and insurance or carry any of our cost of doing business. All we ask for in return is that you deliver value to our clients and our company.

On the other hand, if you are currently an experienced, self-employed Energy Advisor anywhere in Ontario or Atlantic Canada and you PREFER to run your own business and cover all your own expenses and overhead, including your own marketing and scheduling, rather than being employed as a Homesol team member, we may consider contracting with you on a business-to-business basis under very specific circumstances. Homesol’s Service Organization file management and quality assurance fees are absolutely the lowest in Canada by far, but we will only work with established Energy Advisor businesses with a proven track record; if you fit this bill and want to work with an ethical business partner, please provide us with your qualifications (including business registration number and professional & general liability insurance), then let’s talk. Please be advised that initially proposing to work with us as a self-employed subcontractor disqualifies you from being hired as an employee.

Applicants must either have a valid NRCan Certified Energy Advisor number qualified to deliver EnerGuide Rating System v.15, and ENERGY STAR v.17 OR must pass the new NRCan Foundations, Energy Advisor and ENERGY STAR exams before being hired (link to self-study training materials provided on request). Competencies to be successful in this job include:

•Site Safety
•Client Communications, Report Writing and Computer Skills (HOT2000, Outlook, Word, Excel, SketchUp)
•Geometry and Numeracy
•Building Envelope Assemblies (Air Barriers, Insulation, Windows, etc.)
•Basics of Canadian House Construction and Deep Energy Retrofit Methods, incl. current building codes
•Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems
•Building Science and the “House as a System” Approach
•Blower Door Testing
•The EnerGuide Rating System v.15
•HOT2000 Modeling in v.11 including cost effective deep-energy Upgrades

Prior HOT2K energy modeling, blower door testing experience and familiarity with energy conservation and green building principles an asset. Applicants should be physically fit, able to climb ladders and carry equipment. Must be personable and outgoing, have good English oral and written communication skills and interact well with builders, designers, trades and homeowners. Own cell phone, reliable vehicle, good driving record, proof of car insurance and criminal record check are required, willing to travel regularly to jobsites within 120 kms. of home. Trustworthy, organized and able to work independently without constant supervision. Candidates should possess high standards, have good time management, follow instructions and deliver accurate results.

Initial job responsibilities include:

  • Conduct residential energy evaluations
  • Prepare and provide reports and labels to clients
  • Organize, update and submit electronic file documentation

This is an entry-level position. No prima donnas need apply; regardless of your qualifications nobody starts out at the top salary. Ninety-day probationary training period, show us what you can do! Base salary after 3 months, and annual pay increases, depend on demonstrated experience, competencies and qualifications. Additional training, continual professional development and long-term career advancement will be provided to successful candidates.

We can change the world, one house at a time. Join our team, heal the climate, reduce energy poverty (including in First Nations communities), and help deliver advanced new and existing homes built with respect for seven generations.

How to apply in writing:

Please send your CV including the dates you wrote and passed your three (minimum) NRCan exams, your related credentials and relevant work experience, with a Cover Letter outlining why you want to work for us and believe you’re a good fit for being a long-term member of Homesol’s team, to:

Ross Elliott

  • e-mail: relliott mask homesol.ca
  • or mail to: Homesol Building Solutions Inc., 53 Herriott Street, Suite 202-B, Perth, ON K7H 1T5

(Note: applicants who don’t follow these simple instructions will be disqualified)

Homesol is an NRCan Licenced Service Organization and an equal opportunity employer.




Sustainability: It Doesn’t Cost the Earth


Done right, sustainable building choices will save you money, help the environment and add value to your home. Why on Earth settle for less?

Residential, commercial and institutional buildings can easily enjoy fresh, clean air and comfortable temperatures year-round, with a substantial reduction in energy use over standard construction, while addressing water use, indoor air quality and environmentally-preferable materials.

Minimizing energy use is the key to reducing carbon emissions, and forms the foundation of green building and ecological design. It’s also one of the few upgrades that actually pays for itself and always grows in savings over time. But how do you know how far to go, and how to get there, and what results to expect in the end?

Homesol’s energy modeling, verification and certification services help make the invisible, valuable. We’re a local building consulting team with an international reputation, outstanding qualifications and over three decades of hands-on construction experience. If you are a builder, designer, homeowner or policymaker, we have solutions for you. Give us a call.

We don’t design, build, sell, install or endorse any products or services, nor do we receive funding from other sources, we simply deliver precision building science and stringent quality assurance as your  unbiased third-party advisors, looking out for your best interests and the success of your projects.

We help YOU to design and build energy-conserving buildings. Nobody does it better.

  • EnerGuide, ENERGY STAR, LEED, R-2000, Net Zero, Passive House
  • Blower door testing, verification, labeling & certifications
  • Residential energy modeling & ratings
  • Green building assemblies, products and equipment specs
  • Heating, cooling, ventilating and hot water systems design & selection
  • Hygrothermal & thermal bridge analysis
  • Energy or Ventilation Design Summaries & F-280-12 heat loss / gain reports
  • Building-science-based professional advice & training
  • Home Energy Assessments

Homesol provides better building solutions for today’s more sustainable and energy-efficient homes.

For your best value in green building and energy conservation consulting,  contact Homesol Building Solutions today.

At Homesol, we’re committed to changing the world by transforming how we build and renovate homes. Read more about Why Homesol is your best choice.


Soap Bubble Insulated & Shaded Greenhouses

The LivelyUp soap bubble greenhouse uses a dynamic foam insulation and shading system for a cold-climate permaculture solar greenhouse in McDonalds Corners, Ontario, growing organic produce year-round without fossil fuels. The world’s first successful hoophouse prototype was constructed by Ross & Kathryn Elliott of Homesol Building Solutions on Sept. 11, 2001, and operated continuously for over 5 years, to as low as -39C. The current 2,000 SF double-layer commercial greenhouse uses 30” – 60” of liquid bubbles, integrated with “Flying Concrete” end walls and rainwater collection for automatic drip irrigation of the compost / soil raised beds. A solar chimney provides no-power summer ventilation, with heat-recovery air exchange in winter. Future PV solar modules will make this growing environment self-sustaining, resilient, and net-zero energy.

If you would like a set of concept plans of the soap bubble insulated and shaded greenhouse, please send $200 + $26 HST to relliott@homesol.ca by e-transfer, and an electronic copy will be sent to you within 2 working days. Greenhouse consulting is also available at our regular hourly rates, upon signing a consulting contract and first purchasing of a set of plans so we’re “on the same page”! We built this greenhouse in 2001, and operated it continuously for over five years, nobody else in the world has our experience and background, so if you’re looking for a consultant to work with on your own project, we can help!

Ross was involved in the construction of a “sola roof” bubble glazing research facility for Richard Nelson in 1985 in Montreal, based on previous work including an expired patent by Swedish inventor Zelon (US No. 3672184, June, 1972) for insulating shop windows with soap bubble foam. Professor John Groh at University of Arizona measured R3 per inch for soap bubble greenhouse insulation in 1968, while AHRAE research by Shamim & McDonald in 1995 measured R1 per inch. In 1995, Bill Sturm built a 12,000 SF tomato greenhouse with a soap bubble insulated roof in Calgary, Alberta and measured an 84% energy savings at -20 F. Research in 2006 by Ruth and Andy Lera in the Yukon demonstrated the economic superiority of this technology for northern climates. Freezing (liquid phase change) enhances thermal performance, overheating is eliminated, and natural lighting is unaffected, ensuring optimal year-round plant growth.

A presentation by Ross Elliott at the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in Victoria, BC on August 23, 2002 put this technology firmly into the public domain, and all materials and equipment needed to build your own are available off-the-shelf. DIY plans, foam concentrate & bubble greenhouse design consulting are available from Homesol.

Transforming Northern Greenhouses