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Conversion of delivered energy to primary energy

rheinett | Posted in PassivHaus on

I am looking for the factor that allows me to convert delivered energy (electricity in kWh) to the primary energy.(kWh) value. Location is British Columbia where most of the electricity generated is hydropower if this would have an impact on the ratio of primary energy to delivered energy. Many thanks.


  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Here is an article with information on the topic: Understanding Energy Units. (Scroll down to the section that begins, "What’s the difference between 'site energy' and 'source energy'?")

    Most sources use a ratio of 3.34 to 3.37 for grid electricity. Obviously, the ratio for hydroelectricity can't be calculated in the same way as the ratio for a coal-burning or gas-burning power plant, however. Further complicating the calculation is the fact that British Columbia's power grid is tied into the Western states of the U.S. through the "Western Interconnection." More information here: Understanding Primary/Source and Site Energy.

    According to another source, "For the two locations, British Columbia in Canada and (average) USA, it can be seen that the emissions rates are much higher on average in the United States than they are in British Columbia."

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2
  3. jinmtvt | | #3

    What exactly is implied here ?
    That used energy at point location as delivered as a loss factor 3X something ??

    What are the implications exterior to informative value ?
    Why are you interested in that info ?

    Cheers from QC of Hydro

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Read the links!

  5. nvman | | #5

    Maybe Manfred wants to ensure that he is using a environmentally responsible source energy?

  6. rheinett | | #6

    Thank you everybody for your contribution, in particular, thanks Martin for the detailed references, lots of info in there.
    I also got in touch with CanPHI and PHIUS, the factor they apply at the moment for converting site energy (electricity) back to primary energy is 2.7 kWh/kWh consumed as a blended international rate.
    The reason I am interested in this info is not that we are building a PH as such. We are building on Vancouver Island, also a land of hydroelectricity, to high standards of insulation and air tightness, and had a HOT2000 analysis done in the planning stage. We did not set out to build a PH. The recent blower door test in the pre-drywall stage returned a very good result with 0.45 ach@50Pa, and this then made me curious to actually determine where we are with regard to the other two prescribed PH standards, based on the data from the HOT2000.
    This doesn't necessarily mean anything since we did not employ and don't plan to pursue the PHPP, which would probably generate different numbers, but I just want to get an idea of where we are actually heading. And based on the HOT2000 data and the 2.7 factor we would be below the 120 kWh/m2/yr. Once moved in we will monitor the actual power usage data over time, made easier by the fact that we are only dealing with grid electricity as power for the house. We have also planned for PV panels to get to net zero energy eventually.
    Aaron, yes, I am also interested in using environmentally responsible source energy and that's why I had signed up with Bullfrog power for the building phase.

  7. jinmtvt | | #7

    Martin: i'm sorry ..very very time limited recently.

    Manfred : What are the current incentives in BC for PV ?
    Have you used the Hot2K urself or was it done by someone else ?
    Would you share your consumption figures ??
    Lastly, i'd like some construction details and how you believe you achieved ur ACH number !

  8. rheinett | | #8

    Incentives in BC: zero for new construction, up to about $1500 or so if you put PV on your "used" home, so we are actually thinking of delaying this part for 6 months after moving in since then a home qualifies.
    HOT2000: We hired a professional to do that for us, he had also done the energy analysis for one of the projects in the Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Initiative of the CMHC.
    Once numbers are being generated and accumulating I would share them, yes, if somebody is interested but we are still 2-3 months away from moving in.
    Construction details: I have to talk details with our builders, I am myself not very much into detailed construction issues. Generally: 4" of Roxul Comfortboard IS on the outside of exterior walls, then Tyvec stapled and carefully tape-sealed, plywood and then 5.5" of Icynene oc foam in the wall cavities. An average of 11" Icynene oc foam under the roof deck. I will have to come back to this when I know more details.

  9. islandguy | | #9

    Hi Manfred
    I'm curious with your blower door testing whether you tested to PH standards.
    I assume you know that with Passive House standards the blower door test is
    done both in pressurized and de-pressurized modes and the average value is
    taken. Also the PH standard has a detailed protocol for conducting and
    recording the BDT procedure and values. I would be interested to know who
    performed your Blower Door Test because to my knowledge there is no-one
    on Vancouver Island who is currently certified/trained in Passive House standard
    blower door test procedures. I leave quite close by so maybe will get to see your
    place sometime. Sounds nice. Yes it's frustrating but my understanding is that
    at the moment there is not a conversion factor for source energy for Canada that
    reflects regional generation differences.

  10. rheinett | | #10

    As far as I am aware of the blower door test was done in depressurized mode only, as required by R-2000. We are building to the R-2000 standard and had one done early at the pre-drywall stage to make it easier to fix any identified leaks. I didn't know about the PH double-mode requirement and if PH protocol was followed this would have been pure coincidence since the goal is R-2000 compliance (1.5ach@50), not PH compliance as such. The test was done by Richard Kadulski of Vancouver during his R-2000 pre-drywall inspection.
    If you are interested in dropping by sometime get in touch with me at [email protected].

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