What is a Net Zero Energy home? Image

What is a Net Zero Energy home?

By Lucas on Oct 16, 2015

Last month, Reid’s Heritage Homes set a new standard of building, completing the first Net Zero Energy home as part of a national demonstration project that aims to show how Net Zero homes can be built on a community level and actually be affordable for the everyday homebuyer. The home was built in Guelph’s Westminster Woods community, where four more Net Zero Energy homes will be built by spring of 2016.

Being the first builder in Canada to complete a Net Zero Energy home is a groundbreaking achievement, but what does Net Zero actually mean? Basically, the home produces as much energy as it uses. But how?

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There are so many questions that everyday homebuyers have about sustainable technology, and they’re right to have them because the way we talk about sustainability in Ontario and across the country is confusing. There are multiple energy-saving organizations and forms of measuring energy consumption, like ENERGY STAR and EnerQuality, EnerGuide, LEED, Better Than Code (BTC), the HERS Index, Greenhouse, etc.

There’s no way everyone can keep up and even the terminology used is confusing. Reid’s Heritage Homes has put together a series of videos to explain the different features of a Net Zero Energy home, and we highly recommend that you watch them. We’ve included them all here with a brief description about each one.

Renewable solar power

The roof of Reid’s Heritage Homes’ Net Zero Discovery home has photovoltaic solar panels, which converts sunlight to energy to power appliances and lighting. It is possible for the solar panels to create more energy than necessary, so the surplus can be stored in a battery bank for later use. This Net Zero Discovery home can actually be powered for up to three days completely off the grid.

Fresh air systems

The energy recovery ventilator (ERV) operates with high performance motors that uses as much energy as a fluorescent light bulb. This system ensures that fresh, clean air is constantly circulating throughout the home.

Advanced building enclosures

Airtightness is the first step to building an energy efficient home. If the home leaks air, then it doesn’t matter how much high tech mechanical you have working for you. Weather stripping, triple pane Low E windows, and high quality insulation are just a few features that help the home reduce outside noise and air leaks.

High efficiency water solutions

Did you know that the heat in your warm water going down the drain can be recovered to help preheat incoming cold fresh water? This is valuable energy that most homes let go to waste! The home also has a Rheem hot water tank, which improves water delivery efficiency.

Ultra efficient electrical

The Electrolux appliances in Reid’s Heritage Homes’ Net Zero Discovery home reduce energy consumption by 30%, which is more energy efficient than ENERGY STAR. Also, the highly efficient Broan bathroom fans feature energy saving motors that are quiet and only consume 6.6 watts.

Home comfort systems

Heating and cooling capabilities are super important when it comes to your home comfort. The systems set up in the Net Zero Discovery home maintain an efficient and smooth flow of air depending on the outdoor temperature, which means no more sudden blasts of cold air when the temperature rises.  

If you are interested in touring Reid’s Heritage Homes’ Net Zero Discovery home, you can visit livenetzero.com and schedule an appointment. As soon as you step through the front door, you really notice a difference; believe us, we’ve been inside!

Social media contest

Also, Reid’s Heritage Homes is holding a contest at the Net Zero Discovery home. All you have to do is snap a selfie in the home and post it to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #LiveNetZero for a chance to win one of three solar backpacks! This contest ends at the end of October, so tour the home soon!  

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