The Age of Affordable Net-Zero Homes
Welcome to the future, a time when your home is energy self-sufficient and produces almost no utility bills.
Landmark Homes of Edmonton has announced a net-zero home that sells for just under $400,000. This new price point means the goal of making all new homes net-zero by 2030 is now a potential reality.
With plenty of natural light and its own garage, The Pisa is a beautiful 2-storey, 1,230 sq. foot home built to specifications beyond the building code.
Leading a tour of the home, Tanya Rumak, Landmark’s sustainability manager, places her hand on the basement floor and suggests we do the same. It’s warm to the touch.
“Insulation under the floor,” Remak says. Yup, foam insulation encases the home.
“We have an R80 attic insulation. We have an R27 above grade exterior wall, and that includes exterior rigid insulation that minimizes thermal bridging. And in the basement, we have R36, which is a fiberglass and mineral wool combination. And then underneath the basement floor, we have two inches of insulation which is R8,” explains Rumak. All that insulation does a great job of keeping heat and air from leaking.
To provide fresh air the home uses a heat recovery ventilator that recovers 75% of the heat in the air before exhausting stale air outside. A similar system recovers heat from water exiting the home.
As you shower, hot water goes down the drain. The solution is heat-recovering copper tubes that retain up to 15 degrees C from hot water.
The Pisa is so efficient it requires 60% less energy than a code-built home. In fact, it doesn’t even need gas for heating.
“We don’t have gas coming to this home. This is an electrically-powered home that is run off the solar panels on the roof,” says Rumak.
The heat-pump furnace, heat-pump hot water heater and ventilation system all run on solar power. So, no gas bill.
The only bill you get is for power. “For the majority of that year, you may actually even be running on credits, which means you’re not paying anything. But there may be those few months out of the year in the winter where you have a small bill,” says Rumak.
A net-zero home has no drafts, no cold spots, is super quiet and very comfortable. And there is another kind of comfort. “It’s the comfort of mind that I’m talking about, not having to worry about what’s going happen to my bill next month,” says Mananni.
The timing of Landmark’s affordable net-zero couldn’t be better. In Edmonton, work has begun on Blatchford, the city’s carbon-neutral neighbourhood. It will someday be home to 30,000 people.