Deep energy retrofits

Are you living in your future net-zero home?

Have you ever dreamed of living in a net-zero home? According to Peter Darlington, that dream might be closer than you think. In fact, you might already be living in your future net-zero home.

Darlington runs Solar Homes Inc., a Calgary company specializing in renovating existing homes into net-zero homes, which produce as much energy as they consume. Net-zero might seem like a remote, ambitious target, but Darlington insists it’s more attainable than you might think. In fact, his first green renovation project was on his own 1980s-era home.

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Reaching for the sun

University research looks at solar solutions to multi-storey challenges

New research at the University of Calgary could lead to condominium and apartment high-rises being retrofitted to become energy-efficient and green-energy-producing buildings.

Caroline Hachem-Vermette, an assistant professor of architecture in the Solar Energy and Community Design Lab at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, is looking at new ways to optimize solar capture on multi-storey buildings to help offset their energy use.

“Most of the buildings that exist now will be existing in 50 years, so we really need to move in this direction,” said Hachem-Vermette, whose interest in the area came out of wider research she did on the design of mixed-use solar communities.

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Bare BONES

Net-zero technology promises to revolutionize homebuilding

As provincial and federal building regulations become more focused on sustainable development, BONE Structure founder and CEO Marc Bovet has seized the momentum and is helping to reshape the way we think about homebuilding.

After a personal homebuilding project went sour 10 years ago, Bovet, fuelled by frustration, took it upon himself to innovate a better way to build.

He talked to people, researched and looked at the ideology behind Lego, eventually coming to the “aha moment” that formed the premise behind BONE Structure.

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Tesla of homebuilding

Net-zero homes teetering between niche and mainstream, say experts

A net-zero home may soon become the Tesla of modern homebuilding.

Avalon Master Builder president Ryan Scott – whose company, in 2008, built its first of three net-zero houses in partnership with SAIT – said while consumer demand for green housing technologies is growing, there is still a ways to go before they become mainstream, given the added price tag.

“A certain number of people will put their money where their mouth is and buy a net-zero home (homes that produce as much energy as they use), just as they do for a Tesla (electric car that used to start at about $75,000 US).”

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Low-cost lifestyle

Five tips to go net-zero without the hefty price tag

Calgarians seeking a more net-zero lifestyle don’t have to rely soley on big-ticket solar panels, geothermal heating and other energy-efficient technologies, say experts.

“There are plenty of little things people can do in their homes to move toward a net-zero lifestyle that aren’t necessarily costly,” said Areni Kelleppan, executive director of Green Calgary, a non-profit urban environmental organization that encourages Calgarians to live greener.

Don’t know where to start? No need to worry: CREB®Now asked some green experts to offer up a few low-cost ideas to walk a more net-zero path:

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