Earth, wind and fire

Alternative power sources for off-the-grid acreage living

Alternative energy sources like wind and solar were once viewed as novel concepts that would never become practical for the average homeowner. Alternative energy sources like wind and solar were once viewed as novel concepts that would never become practical for the average homeowner. However, for many acreage owners and other rural residents, going off the grid – living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities – is catching on in a variety of forms.

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The energy detective

Reducing power consumption is easier than you think

What if we told you that with a few simple changes, you could cut your household electricity consumption in half? It’s possible, and Ron Kube is living proof.

Kube recently installed a solar-power system on his St. Albert home. But before going solar, he checked to see how much electricity his home was using. He was shocked to discover his family was using 70 per cent more than the Alberta average of 7,200 kilowatt hours per year – they were energy hogs.

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Solar 101

Harnessing the sun for all your energy needs

St. Albert’s Ron and Carole Kube had never known anyone with a solar-powered home. Then, in 2014, Ron Kube read a story in the newspaper about a household that installed a solar array. He was surprised to learn they were his former neighbours.

“In fact, the guy was Craig Dickie – he used to live across the street from us,” said Kube. “And I was so excited that I called up Craig and I said, ‘can I come over to the house and see the solar system?’ And he said, ‘yeah, sure, come on over.’ ”

The moment Kube saw the system, he was hooked.

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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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