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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Skies clearing for solar

Solar’s appeal is growing for Calgary homeowners due to falling costs, and rebates

With the cost of solar power generation dropping, and a provincial rebate program launching, it’s a pretty good time to be living in the sunniest city in Canada.

More homeowners are investing in solar as it becomes more economically viable.

In the past, many who embraced it traded the wallet shock for the feel-good vibes of reducing their ecological footprints.

That’s the original reason Michael Betzner added solar to his Bowness home about eight years ago.

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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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