It’s time Canadians insisted on better energy efficiency in the construction of their homes. In Calgary it’s estimated that the average family home accumulates $150-$300 per month in utility costs. No doubt that other cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Winnipeg follow suit.
In an article by Green Energy Futures earlier this year it’s stated that “Heating a typical single family home in Canada takes up 60 per cent of that family’s total energy consumption”. Given these facts it’s a wonder that Canadians don’t have more of a sense of urgency to find ways to save on energy costs.
For a country rich in resources we don’t have the same sense of urgency to look for low-cost, renewable alternatives as Germany for instance. Starting in 2009 in Berlin, Germany all new homes were required to install renewable energy heating systems under a new law called the Renewable Energies Heating Law.
The difference is that in Germany “what’s good for the goose (the government) is good for the gander (the people)”. The country does not have a the natural resources to produce all that is required. The deficit is large enough that there is cause for concern and so the public is encouraged to find ways to produce their own. Some residential and rural areas create their own energy sources through solar and wind technology. In Canada we are aware of these alternative energy sources, but we don’t seem to be catching on like the Germans and other Europeans. The fact is that Canada produces energy, Canadians seem more than happy to pay and the government seems to be satisfied with Canadians spending their hard earned dollars on it. What is the dollar figure or convenience quotient for Canadians to take energy production into their own hands? This technology exists certainly exists, be it solar, geo-thermal, wind or windows!
There are some Canadians looking for alternative solutions to the monthly financial drain of energy costs. Effect Home Builders, based out of Edmonton Alberta, is the contractor responsible for the innovative project Belgravia Green. This collaboration between Effect Homes, home owners and local experts is to design and build Net Zero homes that produce as much energy throughout the year as they consume.
CMHC details the criteria for energy efficient Net Zero homes:
- Reducing energy loads through a high-performance building envelope and energy-efficient appliances and lights;
- Increased use of passive-solar cooling and heating techniques;
- High-efficiency mechanical systems that match the lower energy requirements of the home;
- Space and water heating assisted by commercially available, solar thermal systems and heat pumps;
- Electrical use offset by grid-connected, commercially available photovoltaic (PV) systems.
It’s not a surprise to us that all three homes at Belgravia are airtight with Energy Star Rated, argon gas filled, triple pane windows and that’s of course part of what we’re getting at here. The environmental experts know that that capturing energy with your windows part of the solution.
Let’s avoid droning on about what we already know is true though and just celebrate the environmental /architectural masterpieces that defy the norm. More homes like this need to exist because they save energy and they look beautiful! Thank you to Effect Homes for being part of the solution.
References: Edmonton Journal , Effect Homes, Green Energy Futures
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