Canadian home builders gathered in Ottawa on March 10 to celebrate their involvement in the country’s largest net-zero energy (NZE) demonstration project that resulted in the completion of 26 NZE across Canada.
Reid Heritage Homes (Guelph, Ontario), Minto (Ottawa, Ontario), Mattamy Homes (Calgary, Alberta), Provident (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and Construction Voyer (Laval, Quebec) were honored for their work alongside Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Owens Corning Canada, both leaders in the project.
In response to global climate challenges, the initiative set out to help advance building science and prove energy efficiency is consumer-friendly and accessible.
“A net-zero energy home loves you back,” said Kevin Lee, chief executive officer of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). “It shelters you from rising utility costs, it delivers exceptional comfort, it works better, and it lasts.”
Measured over a year, a NZE home can produce as much energy as the home consumes, which may result in an average annual energy bill of zero for its homeowner. Preliminary simulations show that net-zero energy-ready (NZEr) homes have a 70 per cent reduction in energy costs compared to comparable houses built to code.
According to NRCan, housing accounts for 15 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. These NZE energy homes can significantly reduce Canada’s energy use, reliance on fossil fuels, and carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
All the NZE homes built through the demo project will eventually be sold to the public. Beyond this project, these builders will offer NZEr homes as a standard or an upgrade on a production scale for their next subdivisions – featuring energy efficiency equivalent to their full NZE houses.
“This initiative helped to debug the adoption process so in future, these measures can be adopted seamlessly.” said Michael Lio of buildABILITY Corporation, a renowned building scientist and manager of the project. “To use an analogy: we have built a road through uncharted territory so that others can drive through effortlessly.”