Net Zero Residential Housing On The Rise

net zero housing

An Edmonton church is providing land for what’s set to become the first net zero energy multi-family building in Canada.

The 16-unit non-profit townhouse development on the site of Westmount Presbyterian Church will have geothermal heating, solar panels, good insulation and efficient appliances and lights, designer Peter Amerongen says.

“We’re pretty sure we can get it net-zero energy. It would be the first multi-family net-zero building in the country of that scale.”

There might be some Canadian duplexes and triplexes that meet the goal, which means the amount of energy they use annually is approximately equal to the renewable energy they create.”

But there are few structures anywhere in the world similar to the one proposed, Amerongen said, adding Edmonton’s 35 net-zero homes and one commercial building make it the national leader in this field.

“You would be comfortable at -25 C with two hair dryers (for heat) in one of these units.”

Construction will cost less than 10 per cent more than a typical townhouse, an expense that will be easily recouped from savings on the utility bill, he said.

He hopes the project will help determine whether Habitat’s approach could be applied in Blatchford, intended to be a carbon-neutral community for 30,000 residents at the former downtown airport.

interior-1026454_1920Habitat Studios have been involved in several projects:

  • Riverdale Net-Zero Project, the first net-zero home in Northern Alberta
  • Mill Creek Net-Zero Project
  • Belgravia Net-Zero Project, the first home in Canada to produce a measured 40% energy surplus, two years running
  • Parkland Net Zero Project, the first certified LEED Platinum home in Northern Alberta
  • 35+ houses with EnerGuide ratings of 86 or better

solar-power-862602_1920There are a growing number of companies and projects that are taking root in cities and communities around the world. If you are interested in learning more in your area, look up net zero housing in your city. Most all will say the cost of net zero building is only about 10% more than traditional methods and whether you build or retrofit the costs can be recouped on your energy bills within 5 years.

Things to Consider About Net Zero Housing

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2009 the average homeowner spent $2,200 on energy costs. With a Zero Energy Home, homeowners have no energy bills of any kind, other than a monthly electric hook-up fee. That is because a Zero Energy Home is designed and built with so many energy efficient features, such as thicker walls and triple pane windows that it can create as much energy from its solar collectors as the home uses over the course of a year – resulting in a zero “net” energy bill.

Zero Energy Homes:
  • Have No Energy Bills
  • Have Zero Carbon Emissions
  • Are Affordable
  • Cost Less to Own
  • Are Healthier and More Comfortable (than traditionally-built homes)

Find out more at

When you take the time to really examine the costs and benefits it really is amazing that net zero building has not been made mandatory across the nation. Some areas are beginning to trend that way (in California all residential buildings must be Zero Net Energy (ZNE) by 2020, and all commercial buildings must follow suit by 2030).

It’s only a matter of time until it becomes the standard building practice.

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Born in Vancouver, B.C. , Canada. Father, musician and philosopher, lover of people, culture, eco-tech, hockey and craft beer. Thinking of solutions to global issues since 1994 when I was awakened due to the Rwandan genocide and the lack of action by the G7 nations. Adopted the Buckminster Fuller philosophy that in order to solve a problem you create solutions that make them obsolete.