Net Zero. It’s music to our hears to hear more and more people talking about net zero homes and buildings.
What started out as an industry breakthrough in the States has now come to Canada, specifically British Columbia. And we are really, really excited about this movement.
What is Net Zero?
The net zero movement grew in response to the demand for higher levels of energy efficiency within our communities. Its aim is to build homes and buildings- both new and to replace existing structures- that have been built to use less energy in general but also produce as much energy as they use, balancing it out to 0 net usage (or very close.)
Net Zero in BC
That being said, BC still has a little bit to go behind it’s precedents- mainly California, Oregon and Washington- who adopted the path to Net Zero much sooner than we did.
That’s not to say we don’t have net zero homes here in BC- (this home in Vancouver was the first luxury home to be net zero energy in Canada) – rather, the government hasn’t quite decided the last and final details for a nation-wide secure protocol.
But we will.
The Canadian Home Builders Association official launched it’s Net Zero Home Labelling Program, after completion of a fifteen month project to define procedures to built net zero homes in Canada.
So, while the Canadian government haven’t finalized every detail yet, it’ll come. Consumers demand, and the governments demand to step up our energy efficiency efforts will mean big things in the property development industry- and we can assure you that Net Zero isn’t going anywhere.
Why Net Zero Buildings?
Simply put, buildings use a lot of energy. A staggering amount really.
They account for over one third of final energy demand and 30% of greenhouse emissions.
In BC alone, we are responsible for 29% and 12% respectively. And that’s just from our buildings alone.
Of course buildings are going to use energy. But there are better ways, starting at the very beginning stages of construction, to build a home that is energy efficient rather than draining.
There are so many social and economic impacts of embracing energy efficiency within our communities – all positive- but reducing our natural footprint by addressing net energy usage in our Kelowna homes and buildings is a huge start.
BC Homeowners & Net Zero – Design & Certification
This certification- The Net Zero and Net Zero Ready- gives homeowners options to make their home more energy-efficient through the investment of various energy-saving measures.
Of course, these all go by regular building codes, so costs and environmental impacts are slim to none.
This program actively supplements existing energy efficiency programs; the most popular being Energy Star and R-2000 certifications. At it’s core, it encourages new home builders and the home builders industry in general, to adopt processes that do more than the current norm.
We are all for that.
We’re especially for the training and support that the certification provides, through energy advisors and training directors- plus, the inspection process for certifying a home to actually be a net zero building.
It really shows a sincere effort from the government, and communities, to adopt energy efficiency movements with open arms.
The First Net Zero Home in Canada
Lets give a shoutout to Saniich, BC, home of the first Net Zero home in Canada.
The three storey, 4500 square foot house is nothing short of complete balance between beauty, efficiency and strategic design. To maximize daylight, an open concept is used throughout the home, and strategically placed patios and decks provide shelter, privacy and breathtaking views.
Ecohome.net (externally link to site) describes the home, designed by Ryan Hoyt and built by Falcon Height Contracting-
“ began with a compact plan and a high-performance, airtight building envelope – including triple-pane high efficiency windows and doors for Zero Net Energy homes, with a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient [SHGC] of 0.18 and a North American Fenestration Standards [NAFS] performance grade rating of PG50 Plus. “
Airtight building envelopes were among the top-ranking factors for this home to become Net Zero.
We couldn’t be any prouder.
Air Sealing and Net Zero Homes
Effective air sealing is crucial for homes designed to maximize energy efficiency. Air leakage is a huge cause of wasted energy in buildings and homes- and air sealing directly attacks this pesky problem.
With the demand for green options within homes scaling to an entirely new level in the wake of energy efficiency, traditional air sealing methods rarely make the cut in these progressive homes.
With little margin for error, new home developers need air sealing options that seal everything quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.
And without sounding a little biased, that’s where AeroBarrier air sealing comes in. In comparison to traditional methods (link to vs. blog internally), this air sealing technology operates on a revolutionary scale- and is used to achieve levels of air tightness in buildings that have every chance of becoming Net Zero.
Is the Net Zero Movement Coming to Kelowna?
We are guessing, yes. Consumers in Kelowna, and the Okanagan, are recognizing the dire need for increased energy efficiency and demanding options.
New home builders in Kelowna are recognizing the demand for more energy efficient options and taking note.
And Kelowna property developers are wanting to more secure more scalable and valuable investments in energy efficient properties.
Air sealing within the Okanagan is on quite a drastic rise, and will continue to generate demand as energy efficiency continues to be a priority of Okanagan residents.
Full adoption of Net Zero will take time, if the Okanagan grows to that point or not- who knows. But options and incentives for increasing energy efficiency in new Okanagan homes are a consistent demand for the building industry. Air sealing is an “ahead-of-the-curve” technology that propels your home’s green footprint (with some awesome incentives- link to blog article about the step code)