Net Zero Homes
What is a Net Zero Energy Home?
Imagine owning a home that produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. That’s what our Net Zero Energy Homes will do, depending on occupant behaviour. In designing the Net Zero Home program for Doug Tarry Homes, we set a goal to design and build a home that was a decade ahead of today’s current building practice.
More importantly, we designed the home specifications to be simple. No spaceship in the basement, no complicated control systems that take years to learn and no high tech components that no one understands. SIMPLE.
In order to create a net-zero energy home, there are three basic elements or steps to consider when designing and building the house:
- Reduce the home’s energy requirements.
- Include renewable energy systems to provide the amount of energy required to operate the home.
- Operate the home efficiently.
Owning a Net Zero Home can offer a wide range of benefits, such as
- Low utility bills
- A more comfortable living space
- A greener choice for the environment
- Better future
Making the decision to purchase a Net Zero Energy Home will provide your family with years of enjoyment of a healthier, safer home with a more comfortable living space, with fewer drafts, more even interior temperatures, fewer humidity issues and better indoor air quality. These homes are also more durable, so there are fewer long term maintenance costs and they are future proofed against rising energy costs.
In fact when you compare the additional cost of building a Net Zero Home to a home built to the Ontario Building Code it can actually be less costly overall for the combined mortgage and utility costs off the Net Zero home, meaning it is a more affordable choice overall.
Net Zero Homes are also more environmentally sustainable with lower greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, more responsible use of resources and reducing the household’s overall carbon footprint.
What is different from our regular homes?
- A slightly higher level of insulation in our walls, basements, basement slabs and ceilings, but with all the same materials we normally use.
- The Dettson Smart Ducting HVAC System, for smaller ducting, better air flow and greater occupant comfort.
- Triple glazed North Star windows, rather than double glazed and low solar coatings as required.
- The same ERV manufacturer (VanEE) as we normally use, but with an ECM motor we call this our “fresh air machine”.
- A high performance water heater along with a recirc system for instant hot water.
- A Drain Water Heat Recovery Pipe to capture waste water heat.
- Solar (PV) panels that feed excess electricity to the grid for net metering, providing credits on your electricity bill
Since the pilot in 2015, the Net Zero Home Labelling Program has grown to include over 600 labelled homes to date. Each home labelled and each new Qualified Net Zero Participant makes the program stronger. The Program is an industry-developed, self-funded, voluntary program that does not receive any direct financial support for labelling homes.
Participation in this program as a Qualified Net Zero Builder offers recognition as an industry leader for those delivering the next generation of high-performance housing to Canadian home buyers. By meeting our Program requirements, Qualified Net Zero Builders have proven their ability to build homes to the highest performance level in the country. The CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program is proud to provide our Qualified Net Zero Builders with a strong and recognizable brand, leading-edge education, and ongoing program innovation – including RD&D – such as Net Zero MURBs and Net Zero Renovations.
The Future of Home Building
As of January 1st 2019, all new homes built by Doug Tarry Homes will be built to Net Zero Ready as the minimum standard. This is the final outcome of being committed to this goal specifically while on the path of continual improvement over the last decade.
But why is this even a goal? Perhaps a better question might be why all new homes are not being built to this standard. Many governments are now targeting 2030 as the date for when all homes must be built to this requirement.
Let’s face it, we are having more frequent and more extreme weather events. Weather you believe in climate change, or simply feel that the earth is warming naturally, the outcome remains the same. From longer, hotter summer heat waves to wintertime polar vortex events the evidence is growing that our weather is changing and our homes need to be able to withstand these extremes.
So why build to Net Zero Ready? Isn’t a home built to the Ontario Building Code (OBC) good enough. Yes and no. If you were to build a home in California to the OBC, it would be Net Zero Ready and be one of the best built homes in that state. But except being up in the high mountains, California does not have winter, at least not the way we experience it here in Southwestern Ontario.
But Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes are a significant improvement over a home built to the OBC. These homes are much tighter, far more energy efficient, have significantly lower energy usage (lower utility bills) and are more resilient that an OBC built home. With increased insulation, more efficient mechanicals and better windows, these homes are also quieter, healthier, and far more comfortable.
Can I afford a Net Zero Ready Home? This is an excellent discussion to have with your financial institution and more of them are now recognizing that the dramatically lower operating costs more than offset the added cost on the mortgage of a Net Zero Ready Home.
So more comfortable, healthier, durable and energy efficient homes that costs less to run. And one last point! Lowering your energy footprint on the environment and helping to give HOPE to our grandchildren’s future. That seems like a good deal.
Download our Future of Home Building print out here.
Have questions? Contact us today for more information on a Net Zero Home.