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The Net-Zero House in Peterborough: the Future is Here!

September 22, 2017

A zero-house is more accurately described as a net-zero energy house – and it’s not a house of the future anymore. Indeed, the zero-house is already a reality, and there are homeowners already living it. The primary aim of the zero-house is to reduce energy usage to an absolute minimum. In addition, renewable energy elements are built into the house, allowing for the production of energy. When the amount of energy being used equals the amount being produced there is a net-zero effect.

The zero-house is not considered “off-grid”. The house is still linked to the electrical grid, drawing power as required, yet supplying excess power to the grid when thepeterborough net zero house house has more than it needs. Throughout the year, and from season to season, excess energy that’s supplied to the grid will offset the energy that’s drawn from the grid. Overall, this is considered NET ZERO energy consumption. The objective, of course, is to reduce energy use and reduce the negative environmental impacts.

In general, a zero-house is better designed and better built – it’s much higher performance than a typical residential home, and therefore, much more energy efficient. In fact, a zero-house can actually be comfortable during a power failure, simply because so little energy is needed to operate. Indoors, these houses have a comfortable, healthy living environment, without making any drastic compromises on the comforts of modern living. In future, more and more houses will be net-zero.

In Peterborough, the zero-house has a zero carbon footprint and zero net energy use

In Peterborough, Ontario (about 150 kilometers from Toronto), a so-called "home of the future" is being built. It’s a Zero-House – in other words, a green home with a ZERO carbon footprint, ZERO toxin output, and ZERO net energy use. In more simple terms, this house will produce more energy than it will use. And while it’s considered a "home of the future", the future is actually here already.

The Zero-House construction is based on high performance building practices. This will include everything from thermal insulation, to solar paneling, to an airtight building envelope, to energy efficient design elements throughout. Although it’s built in Peterborough, the house will be moved to Toronto when complete, and will be displayed at an Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology.

Aspects of the "Green Design"

By showcasing the many aspects of “green” design, the aim is to educate the public about the many possibilities of sustainable living. For a start, it’s important to understand that a “green” house does not cost more money. As well, builders and contractors need to understand that there isn’t a big learning curve with regard to building standards, construction methods, and “green” materials.

  • net zero homes allow for the lowest possible utility bills year round
  • net zero homes ensure higher performance for heating and cooling
  • net zero homes offer improved air circulation and better air quality
  • net zero homes radically reduce negative environmental footprints

After the Expo, the Zero-House will be moving again – this time to Collingwood, Ontario, also about 150 kilometers from Toronto. The new owners of the 850 square foot house will actually live the reality of sustainability and sustainable design. They will not be compromising seasonal comfort, and will realize significant cost savings on utilities, without contributing to a carbon footprint.

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