Net Zero Energy Homes in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Net Zero Energy (NZE) homes

Net Zero Energy (NZE) homes ( Solar Thermal Magazine) September 29th,2014. Today, Reid’s Heritage Homes hosted the first groundbreaking ceremony for a national Net Zero Energy (NZE) homes demonstration project.

Present to mark the occasion was Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga (Ontario), on behalf of the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. He was joined at the podium by City of Guelph Mayor, Karen Farbridge, executives from Reid’s Heritage Homes and representatives from Owens Corning Canada and The University of Guelph.

The project involves five Canadian homebuilders constructing a total of 25 NZE homes. The project will be active in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and is funded in part by the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII), with contributions from each participating builder, industry suppliers and Owens Corning Canada. NZE homes are designed to consume less energy than they generate on-site from renewable sources.

“Our government is proud to invest in programs like the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative which create high-quality jobs and further strengthen Canada’s reputation as a worldwide leader in energy innovation,” said Mr. Albrecht. “We remain committed to supporting companies that are finding solutions to protect the environment and lower energy bills for all Canadians.”

The project’s 25 homes, five from each builder, will increase the total number of NZE houses in Canada. While many people agree that net zero is the future of the home building industry, a barrier has been that many current NZE homes are custom-built projects, using elaborate designs, with complex and expensive heating, cooling and generating technology.  This project aims to make NZE homes accessible to more consumers than ever before, using existing, often “off the shelf” high-performance equipment, insulation and building materials.

“Reid’s Heritage Homes has accepted this exciting building challenge with the goal of advancing the awareness and science behind sustainable building practices, by determining optimal innovative systems that will work in the ultra-efficient Net Zero homes,” said Blake Seeberger, Senior Vice-President of Residential, Reid’s Heritage Homes.

Most importantly, we have taken on this challenge so that we can provide Canadians with homes that will improve their lives. These homes will be healthy, safe, comfortable and durable, and will hedge against increasing energy costs.

Reid’s Heritage Homes has a long history of building energy-efficient homes. The home builder constructed Canada’s first and second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum-level home in Canada (Guelph and Waterloo Region), was the first home builder in Canada to receive the ENERGY STAR ® participant of the year award, and built Ontario’s first Built Green home.

“Owens Corning Canada is proud to be associated with this project. The project’s success is a product of the group’s vision and dedication,” said Andy Goyda, Canadian Builder Lead and Marketing Development Manager for Owens Corning Canada.

Net-Zero homes no longer need to be one-off projects; they can be built by production builders. This groundbreaking is an important milestone in our quest to prove this.

“Congratulations to Reid’s Heritage Homes for being chosen as one of just five builders across Canada to construct Net Zero Energy homes,” said Guelph’s Mayor, Karen Farbridge. “Not long ago, the idea of a Net Zero home would have been thought of as a pipedream. Yet today we are breaking ground for one in our city. Reid’s Heritage Homes has a well-earned reputation for innovation and sustainability, and together with their project partners and sponsors, is helping Guelph distinguish itself on a national scale.”

Reid’s Heritage Homes expects all five homes to be fully constructed by 2016

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