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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 360 West, 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 hightech components that no one understands. SIMPLE is the root of our company.

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 hydro bill and no gas bill whatsoever

  • 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 the words of our very own mechanical engineer “your homes are so tight you could heat them with a candle”

 

In fact when you compare the additional costs 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 of 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 higher level of insulation in our walls, basements, basement slabs and ceilings, but with all the same materials typically used.

  • The Mitsubishi Air Source Heat pump (ASHP)

  • Triple glazed North Star windows, rather than double glazed and low solar coatings as required.

  • ERV - Energy Recovery Ventilator or more commonly known as an Air Exchanger.

  • A high performance electric water heater.

  • 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

  • Essentially your entire home is run with highly efficient electrical equipment only and you produce your own power to run it.

 

As of January 1st 2021, all new homes built by 360 West will be built to Net Zero Ready as the minimum standard. This is the final outcome of being committed to this goal. Net Zero Ready has all the same building technologies as Net Zero minus the electrical regeneration system (solar panels that produce your hydro)

 

So why build 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 the state. But except being up in the 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 than 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.