80. Net-Zero Evolution – The secret is to keep it ridiculously simple

hi David dodge here welcome to green energy futures and part three in our chasing NetZero series this week we look at the evolution of Net Zero homes from incredibly complex rinds to technology to simple elegant and super efficient homes we explore the near Net Zero home of chef Roz and Serena Kaba in Beverly Heights in Edmonton Alberta shafraz is an architect and the home may be designed and built for his family is a great example of the Net Zero form at a very important crossroads in the evolution of Net Zero design we designed that home that is attempting to achieve Net Zero hopefully one day I'll be fully Net Zero right now where Net Zero ready and we've essentially designed a passive house that takes advantage of its site of the natural capital of what we have around us instead of focusing on complex technologies a passive house is an airtight super insulated home that harvest as much passive solar energy as possible combined large south-facing windows with a thermally massive floor and window shades and you end up getting a lot of your heat or free serena Kaba explains we're here you can see how we have very thick walls and these are super insulated so this is part of our passive solar aspect of our house and these are our triple paned windows so we gain the heat from the Sun through these triple paned windows and it heat sinks into our floor which is cement so in at night when we are not having the Sun because it's night then the heat comes out of the floors and heats up the house a little bit and of course because these are so thick and super insulated it helps to keep and track in that heat for backup heat they have a fireplace and electric baseboard heaters by using electric heat they avoid the need for a natural gas furnace and the monthly bill that goes with it doubling down on insulation is one of the key reasons this home requires so much less energy to heat it so here we have two cutouts in our walls which are very very thick and it gives you a visual to see how far apart everything is and our super insulation it's an AR of 60 and you can see here is our vapor barrier as well which is another key point in keeping the house airtight as possible to trap in all the heat when we want it this large narrow three-story home sits on a corner lot it has excellent solar access and a small footprint for a 2,400 square foot home by putting the living room in kitchen on the second floor they get superb views of Edmonton's River Valley the downtown and even refinery row across the river once you've paid for your solar modules and designed your home to collect passive solar heat the sunshine provides free energy for the entire life of the system here we have our solar panels or photovoltaic panels there's a 16 of them creating a 4.8 kilowatt array and basically these panels are also our awning for our large windows below by shielding the house from direct Summer Sun the solar modules provide passive cooling and they also generate electricity at the same time and it's the passive systems that really distinguish shafraz and Serena's house by conserving energy and getting as much free energy from the Sun as they can they get almost half their energy from that small 4.8 kilowatt solar array in the reality of fluctuating electrical utility costs that's that's huge so we then give yourself sort of I guess an insurance policy of against rising in electrical costs and the cost of the PV now is at a point where it's almost a no-brainer to implement chef Franz and Serena will probably add more solar modules in the future as finances permit my favorite parts of the house are all the places where we've reused and repurposed materials and all the wonderful stories behind that for example our walls are about that thick and so there are the perfect distance to put the bottom of these church pews that we've repurposed indeed there are many examples of very innovative reuse of materials including bricks from the original farmhouse on the property an old gym floor used as a feature wall cooler doors that conceal a pantry and leftover structural materials that were used to make the stairs to learn more about shafraz and Serena's near Net Zero home check out our blog photos podcasts and resources at green energy futures dot CA next week the final episode in our chasing Net Zero series we call it go big or go home as net zero goes big time for green energy futures on David Dodge

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