Home builders embrace net-zero with new labelling program


Green Energy Futures

Tue, 06/13/2017
Until quite recently net-zero homes were pioneered mostly by an early adopter group of passionate, mission driven home builders pursuing the holy grail of a self sufficient home that produces all of its own energy.
Companies like Habitat Studio, Effect Homes and Landmark Homes are among many of the so-called early adopters of net-zero.
“We need to be building energy efficient homes,” says Sonja Winkelmann, Director of Net-Zero Energy Housing with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
And now “We are seeing the next wave of builders…a lot of it has to do with the changes that are coming down with the building codes,” says Winkelmann.
In April, B.C. launched their new Energy Step Code that is a five step program that will eventually require all new homes to be built net-zero ready by 2032.
Construction costs for net-zero energy buildings have dropped 40 per cent in the past decade and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change is calling for a “net-zero energy ready” model building code by 2030.

Home builders launch net-zero labelling program

The Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) represents 8,500 companies across Canada involved in a $34 billion industry.
“At the beginning of May, we launched our Net Zero Energy Home Labelling Program and essentially it’s a way for us to recognize not only the homes, but the builders, as well as the renovators,” says Winkelmann.
“A net-zero home is one that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. And that energy that it produces, in our case, must be renewable energy,” says Winkelmann.
“We have two tiers. We have Net-Zero Ready and Net-Zero,” says Winkelmann. She says the two levels of homes are constructed the same, but the net-zero home has renewable energy (solar) installed.”