Comfort is key in a passive house

0620 home green  Rendering of the home Chris Weissflog, who operates the renewable energy firm Ecogen Energy, is building for his family. Among other green features, its solar panels will meet most of the 3,000-square-foot home’s heating and cooling needs as well as powering a greenhouse with an extended growing season. With story by Patrick Langston.

0620 home green Rendering of the home Chris Weissflog, who operates the renewable energy firm Ecogen Energy, is building for his family. Among other green features, its solar panels will meet most of the 3,000-square-foot home’s heating and cooling needs as well as powering a greenhouse with an extended growing season. With story by Patrick Langston.

>” […] The falling price of technology may still help us out of the quandary. The CHBA is currently developing a net zero and net zero-ready labelling program for home builders and renovators. A net zero home typically uses photovoltaic panels to produce as much energy as it consumes, generally selling excess electricity to the grid. A net zero-ready home is set up for, but does not include, the photovoltaic system.

The CHBA’s Foster says that a net zero home including photovoltaic panels now costs $50,000 to $70,000 more than a conventional home. That’s 50 per cent of the cost of just five years ago, and the price of PV panels continues to drop.

With rising energy prices, the CHBA says the extra monthly mortgage costs associated with a net zero home are now comparable to the savings in energy costs, making it net zero in more ways than one. […]”<

Ottawa Citizen

Maybe your private fantasies don’t include an attic insulated to R-100, twice what’s required by the building code. Or a motion-activated gizmo that provides immediate hot water when you enter the bathroom so you don’t send thousands of gallons a year down the drain while waiting for it to warm up for a wash or shower.

But these and countless other energy-saving initiatives were on the bill during a recent tour of Ottawa-area passive homes — passive homes being ultra-energy-efficient structures — that was organized by folks either living in or building them.

So here’s the question: Since passive homes meet rigorous certification standards that, for example, mean they use 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling than a home built to code, why aren’t we seeing these same building technologies in the production homes that most of us buy? Or are our large-scale builders actually making good strides down…

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