Our NetZero Home Vision
Informed Energy Solutions had the vision to build a high quality, modern home that would generate the same amount or more energy that it would normally consume.
The Niagara NetZero Home represents the highest example of an eco-friendly home. It is the first home of its kind commercially designed and built in Southern Ontario. This NetZero home demonstrates to the people of Southern Ontario that sustainable living is possible with construction improvements, intelligent design, informed technologies and renewable energy generation. This home demonstrates environmental stewardship.
First and foremost, this home was designed for comfortable, gracious living within the rural environment of Jordan, Ontario. It is an upscale home with top of the line technology. The technology is simple, reliable and easy to operate.
The NetZero Home is not “off grid.” This home is connected to all city services including electricity, natural gas, water, cable, telephone and sewer. Its NetZero label comes from the home’s ability to generate the same amount or more energy than it would normally consume through proven technology, conservation and utilizing the sun to assist with water heating, space heating and generating electricity. The home owner still purchases their electricity from Niagara Peninsula Energy (NPE) at the current rates; however all of the electricity generated by the back roof solar array is sold to NPE for .802 per kilowatt hour under the MicroFIT program.
Energy Star Rating:
This home has an Energy Star rating of 98. We are proud to say that when this house was tested, our design team was informed that this home was “the most energy efficient home he (the inspector) had ever tested.”
For General Information, Tours or Design / Build:
Informed Energy Solutions Inc.
IES welcomes inquiries, tour requests and design – build requests.
Real Estate Agent:
For inquiries regarding the purchase of this home:
145 Carlton Street, St. Catharines, ON, Canada
Building Green, Clean and Informed
With today’s technology and advanced building techniques, it is possible to build consumer friendly, comfortable, modern homes with a reduced carbon foot print. Net Zero homes endeavor to be sustainable; meaning they not only conserve energy and resources, but generate as much energy or more energy than they consume, off-setting grid power with absolutely, green, clean energy. This NetZero home utilizes the incentives under Ontario’s Green Energy Act, MicroFIT program to sell its generated photovoltaic power back to the grid to create cash flow for this home.
Location & Site Characteristics:
- Located in the heart of Jordan Station, Leyenhorst Crt. offers peaceful scenery and a beautiful view of Jordan Harbour.
- Our site has a north south orientation which makes the rear roof line perfect for solar PV. A very appropriate sized lot allows for a manageable garden, attractive entrance way, and a private back yard. The surrounding area offers a wide range of wildlife including a newly nested bald eagle!
Knowing that air quality is very important, the IES design team implemented the following:
- Products were chosen that limit off-gassing of harmful toxins into the air. VOC’s are common in paints, carpets, under padding, types of baseboards, adhesives and finishes. It is important that the interior environment of the house be friendly for all occupants, especially those with sensitive respiratory conditions.
- A high efficiency air circulation and filter unit (see HRV) was installed that will constantly introduce fresh, outside air into the home.
This modern home is connected to and uses city water, however the NetZero design team also incorporated the smart idea of utilizing some rain water to flush the toilets, water the grass and wash the car. This results in lower water/sewer costs to the home owner as well as using nature’s rain to help meet one’s annual water consumption needs.
The home owner still enjoys city water for all kitchen, laundry, bathing, sinks, appliances, ice making and general use. The water in Jordan is excellent.
Rain and sump water is captured in a 6,140 liter cistern with pressure tank and pump. If the cistern gets low on water due to the lack of rain, the home owner simply has to turn a value to allow city water to flush the designated toilets, water the grass or wash the car. No bulk water purchases are required.
Geo thermal – the most efficient in Heating & Air Conditioning:
This particular system is dug into the surrounding property at a depth of roughly 6 to 8 feet deep. A glycol solution circulates through submerged piping in the property, capturing the heat of the earth. This glycol solution will then be passed over a heating coil which will heat the house. This same process can be done in reverse to provide air conditioning the house in the summer. The benefit of this system is:
- A high level of energy efficiency which results in low annual energy bills
- Dollar for dollar increase in the property valuation
- Low maintenance system with a long life expectancy
- Domestic hot water production as a by product during operation
Solar Photovoltaics (PV)
A Sentinel 10kw solar system made up of 58, 175 watt panels is installed. These panels are mounted on the south facing roof line of the house,
This home, under the MicroFIT program and related contract, will produce an estimated $9295.00 per year in solar revenue. The home owner, as of the spring of 2011, will still enjoy 19 years of solar revenue.
Passive Solar (Free Heating)
By allowing sun into the south facing windows, the house will capture this heat, putting less demand on the mechanical systems. This will help to heat the home on cold days. The back of the house (south-facing) is almost all windows and will provide a significant reduction in the home’s winter heating bills. To minimize this heating effect in the summer, larger overhangs from the roof and sun shades will reduce the need to run the air conditioning.
Domestic Hot Water from Geothermal, Solar Hot Water & Supplemental
Plenty of hot water awaits you. This home will produce all the hot water you could ever use by utilizing the following redundant technologies:
- Geothermal domestic hot water
- Solar Hot Water
- Electric Back-up
The ground source geothermal system will also be used to help heat the radiant in-floor system in the basement.
Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)
To ensure there is plenty of fresh air in the home, a very efficient HRV system will be used. To reduce the energy consumption of the HRV, the design team selected an HRV with an extremely efficient, quiet EMC motor. These motors operate much more efficiently than a standard HRV motor, as much as 70%. This means our house receives plenty of ventilation without the high cost of air circulation.
Radiant In-floor Heating and Thermal Mass
The radiant in floor heating system will maintain a comfortable temperature in the lower living areas of the home. Due to the high insulation values, the floor will maintain a comfortable temperature. The poured concrete in the basement floor absorbs this heat and releases it slowly into the house. The same process is used during the summer to maintain a cool, comfortable temperature. The more thermal mass in the house will maintain the temperature and decreases the need for constant mechanical cycling.
This is the most important part of the Net Zero equation for this home. By having high levels of insulation, an air tight frame and high performance windows, the house reduces the need for excessive heating and cooling. During hot days, the house keeps the warm air out and vice versa on cold days.
To achieve this level of performance our design team decided to implement insulated concrete forms (ICF). There are many types of forms on the market and they all offer similar benefits.
ICF systems are sort of like blocks of Lego. A hollow cored foam block is either placed side by side or on top of each other to create the outer walls. Once in place and secured, they are filled with reinforced concrete. This makes for an extremely strong wall which blocks out sound, air and temperature differences.
We all know that hot air rises. It is important that once the hot air is in the home that it not be allowed to escape through a poorly insulated ceiling. Therefore, the house has an R-value of 80 in the ceiling. This eliminates any needless heat loss in the winter and heat build up from the attic in the summer.
Under slab insulation plays a large part in keeping the temperature of the ground from penetrating the basement. Installing foam sheets before pouring the basement floor result in a much more comfortable living area as well as significantly reducing heating loads. This insulation also helps to reflect heat from the radiant in floor heating system.
Green Plugs, Energy Efficient Lighting and other Efficient Technologies
To enable the owner to reduce wasted electricity, this home will employ “green plugs” that can be switched by zone to turn off those appliances that consume “phantom-stand by energy”. If you want to keep an appliance on, no problem, just use one of the regular plugs.
The design team chose efficient florescent lighting for most fixtures, offering the home pleasant lighting.
A “power pipe heat recovery” unit is installed in the primary drain to capture all that energy that goes down the drain. Consider for a moment all the energy that goes down the drain when you take a hot shower. This energy is now recaptured by a very simple, non-mechanical piece of technology. This recycled energy is then transferred into your domestic hot water tank.
Let Nature Do The Work
Clothes Line: Don’t worry, this house was planned to accommodate a clothes dryer…but feel free to use the cloths line; you’ll save hundreds of kilowatts of electricity. Let nature do the work…this is what this house is all about.
Informed Energy Solutions Inc. is thankful for the following sponsors
Gold Level Sponsorship
- Sentinel Power Systems: http://www.sentinelpowersystems.com/
- Bank of montreal: http://www4.bmo.com/
- Lincoln Construction: www.lincolnconstruction.ca
Silver Level Sponsorship
- Niagara Geothermal Energy Solutions: www.niagarageothermal.com
- GHM Engineering Group: www.ghmengineeringgroup.com
- LARRT Enterprise
Friends of the Niagara Netzero Project
- Clark Cipryk (web consultation)
- Larry Drebert (consultation, energy analysis)