Science at Work: Net-Zero Energy Houses

Episode 1



Are you looking to build or purchase a new, more energy efficient home?

Maybe something a little different that can also save you money on your utility bills?

Well, you might want to consider a net-zero-energy home.

Welcome to Science at Work, a video series where we showcase the great work of the scientists and engineers at Natural Resources Canada.

So what is a net-zero-energy home, you might ask? Well, while it’s not exactly "off the grid," it's a home built to reduce the net amount of energy used by a household to zero by incorporating leading-edge, energy efficient technology and generating electricity.

A net-zero-energy home includes renewable energy systems, such as solar power, but it’s still connected to the electricity grid. It can supply to the grid when it’s producing electricity and draw from it when needed. Over the course of a year, the energy supplied to the grid balances the energy drawn from the grid. This is what we call "net-zero energy."

Researchers at Natural Resources Canada helped demonstrate the concept for the first net-zero-energy homes, this led directly to the development of houses now being built across Canada as part of the “net-zero-energy community demonstration project.”

Through this project, five homebuilders across Canada are building a total of twenty-six net-zero energy homes and – in the process – are figuring out how to make net-zero-energy homes more affordable.

Here are some of the features that could be included in a net-zero energy home:

Photovoltaic solar panels that convert sunlight to electricity.

Airtight construction to prevent heat loss and reduce drafts.

Significantly improved insulation and windows .

High efficiency space heating, hot water and ventilation systems that can significantly lower your energy consumption.

Drain water heat recovery systems that take the heat from hot water from shower drains and use it to preheat the cold fresh water coming into the home

And home energy displays that allow you to monitor your energy use and energy production.

Now, why is there a need for net-zero energy homes? Well, home energy consumption accounts for about 15 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, so, the more energy efficient homes we have, the better it is for the environment.

That is why Natural Resources Canada is working with industry to develop and evaluate
technologies that will make
our homes more energy efficient, sustainable and affordable.

This is just one of the many ways that we at Natural Resources Canada support all the facets of natural resource development and use in an effort to improve the quality of life of Canadians.

For more information on the net-zero energy project, please visit our website.

Thank you and see you next time.