What is Net Zero all about, anyway?

Ask Renovator Kane Wachter

Dear Renovator,

We’re looking into options for a custom-built home, and we’re wondering whether it should be Net Zero. We’re just at the stage of doing our planning and researching at the moment, but we’re still trying to figure out what, exactly, it’s all about. Can you tell us the top best things about a Net-Zero home?

Dear Homeowner,

Good for you for considering a net-zero home. When it comes to building practices, there are many different standards, of course, but one of the very highest is Net Zero. A Net Zero home is one that is designed to be 80 per cent more efficient than code-built homes, with huge benefits for you and for the environment. A Net Zero home is more comfortable and healthier because of the air quality with high-efficiency HVAC systems. You’ll find your energy costs are substantially reduced.

You’ll find your Net Zero home is more comfortable, the air is fresher, the windows are more efficient, and the temperature is more consistent. It will be more expensive initially, but the energy costs you save will more than make up for it in time. Resale value will be higher, too.

Before you do anything else, become as informed as you can about the impact of a Net Zero home on the environment, your lifestyle, your budget; and make sure the builder, designer or renovator you choose to build it for you is a qualified Net Zero builder.

If you do decide on a custom Net Zero home, I think you will be pleased for many years that you did.

Kane Wachter, Kaner Contracting Inc.

The biggest features of a Net Zero home

  • High performance triple-glazed windows and skylights
  • An air-tight envelope
  • A solar system or wind to generate energy
  • A south-facing orientation
  • Much higher insulation values in walls and roof
  • High-efficiency HVAC systems will increase energy efficiency. (Less energy is used to heat and cool the house depending on the season.)


What makes a Net Qualified builder?

Your builder must have:

  • Canadian Home Builders’ Association membership. (Many also carry  RenoMark®)
  • CHBA Net Zero Builder Training, with a minimum exam score of 75 per cent.
  • EnerGuide (ERS) registration.
  • ERS and Net Zero Labels for your home.
  • Signed the Builder Agreement and Attestation with CHBA.
  • Net Zero logos for easy identification.

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