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The Eco-Solar Tour

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Our Sponsors!

The City sponsors the Eco-Solar Tour as part of Edmonton's energy transition.
Edm's Energy Transition

Always there, anywhere
ATCO

A De Waal home is a home for life.
De Waal Developments

Habitat-Studio built the first net zero homes in Edmonton and has been part of the Eco-Solar tour for 15 years.
Habitat Studio

Celebration Homes
Celebration Homes

Skyfire has installed some of the largest and most complex photovoltaic systems in Western Canada.
Skyfire Energy

Your Power, Our Future.
Effect Homes

Rosecrest has been building energy efficient homes in Edmonton for over 30 years.
Rosecrest Homes


The House Company

Sustainival.
Sustainival

Thanks to UCE for meeting and storage space.
Unitarian Church of Edm

Video

These four video segments were prepared by Global TV for this year's tour.

Belgravia Green Part 1 - Landscaping and Permaculture
1 Jun 2017

Belgravia Green Part 2 - Passive Solar and Efficient Appliances
1 Jun 2017

Belgravia Green Part 3 - Mechanical Room and City's Green Home Guide
1 Jun 2017

Belgravia Green Part 4 - Electric Smart Car and the Solar Installation.
1 Jun 2017

Press Releases

Here are some of the stories of the homes and buildings on our tour this year. Click on the links to download the press release document.

Make electricity when the sun isn't shining, the wind isn't blowing.
2 May 2017

Energy Efficiency is Contagious!
30 April 2017

Not Just Preaching Net Zero, These Guys Are Practicing it!
29 April 2017

Multi-Generational Solar Home in Devon
28 April 2017

Energy Efficiency is on Display at the NAIT Alternative Energy Technology Lab
24 April 2017

The first solar heat pump installation in Alberta.
14 April 2017

16 Net-Zero-Energy apartments and Canada's first Net-Zero-Energy Church
14 April 2017

Westmount Net-Zero-Energy Laneway Home
14 April 2017

Building a Net Zero Energy Home now more affordable than ever before!
14 April 2017

Net-Zero-Energy Home Generates a Surplus 3 Years in a Row
14 April 2017

I was astonished by the thickness of the walls!
14 April 2017

Measure first, reduce waste, then add solar.
14 April 2017

My net-zero-energy home is immune from carbon taxes!
14 April 2017

Definitions

Here are some definitions that may help you understand how we refer to energy efficient homes and buildings. Some of these definitions may still be open for debate however to be clear these are the definitions in use on the Eco-Solar Tour. These are definitions of common practice and do not take into account all practices and situations.

ENERGUIDE

There are two Energuide systems currently in use. The previous version gave a home a score out of 100. The new Energuide label estimates the amount of energy a home will use in GJ/year (gigajoules/year). The old system rating the home out of 100 with 100 being the best. In the new consumption based system a net zero energy home would consume a net use 0 GJ/year. In the new system the lower the number the more efficient the home.
EnerGuide Rating System version 15

NET-ZERO ENERGY House

A net-zero energy (NZE) home is one that is designed and constructed to produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis.

A solar-electric-system generates electric energy for the house and over the year the kilowatt-hours of electric energy exported to the grid equals the kilowatt-hours of electric energy imported from the grid. A NZE house is always connected to the electric grid. In the winter more electricity is imported than exported and in the summer more is exported than imported -- the net result over the year should be roughly zero kilowatt hours.

Since the roof size available is limited a NZE house must naturally reduce its energy consumption dramatically so that the size of the solar-electric system is practical. This always starts with exceptional insulation (in the range of R50 or higher), triple-glazed windows, and significant attention to all aspects of the building envelope.

A NZE house also must have a method of collecting heat in the winter. Heat gain methods can include large windows for passive solar space heating, solar thermal collectors for domestic hot water, or other solar thermal air-heating technologies. A NZE house always starts as an ultra-efficient house so that the size of the solar-electric system can be fit onto the available roof space.

NZE houses still pay for electricity utilities. Electric service and the delivery of electric energy will still be present even though the net kilowatt-hours over the year are zero. A NZE house will not typically use natural gas because of the large fees for connecting to the gas grid. Some NZE houses choose to include a wood stove for comfort and additional energy security however a wood stove is "input energy" that is not included in the NZE calculations. A house that uses external energy from wood, natural gas, or propane is only a NZE house if the solar-electric system exports to the electric grid an amount of energy equal to this external energy source.

A NZE house would have an Energuide rating of 100 by definition (essentially consuming no net outside energy to operate the house). In the new Energuide rating system an NZE house would have a rating of 0 GJ/year.

NET-ZERO ENERGY READY House

A net-zero energy ready (NZER) home is one that is designed and constructed to deliver similar energy performance as a NZE home but has not yet installed the on-site renewable energy generation capacity needed to achieve NZE performance.

The most common NZER type of house is an ultra-efficient house that would become NZE with the addition of a suitably-sized solar-electric system. Often an NZER house will have the insulation and passive solar features included and be pre-wired for a solar system. The cost of the solar-electric system is left until later when budgets permit.

A true NZER house is one where the required solar-electric system to achieve the NZE goal is of a size that will practically fit on the house. Occasionally we see incorrect claims of NZER where the required solar-electric system would be impractically large.

NZER houses usually start with an Energuide rating above 86.

NEAR-NET-ZERO-ENERGY House

A Near-Net-Zero-Energy (NNZ) House is one that has an EnerGuide rating that is greater than 90, but less than 100. It will be ultra-efficient; it might colect heat through passive solar, solar thermal, geothermal or airthermal. It might also generate some of its own solar electricity but for any of many reasons it does not achieve the NZE goal. NNZ houses may not have enough space for a full-sized solar-electric system; they may be in a shaded area; or they may have other impediments to generating a net-zero amount of electricity.

In our definition a NNZ house needs to be quite close to NZE status to qualify as NNZ and almost always will have solar electric and/or solar thermal systems. In our definitions a NNZ house would have an EnerGuide rating of at least 90.

ENERGY EFFICIENT House

An Energy Efficient (EE) House is one that has an EnerGuide rating that is greater than 80, but less than 90. It may feature any number of energy efficient features that will be highlighted on our tour. Energy efficient houses usually have a well insulated building envelope and typically have highly efficient windows. An EE house will usually rely on an external source of energy for heat such as gas, oil, wood, or propane.

In our definitions an EE house is usually one where an external source of energy is used for heat. In order to take an EE house to a NNZ or NZE status you would need to add enough solar collectors (electric or thermal) to offset most (NNZ) or all (NZE) of the annual external energy consumed.

STANDARD CONSTRUCTION House

A Standard Construction (SC) House is one that was built to the local standards of construction in the era in which it was constructed. It could have an Energuide as low as 40 (1950's constructon), or above 72. A house built to the current minimum building code requirements would have an Energuide rating of between 65 and 72. We feature standard construction homes on our tour when the homeowner has done some interesting upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of their home or has added and interesting technology such as a solar system.

We may list a home as SC if an Energuide rating is not available or if we can't determine if the house will fit into any of our other categories.