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I haven’t discussed it often here on my blog, but I’m a founding member of the Canadian Home Builder Association’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council. The mandate of the council is creating a market advantage for CHBA builder and renovator members pursuing Net Zero Energy performance. What is Net-Zero? Simply put, it’s a building practice that uses a multitude of renewable technologies to build homes that consume either less or an equal amount of energy than they produce on an annual basis. The concept has become quite attractive to homebuyers, especially amidst rising hydro rates that have caused a hyper awareness of our carbon footprints – and the overall energy consumption of our homes.
So what issues currently surround Net Zero, and why isn’t it a no-brainer for builders in Ontario and Canada? Well, for one, it’s historically been quite expensive. Although many millennial buyers have expressed that they wouldn’t mind paying more for green features that help them save money in the long run, that threshold of comfort can only go so far. So the main goal for Net Zero has been creating the balance between the implementation of the technology that helps homes achieve the certification, and keeping the price attractive and attainable for buyers.
I’m excited to say that there are plenty of examples of (affordable) Net Zero popping up all over Ontario, such as fellow Net Zero Energy Housing Council member Reid's Heritage Homes’ recently launched handful of Net Zero homes at Westminster Woods in Guelph, Ont. As well, Mattamy Homes, Minto, Provident, and Construction Voyer are also working to help increase the number of Net-Zero homes in Canada. Eventually, normalcy of Net Zero will be achieved with the growth of not just certified homes, but community-sized demonstrations. With the way things are going, Net Zero as a standard could be here before we know it. One day, residents of Ontario will laugh and recall a time when our homes didn’t love us as much as we love them.