Canadian Consulting Engineer

First builder-type home using zero energy opens

September 14, 2015

Net Zero Energy home in Westminster Woods, Guelph, Ontario, rear view.  Photo:  Reid Heritage Homes.

Net Zero Energy home in Westminster Woods, Guelph, Ontario, rear view. Photo: Reid Heritage Homes.

The first home to be completed as part of a national program to show that standard builder-type houses can generate all their own energy needs has been completed.

The Guelph “Net Zero Energy” home is in the Westminster Woods community of Guelph in southwest Ontario. It will have an official public opening on September 19.

Most net-zero energy homes to date have been unique projects designed by architects and others using special approaches and technologies. They have been case-study, idiosyncratic projects by and large.

These are different. “Instead of building these homes as one-off, custom-built projects, this project is geared to the mainstream public, and the low-rise production builder,” says Blake Seeberger of Reid’s Heritage Homes, the homes’ builder. “In fact, standing on the driveway facing the house, there is little indication that this is a real-world example of the future of housing.”


While the front of the home looks conventional, the back roof has 33 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which will produce the home’s energy.

The technologies behind the façade include an insulated and airtight building envelope system with an air barrier, and triple glazed windows. An air source heat pump provides space heating and the home also has an air source heat pump hot water tank.

A total of 25 net zero energy homes are planned in the national program which is being spearheaded by NRCan’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative and Owens Corning Canada. Four more are in the works by Reid Heritage Homes, with others by different builders in Noiva Scotia, Quebec, Alberta and Ontario.

For more details about the Guelph house, click here.



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