There are many factors that are holding back the performance of most houses in Canada. Homes these days are fairly complex and as a result of living in older, inefficient homes the average homeowner doesn’t have an understanding of just how great their home could be. Many homeowners likely feel their home is "good enough" and they don't see a need to change it.
If you had only ever driven a 30 year old car with a manual transmission and no anti-lock brakes, then you might not understand what all the fuss is about with “modern” cars and you probably wouldn’t feel the need to upgrade. However, it’s pretty easy to take a new car for a test drive to see for yourself what all the hype is about. I personally had thought back up cameras were an unnecessary gimmick until I recently rented a car for work in Kelowna. I was impressed with the backup camera system once I tried it out for a day and I am now looking forward to upgrading our car at home.
Most Canadians live in homes that are 30 years old or older. Having never owned, lived in or experienced a high performance home, most homeowners can’t understand how comfortable, quiet and energy efficiency a home can potentially be. It’s not exactly easy to just take a high performance home for a "test drive" or even know where to find them but here are some ideas to help you experience high performance homes for yourself.
There are some very innovated production builders with show homes that feature a host of high performance features. Ranging from Passive House to Net Zero, single family to townhouses, these builders are embracing new ideas and technologies and testing out high performance home building. Here are some of our favorites:
Landmark Homes – Edmonton (Now Open)
Alberta’s first CHBA Net Zero Energy v1 Home, this show home features solar panels, heat pump technology for space and water heating and high performance building envelope and windows.
Brookfield Residential – Calgary (Opening Date: TBA)
Brookfield is setting a new standard in performance with the most energy efficiency homes constructed by a large volume builder. As a research project, this show home is being built to the very stringent Passive House standard from Europe. Although this show home isn't open quite yet, be sure to stay informed as this is a home not to be missed and its performance will truly be unparalleled in the Alberta marketplace.
There are also many other events happening around Alberta where you can go to learn more information about current and future high performance home features and check out some green homes. Here are some suggestions:
Green Homes Bike Tour – Calgary (Summer 2018)
For the past three summers, CaGBCEmerging Green Builders and 4 Elements have put together a bike route tour of some of Calgary’s greenest homes. Using bike paths and the cycle track we enjoy Calgary's exceptional new bike infrastructure while checking out some cool houses and projects. Last summer’s tour featured a LEED Platinum home, William Street SE (LEED Project No. 16644), Alberta’s largest LEED for homes development currently under construction: Raduis by Bucci Developments and a tour of the Green Building Technology Lab & Demonstration Centre located at SAIT.
|Green Building Technology Lab & Demonstration Centre located at SAIT|
Eco-Solar Home Tour – Edmonton (2018 Date: TBA)
This is a great tour hosted every year by the Eco-Solar Tour organization. The tour travels around the City of Edmonton by bus and checks out amazing high performance, solar homes across the city. Highly attended and well organized this tour is a must to check out.
Alberta Green Homes Summit – Red Deer (February 13, 2018)
Not a tour per say, but this one day conference is a great opportunity to hear about all the newest and greatest in green building residential projects in Alberta. Along with great networking opportunities, this summit is packed full of valuable information.
Doors Open YYC – Calgary (2018 Date: TBA)
This open house day often features great local examples of high performance buildings and other green infrastructure around the City of Calgary.
Who to Follow:
Additional events are always coming up and it can be hard to stay up to date. Here is where we watch to see what tours and events are coming and what is happening in the Alberta green building industry.