CALGARY – Alberta homeowners may face up to $500 more on their utility bills when the new carbon tax takes effect, leaving many searching for ways to save on electricity and gas.
That also has homebuilders searching for ways to make new home energy technology more affordable.
Mattamy Homes showed off their new state-of-the-art, Net Zero energy-efficient home in the northeast community of Cityscape Wednesday.
The house includes special energy-efficient features, like an electric heat pump and water heater, solar panels and led lights. The insulation is rated R-42, complete with triple-pane windows.
It’s designed to produce only as much (or more) energy as is needed to heat and power the house over the course of a year.
It isn’t cheap. The first of five Net Zero houses was designed as a show home and includes some expensive finishes. The idea, however, is to use the same technology in more affordable homes.
Net Zero homes cost about eight to 12 per cent more than traditional homes, but energy savings are significant. Heat and power costs are cut, almost in third, compared to a house relying on natural gas.
“We know that it’s the right thing to do but it’s going to cost more,” Donna Moore of the Calgary Home Builders Association said. “We have to figure out how to educate people to the benefits to adding these programs.”
Many builders are also hoping the government will come up with incentives for homeowners to improve their home energy efficiency.