Getting through the winter without a furnace? Calgary developer says it can be done

Getting through the winter without a furnace? Calgary developer says it can be done
WATCH: A Calgary developer is showing off something new in the north end of the city. It’s a house that’s up to 90 per cent more energy efficient than an average home. Gil Tucker reports.

It’s a house that really stands out amidst the construction in Calgary’s new Symons Gate neighbourhood — a unique home in more ways than one.

Called a “Passive House,” developer Brookfield Residential had it prefabricated and shipped over from Germany.

Built with construction techniques used in Europe for years, it’s designed to be up to 90 per cent more energy efficient than a standard house.

READ MORE: Living without a furnace, Passive Housing on the rise in B.C.

“We use wood fiberboard. We wrap the whole house in a thermal blanket,” Brookfield’s Doug Owens said.

“The giant south-facing window takes advantage of Calgary’s most abundant resource — which is actually sunshine — and this will heat it throughout the year,” he said. “We have solar panels across the roof, so it could truly go off-grid.”

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People from the Green Building Technologies program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) toured the house looking for ways they can help Alberta’s construction industry adopt some of the energy-saving methods.

“The amazing thing about this basement: we’d usually have a furnace (but) this house has essentially no heating system in it at all,” SAIT’s Ben Hildebrandt said.

“They have a couple of little supplemental heaters here for the extreme cold of winter to supply that little bit of heat that they might need.”

READ MORE: Alberta government provides rebates of up to $3,500 for energy efficient homes

Members of a Calgary-based organization that promotes energy conservation also visited the home, suggesting that “passive house” construction could help diversify Alberta’s economy.

“As we start to see more houses like this, I really think that we’re going to create this local manufacturing industry for materials, some of the wood, some of the insulation,” the Pembina Institute’s Saeed Kaddoura said. “That will create both jobs and economic opportunities for Albertans.”

The “Passive House” will be open to visitors from one to five p.m on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11, at 274 Sage Bluff Dr. N.W.

Brookfield says it will probably go on the market next year, with no word yet on what the asking price might be.

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