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Eco-Solar home tours showcase energy efficient living in Lethbridge

Lethbridge residents took tours of eco-friendly, net-zero homes as part of an Alberta-wide initiative. Eloise Therien / Global News

The Eco-Solar Association of Alberta was formed more than 20 years ago to help bring awareness to how homeowners can create cost-effective and eco-friendly homes.

Each year, with the exception of 2020 and 2021, Alberta residents welcome the public into their homes to explain what sets them apart.

Five Lethbridge-area homeowners took part on Saturday.

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“One of the things about a net-zero home that you immediately notice, is that it has some form of energy generation — solar,” said the organization’s president Andrew Mills.

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Mills explains this typically means buying energy in the winter when heat is needed and selling it back to the grid in the summer.

“All these homeowners, they’re passionate about conserving resources and providing better energy efficiency in their homes,” Mills said. “We just need to share that because the other people that are interested in energy efficiency don’t always get the opportunity to connect with those people that are already doing it.”

West Lethbridge resident Brian Sexton and his family have been net-zero ready for the last six years, and just recently installed solar panels on their roof.

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“Our main motivation was financial, to build a house like this,” Sexton said.

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“The unique thing about our home is just the levels of insulation and the level of air-sealing. So our walls are 12 inches thick, (the) attic is two feet of insulation.”

Without solar factored in, Sexton said their utility bills come out to about $140 a month. They also drive an electric car that’s charged at home.

Twenty-three homes in Calgary and Edmonton took part in the Eco-Solar home tours earlier this year, and seven more in Canmore are scheduled for tours on June 25.

In 2021, the organization held the tours virtually, posting videos on its website.

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