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Net Zero by the Numbers

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) a Net Zero home “produces at least as much energy as it consumes.” Therefore they must be extremely energy efficient.

NRCan also says Net Zero homes are not yet market feasible, due to the initial added cost of $100,000 to $150,000.  

Mortgage interest should be added because that’s how most people purchase a home.

Interest at the Bank of Canada’s new 5 year qualifying rate of 4.6% over 25 years on $100k to $150k brings the total to $167k to $251k.

Now compare a Built Green Energuide80 home vs a Net Zero home.

VRBA members offer affordable Built Green homes costing $1,000 or less annually to heat.

If a Net Zero home costs zero to heat, it will still take 167 to 251 years to pay off the added construction costs based on the energy savings vs the Built Green home.

What about saving greenhouse gases?

The Built Green home has 3 air changes per hour, while the Net Zero home has 1 air change, a difference of 2 air changes.

Significant greenhouse gas emissions come from older homes at 10 to 40 air changes per hour.

Clearly, renovation of an older home offers far greater benefit in terms of reducing greenhouse gases.

BC’s housing prices are $100k above the Canadian average. Most British Columbians do not have an additional $100k to $150k for Net Zero.

Eventually Net Zero homes will become more feasible through advances in technology leading to affordability.

In the meantime, affordability, proven practice and reasonable energy efficiency for today’s homebuyers must be the priorities.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

Visit us at http://www.vrba.caand Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

2 responses to "Net Zero by the Numbers"

  1. Bryon Penner/ Fairway Plg. Jan 27, 2017 at 06:56

    The more technology you employ to become “net zero ” in energy, the more “energy” will be required to maintain all the equipment required to achieve it. It becomes exactly the same problem we hear about our failing infrastructure. There comes a point where you shackle yourself with more “stuff” than you can afford to maintain.


    • VRBA Jan 27, 2017 at 13:29

      Very true. We are already building very energy efficient and affordable homes. The Net Zero initiative offers minimal benefit at a very high price. As with BC’s propose Step Code, it is a panacea used by politicians to score “green points” with unsuspecting voters. The real gains in energy are in older homes with 10 to 20+ air changes per hour – the majority of the housing stock. A renovation tax credit is the best solution, as noted in our column –


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