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Understanding Net Zero Homes: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Mar 27

The Canadian Government has introduced new regulations that will require all existing homes to be Net Zero by 2050.


Currently, buildings and construction contribute to nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Shockingly, most of these emissions come from single-family homes.


By transitioning to Net Zero homes, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprints and make a meaningful impact on the environment. Not only does this help combat climate change, but it also provides significant benefits for homeowners. 


In this blog, we'll break down what a Net Zero home is, explain how to achieve it, and highlight why it's crucial for the future. We'll explore the benefits of Net Zero homes and provide tips on how you can start your journey towards a more sustainable way of living. 


What Is A Net Zero Home?


A Net Zero home produces zero greenhouse gas emissions, is energy efficient, does not burn fossil fuels onsite and only uses renewable energy for power. It achieves this by incorporating several energy-efficient features, such as high-performance insulation, efficient appliances and an enhanced building envelope. 


Net Zero homes only use energy from renewable sources and can generate energy onsite with solar panels or wind turbines, to produce enough energy to cover all their energy needs. If the home can't generate enough electricity on-site to meet its needs, it might buy off-site renewable energy instead. 


A Net Zero home with solar panels on the roof.

What are the benefits of a Net Zero home?

Net Zero homes have numerous advantages in addition to being environmentally friendly! 

Zero energy homes are designed to provide exceptional comfort all year round with a consistent temperature. Improved insulation, energy-efficient systems, and better indoor air quality contribute to a healthier and more comfortable living environment for you and your family.

Why should I have a Net Zero home?

Canada has introduced new regulations that will require all newly constructed homes to be Net Zero from 2030. The Canadian government is committed to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and so existing homes will also have to meet the same standard by this deadline. The City of Toronto has set their target of achieving this by 2040! Building energy-efficient homes can be achieved with little to no additional costs but the bigger challenge is retrofitting or renovating the over 10.5 million existing single-family homes in Canada to achieve Net Zero. 


The four pillars of a net zero home

What Makes A Home Net Zero?


A Net Zero home relies on four main areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy, airtightness, and ventilation with heat recovery. By improving these key areas when renovating your home, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint while creating a comfortable and healthy living environment. 


What are the 4 Pillars of a Net Zero Home?

Energy Efficiency

One of the ways to toward Net Zero is to reduce energy waste by upgrading appliances, improving insulation, and enhancing the building envelope. Choosing smaller appliances and switching from gas stove to induction will save a significant amount of energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve indoor air quality. Your home’s insulation and building envelope play a huge role in energy-efficiency. For a well-insulated and air-sealed home choose high-performance windows and doors that can considerably reduce energy use in your home.

Electrification

Renewable Energy:

Monitoring and Maintenance: 


How do I make my home Net Zero?

You need to decarbonize and electrify your current home with a Net Zero retrofit. A Net Zero retrofit is the process of making an existing building or home Net Zero energy efficient. This involves a combination of energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, air sealing, and efficient heating and cooling systems. It also involves the installation of renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. The goal is to reduce the building's energy consumption as much as possible and then produce the remaining energy needed through renewable sources.  


The most efficient way to do a Net Zero retrofit is by doing all the upgrades at the same time, which is called a "deep energy retrofit." However, some homeowners may prefer to take a phased approach to their retrofit due to budget constraints and the desire to minimize disruption. To be most efficient, the steps must be done in the correct order, and each step should be done to the highest level possible so that, when all work is completed, the result meets Net Zero. 



A family enjoying the savings of a net zero home


When should I start the journey to Net Zero?

The answer is simple - start now! By taking the first step now, you will have enough time to make the necessary upgrades and adjustments to your home. Starting early can help you save money in the long run by reducing your energy bills and increasing the comfort and value of your home as you upgrade. It's also easier and cost-effective to plan for replacements in advance and replace things when they fail rather than when they are still in good condition. If your gas furnace needs to be replaced soon, it's best to start planning the shift to a zero-emission, high-efficiency heating system, such as a cold-climate heat pump. Thinking ahead means you can make informed decisions before you’re left with a broken furnace on a cold winter day.  


Planning your retrofit and upgrades is easy with a Net Zero Plan from Homes to Zero. Your personalized, practical and comprehensive plan will guide you through the retrofit process from beginning to end. You'll have the resources and knowledge to start energy-efficient upgrades that drastically reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions. 

Your plan includes a prioritized list of recommended upgrades, proposed phased renovations, energy predictions, and emissions forecasts. The roadmap keeps your budget, financing options, and personal needs in mind, ensuring that your journey toward making the necessary renovations is as smooth as possible. 


Start the journey to Net Zero today! Contact us to see how we can assist you and your home. 



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