Belgravia NetZero - Introduction

You may have heard about Edmonton's next net-zero house, particularly if you're on Gordon Howell's mailing list. The Belgravia net-zero house is under construction, with demolition of the the previous house (built in 1948) on June 30.

Hi, my name is Bob Heath, and I'm the owner of the Belgravia NetZero (BNZ) house. I'd like to thank Conrad for allowing me to post to the Green Edmonton site. I'll be posting frequently over the next year about various aspects of the house, but I thought I'd devote my first post to how I came to make the decision to build a net-zero house.

I bought my house in 1980. There was a flurry of interest in energy-efficient houses for a couple of years about that time, but it didn't last. Does anyone remember George Dalgliesh from Winnipeg and his "Superhouse"? About the same time, my cousin, who farms in southern Saskatchewan, built a double-wall house. Upon seeing that house, I decided that if I ever built a house in our climate, it would be at least as well insulated as Scott and Bev's house.

Double-wall House in Southern Saskatchewan

Double-wall House in Southern Saskatchewan


Aerial View

Aerial View

Twenty-five years later, I read an article in the Edmonton Journal about a remarkable new duplex being built in Edmonton, the Riverdale NetZero (RNZ) duplex. That was the first time I had heard the term "net-zero" and I was hooked. I toured the house at every opportunity and finally approached Peter Amerongen and Gordon Howell about building a net-zero house. They visited my site July 24, 2008 and determined that it was a suitable site. At the time I had expected that there would be a throng of people lined up wanting to build net-zero houses, so I thought I had a couple of years to prepare for this. But Peter asked if I could start in 2009 so I down-loaded a copy of Google SketchUp and we got to work designing the house. I'll post more about the process of designing a house with Peter in a future post.

For those of you who live in Edmonton and want to follow the progress of the house in person, the site is on 77 Avenue between 114 and 115 street, 1/2 block west of the McKernan/Belgravia LRT station. You can't miss it - right now it's the only hole-in-the-ground on the block (but the way houses are being built in this neightbourhood, that could change tomorrow). No promises, but we hope to have a tour of the house in the fall.

B.

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Great Job on deciding to build a Netzero house, I too am interested in building something close to a Netzero house (call it Netzero light... sounds like a drink?) but I am having trouble finding a resonably priced south facing lot in a good central area in Edmonton. Anyone have any ideas?

Or you could call it "Netzero ready". That's the term that MLA Kevin Taft is using for a project that he is hoping to build next year. As long as you do the building envelope properly (mass, glass, tight and thick), you can add the solar panels later as your budget permits. Kevin has three lots and is currently looking for two others to partner with him on a joint build. This is a great site about two blocks from me in Belgravia, with a park and community league to the south. You can contact Kevin at belgraviagreen@shaw.ca

B.

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