movable solar awnings

Edmonton's 2nd and 3td NetZero Energy Houses - Mid-Winter Seminar and Tours

Saturday, March 20

  • Seminar: 10am to 12:30pm
  • Tours: 2pm to 4pm

Seminar: Designing and Owning a NetZero Energy Home

  • Grant MacEwan University, CN Theatre Rm. 5-142, 105 St. Building at 105 St. and 105 Ave
  • Peter Amerongen (builder), Gordon Howell, P.Eng. (solar engineer), Conrad Nobert (Mill Creek homeowner)
  • Seminar and tours: No need to register. Cost: free

Open House Tours - see ideas you can use on your own house

  • energy- and water-efficient construction and appliances reduce space heat by 65%, hot water by 75%, and
    electricity use by 50% for upgrade cost of less than $20,000. All electric. No need for natural gas line.
  • air and water heat recovery, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting, passive solar, active solar, solar electricity
  • sustainable materials, healthy indoor air quality, eco-landscaping, net zero emissions



Observations (Part 02)


Mill Creek NetZero Home, December 15, 2009, 14:00.

As we approach the winter solstice and the three-month anniversary of our moving in, we continue to learn about our new house. These observations are mostly qualitative, because we don’t have the rest of our solar modules up, and we haven’t set up monitoring equipment yet. We are tentatively planning to remove the door of our wood stove on July 1st, 2010  and then monitor the house’s energy use for a year.  read more... »

Passive Solar Design


(MCNZH concrete floor being bathed by sun through a 9’x6’ window)

The most important design considerations for cold climate building are insulation, building envelope, and passive solar design. Given our lofty goals for the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH), we pushed hard to maximize our return on every one of these fronts.

The MCNZH collects 54% of its annual space heat through passive solar design – that’s 8747 kWh or 31.5 Gigajoules. It does so by:

  1. having huge south windows that are specially manufactured to maximize solar heat gain
  2. containing a large amount of thermal mass to absorb the solar heat when the sun shines
  3. having movable solar awnings that allow 100% of the sunlight to hit the windows during the heating season (the awnings are strictly speaking not a passive part of the solution).

I’ll discuss the first two bullets on this list, given that I’ve already described the movable awnings at length.  read more... »

Solar Awning (Part 2)

MCZNH Solar Awnings (summer and winter positions)

The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) will have a ground-breaking solar awning installed on its south face (introduced in Solar Awning Part 1). Essentially, it's a movable awning made out of photovoltaic (PV) modules. It will serve two functions: to shade the south windows in the summer and fall, and to tilt the modules so that they are always at an optimum angle to the sun. An analysis of the solar awning's net energy benefit follows.  read more... »