net zero energy house

Foundation Walls

The MCNZH foundation. The rectangle that's jutting out is the cold room, located under the front steps/landing.

A frequently asked question regarding the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) is: "Why didn't you use Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) for the foundation walls?".  The short answer is: "using traditional concrete forms and innovative insulating techniques, we can achieve a much higher R-value for less money".  read more... »

Insulated Basement Slab

The best two things a home builder/renovator can do in the name of energy efficiency is to insulate and seal a house. It's almost too bad, what with our culture's obsession with everything high tech. When people ask me about the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH), they're often expecting to hear about technology's magic answers. When I start talking about insulation levels, eyes start to glaze over, but the truth is that 75% of the difference between this house and a conventional one is that it's sealed as tight as a plastic bag and it's super-insulated.  read more... »

She's a Big'n








I remember viewing a home on the ecosolar home tour a few years back that had just been expanded to 3000 ft.² plus a full basement.  I walked away from that home shaking my head - can we really call 1000 ft.² of living space per person green?

The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) is now fully framed, and it's looking pretty big on the streetscape.  We built a pretty big house, and I wanted to document some of the considerations that went into the decisions we made.

The official square footage of the MCNZH is 2280 ft.² With a full basement, that's 3267 ft.² of living space.  For four people, that's definitely more space than we need. I am not a believer in the "techno-fix".  Technology will not save us from having to make changes to our lifestyle. We will have to scale it down considerably to start fixing the problems that we've caused.



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Riverdale NetZero Energy House - Grand Opening and CMHC Document

The Riverdale NetZero Project is having its grand opening on Friday, October 3rd, 2008. It will be open to the public from 11-4 on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 (more details here).

This duplex is a revolutionary project, one that has already had an influence on other building projects, and one that should be replicated thousands of times in the coming years. I'm grateful to CMHC for sponsoring it (as one of the winning entries in CMHC's EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative), and more importantly to people like Gordon Howell and Peter Amerongen for putting so many hours of volunteer labour into the project.

The duplex is a marvel of beautiful aesthetics and super-efficiency.  This graph compares each unit to a conventional home:  read more... »